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Propane vs. Natural Gas: Cost, Differences, & Environmental Impact


When choosing between propane and natural gas, understanding the nuances of each fuel will help you make the right choice for your home or business. From understanding cost implications to environmental impact, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive in.

What is the cost of natural gas vs. propane? 

Factors such as energy efficiency, local availability, and consumption patterns will impact the overall cost for each fuel. For example, while natural gas appears more cost-effective than propane, it burns at a rate of two to one. This means it would take half the amount of propane to heat a space compared to natural gas. It's advisable to check with a supplier, like Ferrellgas, for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information when weighing your options. To find out what determines the price of propane, click here.  

Four key differences between propane vs. natural gas 

Pricing aside, there are three key differences between propane and natural gas: 

  1. Installation Process. The installation process is significantly different when it comes to propane and natural gas. Natural gas is usually delivered through pipelines connected to your property. It requires a connection to the local utility infrastructure. In contrast, propane is stored in tanks on-site, so the installation process is a little different. You’ll have a new propane tank on your property, but you’ll also have the freedom of knowing you are in control of your home or business’ heat rather than being dependent on local infrastructure. You need to choose the system that aligns with your property's infrastructure and installation preferences. 

  2. Delivery Methods. Natural gas is delivered through pipelines directly to your property, while propane is stored in tanks on site. Propane users also rely on periodic deliveries to refill their tank. However, with Ferrellgas’ Auto Fill program, you don’t have to worry about scheduling a fill. Instead, you receive quality service on a routine basis. 

  3. Portability: Propane is portable and can be carried in tanks that are delivered by truck, while natural gas can only reach a property by pipeline.

  4. Production. In addition to the differences already mentioned, propane and natural gas are produced in different, yet related ways. Natural gas is extracted from the earth by drilling into rock formations beneath the surface. The gas comes to the surface through a well, which is drilled into the earth. Pipelines then collect the gas coming out of the well and send it to processing plants.  

    Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is separated from natural gas during processing. Recently, the industry began to dabble in renewable propane, which is made from things like plant and vegetable oils, fats, vegetable oils, and used cooking oil. It is chemically identical to traditional propane, but with lower carbon emissions.  

Propane vs. Natural Gas: Environmental Impact 

When considering the environmental impact of your primary energy source, you’ll want to look at the entire life cycle. From extraction and production to transportation and usage, it takes energy to capture energy, and the difference is in the details. 

Propane is seen as a leader in green energy for its versatility and clean-burning, non-toxic nature. Since propane combusts efficiently, it releases fewer emissions and particulate matter compared to traditional fossil fuels, which reduces air pollution. And because of its water-insoluble nature, it doesn't pose the same contamination risks as other substances if it is accidentally spilled.

Propane vs. Natural Gas: Which fuel should you choose? 

​​Choosing between natural gas and propane depends on various factors, including your location, infrastructure, and personal preferences.  

Consider factors such as accessibility, installation costs, ongoing maintenance, and the environmental impact of each fuel to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and values. Consulting with local energy providers and professionals can also provide valuable insights into the best fuel choice for your living situation and lifestyle.

Ready to make the switch to propane? Reach out to Ferrellgas to get started, or speak with a Customer Service Professional for more information.