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How Do I Compare Heating Fuels?

When choosing a heating system for a new home or replacing an existing system, consumers often want to compare the cost of heating fuels. Because fuels are measured and sold in different units such as gallons of oil, therms of natural gas, or kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, comparing the price of dissimilar units is not useful.

A more useful comparison is the fuel cost per amount of heat produced. EIA's Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator (Excel) helps you make this comparison. It factors in the relative price based on the fuel heat content and the heating appliance's efficiency. The Comparison Calculator provides step-by-step instructions, including how to find cost and efficiency data to use with the Calculator. (The Calculator is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can use it online or save it to your hard drive and then open it in Excel.)

In choosing a heating system, don't rely solely on cost. Numerous factors will determine the heating system that best meets your needs. The Comparison Calculator (Excel) provides links to additional information that will help you choose a heating system.


(EIA) Energy Information Administration - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government