Propane vs. Natural Gas: An Overview

The propane vs natural gas debate rages fiercely among many homeowners and car owners. While natural gas consists of several gases, such as butane, propane, and ethane, propane is part of the natural gas in its pure state. Gas processing facilities usually separate propane from other gases and supply it to propane dealers.

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Since the composition of propane vs. natural gas is different, their applications also vary. Propane can be stored as a liquid while the natural gas in various forms, including compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Both gases have different costs, energy content, and environmental impacts.

Environmental Impact

Natural gas is classified as a greenhouse gas. When released into the atmosphere, it can cause pollution. Propane is a clean-burning fuel and cannot be toxic or damaging to the environment if discharged into the atmosphere. That makes propane a green fuel. In other words, it’s eco-friendly, both in its unused state and after usage.Β 

Comparison of Energy Content

The energy content of propane is more than twice that of natural gas. One cubic foot of propane contains 2,516 BTUs, while one cubic foot of natural gas contains 1,030 BTUs. A 100,000 BTU per hour furnace will burn around 97 cubic feet of natural gas in one hour and use about 40 cubic feet of propane over the same duration.Β 

Cost Comparison

The cost of natural gas and propane depends on their BTU ratings. So, you can quickly calculate the amount of money you’ll spend on each cubic foot of propane and natural gas. If the cost of natural gas is $15.00 per 1,000 cubic feet, and one cubic foot contains 1,030 BTUs, it means $15.00 can purchase 1.03 million BTUs of natural gas.

The 1.03 million BTUs of natural gas compares to around 11.25 gallons of propane. If propane costs $2.50 per gallon, you’ll spend about $28.00 on propane. It means that natural gas is cheaper than propane when it comes to cost comparison. However, the rates tend to vary depending on propane dealers and the local energy utilities.

Choosing Between Propane & Natural Gas

The energy efficiency and cost comparison of propane vs. natural gas make it easy to choose a fuel that works best for you. Natural gas is cheaper in terms of cost but not environmentally friendly. On the other hand, propane has a higher energy content and is more eco-friendly. The bottom line is to select a fuel that fulfills all your needs.

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