Heating Oil System vs. Natural Gas Heat - The Facts You Need To Know

Petro employee delivering home heating oil

There are many reasons why choosing oil to heat your home is a better decision than converting to another fuel source. However, we also realize that when making that choice you have options, like heating oil vs. natural gas. Before making this important decision it pays to sort out the facts from the fiction about both fuel sources. 

Fact:  Heating oil supplies are plentiful.

Globally, oil and petroleum reserves remain higher than ever. Even if there is a shortage elsewhere,the US is not dependent on imports or any one source for supply, with 727 million barrels in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and approximately 2 million barrels in the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve alone.1 And, renewable biofuel options are adding to an already substantial and sustainable supply. Petro has also never run out of oil and our automatic delivery service ensures that you won't either. With natural gas consumption on the rise, there are concerns that domestic production will not be able to keep pace with demand. Since natural gas isn't renewable and most of the world's natural gas reserves are outside the US, relying on imports is a real possibility in the future.

Fact:  Heating oil is not "more expensive" than natural gas.
Statistics show that, depending on where you live, heating oil was less expensive than natural gas throughout most of the last 22 years.1 Unlike oil, natural gas is a non-renewable fossil fuel and growing global consumption of natural gas could lead to a competitive global supply and demand market, as well as rising prices. And, converting a heating oil system to natural gas is expensive, with tank removal, chimney, plumbing and duct work potentially costing over $9,000!

Fact:  Heating oil is a clean fuel.
Today, oil produces almost zero emissions and the latest oil system technologies 'reburn' fuel, lowering emissions even further. Developing technologies are also embracing lower sulfur oil blends that, when mixed with biofuels, create an even cleaner heating oil option. And, if a heating oil system is properly maintained, it burns cleanly. Any soot that it creates remains only inside the tank. With a methane content of 95%, natural gas system losses account for 18% of total global methane emissions, a powerful contributor to global warming and climate change.1

The average life expectancy of an oil heat appliance is 30 or more years if they are properly maintained. The average life expectancy of a natural gas furnace is only 11-14 years.

Fact: Heating oil technologies have never been more innovative.
The latest technologies are helping heating oil systems, and the fuel itself, to constantly evolve for even cleaner, more efficient and environmentally-friendly options. These improvements have helped the average oil heated home cut consumption by 33.6% over the past 30 years.1

The facts about heating oil

Fact: Heating oil is safe.
Heating oil doesn't ignite until its temperature reaches 140 degrees, when it vaporizes. So, if you dropped a lit match into heating oil, it's like dropping it into water, the flame extinguishes on contact. And, unlike natural gas, you normally have warning signs of an oil system breakdown, like smoke, odors or soot. Natural gas is also explosive and leaks are a leading cause of carbon monoxide deaths.3

Fact: Heating oil systems have a longer life. 
The average life expectancy of an oil heat appliance is 30 or more years if they are properly maintained. The average life expectancy of a natural gas furnace is only 11-14 years. And, the efficiency ratings of new heating oil systems range from 83% to 95%.

Fact: You get a more plentiful hot water supply with heating oil.
The hot water recovery rate of an oil-fueled water heater is twice as fast as a natural gas water heater and three times as fast as an electric water heater.4

Fact: You have much more control and service options with heating oil.  
Normally, natural gas comes from one big utility which gives you limited choices when picking your provider. Heating oil providers provide you with much more options, management and control of your fuel supply. You choose which company you want to be your provider, how much and when you want to buy it or have it delivered. You also have control of your supply as it's stored on your own property.

Fact: You are less likely to have service or supply problems with heating oil. 
Unlike natural gas, where a pipeline incident or leak could disrupt service or endanger your home, an oil tank stores your own independent supply safely. A supply that you can monitor and control with far less opportunity for service disruption.

Fact: Heating oil providers like Petro give you more options to manage energy costs.
Even with the recent lower oil price trend, it's inevitable that energy costs will fluctuate and potentially rise again – including natural gas! We're just as concerned about this as you are, which is why we provide a range of flexible pricing plans to protect your heating oil price and we offer payment options to help spread your annual heating oil costs throughout the year. A natural gas supplier may not have the same range of options to help you save. You can also count on us for the latest, energy-efficient heating oil systems that you need to help you save on home energy costs now and for years to come. 

One of the major benefits of choosing oil over natural gas to heat your home is that heating oil service providers, like Petro, can take care of any home heating system, whether it's fueled by oil, propane or natural gas. Unlike natural gas providers, Petro also can take care of tune-ups, has a range of service plans and is there for you 24/7 in any weather. 

Now that you have the facts, you can see that heating oil remains one of the best options to fuel your home. 

Contact us today to learn more about our heating oil services ›

  1. AmericanEnergyCoalition.com
  2. Energy Answers Today – Your Guide to Economical & Efficient Home Heating Brochure by Primedia
  3. Energy Answers Today Pocket Guide by Primedia
  4. cityfuel.net

Related Articles

Click on the links below to find additional insights and information:

Oil heat — what you need to know ›

How your oil-fired heating system works ›

What is oil? ›


You can count on us to provide you with the most helpful resources: 

What services do you really need ›
Home energy savings tips ›

"I have automatic delivery, so I'm always warm! And the technician guys are always nice."

Joanne Martin — A full-service Petro customer

Find your local office

See what services and offers are available in your area

Sign up for Petro emails button

Whether you're a current customer wanting to schedule a delivery or a new customer wanting to join the Petro family, from the coldest days of winter to the hottest days of summer, we're always here to help.

Contact us anytime, whenever you need us, 24/7, all year!