Natural Gas vs. Propane: Biggest Differences

Many people confuse the difference between natural gas vs. propane, which are both helpful in heating homes and fueling vehicles. The truth is, natural gas and propane are different in terms of cost, energy efficiency, and many other features. This guide explores all the differences between natural gas vs. propane.

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The major difference between natural gas vs. propane is that natural gas is found below the earth’s surface and contains a mixture of various gases. On the other hand, propane is stored in gas cylinders and tanks as a liquid after it separates from natural gas during processing. Below are the other differences. 


Also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), propane is odorless, colorless, non-toxic, and available in a liquid form. Propane is a component of natural gas and is produced through natural gas processing. It gets extracted from the mixture through distillation.  

Natural Gas 

Natural gas is a colorless, odorless, and non-renewable source of fuel extracted from the underground. It comprises a mixture of several gases, including methane, butane, and propane. However, methane makes up around 70-90% of natural gas.

Their Differences 

You need to consider the differences between natural gas vs. propane before selecting the fuel source that is best for your needs. Here are some of the differences:

Energy Efficiency

To compare the energy efficiency of the two fuels, you need to consider their BTUs. For instance, propane delivers more BTUs than natural gas, making it more energy-efficient.

One cubic foot of propane produces 2,516 BTUs, while the same volume of natural gas produces 1,030 BTUs. Propane’s energy efficiency is more than twice natural gas.


While both propane and natural gas are clean-burning fuels, propane is cleaner and more environmentally friendly than natural gas. That’s why it’s considered green fuel.

If propane leaks into the atmosphere accidentally, it won’t cause any damage. However, this is quite different from natural gas, which contains methane, a greenhouse gas.

Storage and Transportation

Both natural gas and propane are used in homes for heating and cooking. However, their delivery methods to households are different.

Natural gas is delivered to households through gas pipelines, making the gas available 24/7. Propane is often supplied to homes through a propane tank or propane cylinders.

Knowing the Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas

Now that you understand the differences between natural gas vs. propane, you can find what suits your needs best. Compare the pros and cons of each fuel and choose what’s more reliable and energy-efficient. Generally, propane will help you save more money.

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