Propane vs. Natural Gas

Which Fuel is More Dependable?

It’s no secret that natural gas is the predominant home heating source for Michigan, but the truth is, many of the benefits people like about natural gas are benefits of propane as well. This includes super-efficient furnaces, unlimited hot water, cooking stoves and much more.

So which is better: propane or natural gas?

Many people say they like heating their home and water with propane because they know propane is always there for them when they need it.

In contrast, natural gas supply is dependent on old, undersized pipelines, which causes supply concerns during periods of cold weather and high demand. While there is plenty of natural gas to go around in Michigan, the question is: Can you always count on getting it piped into your home during periods of extremely cold weather?

Propane users don’t have this worry. Having a propane tank on your property gives you the ability to store an adequate supply that’s always ready for immediate use.

Propane gas is easy and safe to transport because it gets compressed into a liquid. All of this liquid petroleum gas (LPG) then gets stored inside large tanks until your propane company delivers it to you.

Here’s another benefit: virtually all of the propane you use is made in America, and most of it comes from the production of natural gas. When natural gas is removed during the refining process, there remains a mix of different gases, including propane.

Natural gas supply has been on the rise, and with that comes an increasing supply of propane, too. By fall 2015, propane inventory had reached nearly 100 million barrels — the highest level of propane inventory ever recorded. The United States is now the largest exporter of propane in the world because we produce more than we use.

U.S. Propane Exports Increasing

800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

2014
2015
2016

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and U.S. Dept. of Commerce; numbers reflect exports in thousands of barrels per day.

If you’re thinking about expanding your use of propane in your home, please contact your local propane company to learn more about your options.