The best way to compare energy prices in your market is to look at the price per unit of heat value.
Scientists measure heat value in British Thermal Units or BTUs for short. A BTU is the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree F. It is about the heat of a birthday candle flame.
- Heating Oil has 138,690 BTUs per gallon.
- Natural Gas has 1,030 BTUs per cubic foot. 135 Cubic feet equals the heat content of one gallon of oil.
- Kerosene has 131,890 BTUs per gallon. 1.05 gallons equals the heat content of one gallon of oil.
- Propane has 91,500 BTUs per gallon. 1.52 gallons equals the heat of one gallon of oil.
- Electricity has 3,413 BTUs per kilowatt hour (kwh). 40.6kwh equals the heat content of one gallon of oil.
- Wood: One full cord of wood has the heat value of 95 gallons of oil.
- Anthracite Coal has 12,000 BTUs per pound. About 12 pounds equals the heat content of one gallon of oil.
When comparing the unit costs for the various fuels, remember to include any taxes and meter or service charges the gas or electric companies add to the bill.
Knowing the Cost to Convert from Oil to Gas
Before making the decision to switch from oil to gas, consider what it may cost! There are many factors that affect how much a conversion can cost, including:
- Adding a gas line
- Updating appliances
- Installing a chimney liner
- Removing the old oil tank
- The contractor you choose
Additionally, here are some things we want our customers to know before making the move from oil to gas:
- The United States has only 4% of the world’s natural gas reserves, while 73% are located in Russia, Eurasia, and the Middle East, according to the U.S. Department of Energy
- Methane losses from natural gas systems account for 18% total worldwide methane emissions, according to the international organization Methane to Markets.
- The Consumer Energy Council of America calls fuel conversion an “expensive gamble” and recommends that homeowners upgrade their oil equipment to achieve conservation, rather than switch fuels. Conversion is more expensive than upgrading, with a low likelihood of meaningful savings
- Natural gas is explosive, and leaks can be hazardous. Natural gas heating systems are also the leading cause of non-fire-related carbon monoxide deaths
- Gas utilities generally provide neither preventive maintenance nor emergency service. As a result, gas customers may be wasting fuel by using poorly tuned equipment, and they might have no one who will help them in the even of a no-heat emergency