It's Beginning to Look A Lot like Winter

Dropping Temperatures Mean Rising Fuel Costs


November 1, 1999

The leaves are changing colors, wool sweaters are coming out of storage, and heaters are kicking into high gear as temperatures begin to drop across the United States. Unfortunately, energy costs are predicted to be higher this year than in the last two years. In fact, the U. S. Energy Information Administration recently reported that consumers can expect to pay 19 percent to 44 percent more to heat their homes this winter.

In response to community concerns over the increase in heating costs, the Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) is providing important information to homeowners about the efficiency of their energy options. Although costs are predicted to increase for all fuels, the Council is showing homeowners that not all fuels are equally efficient--and efficiency determines the bottom line of the energy bill.

'The cost of heating your home will likely increase this winter, so this is a good time to evaluate the efficiency and value of your fuel choice,' says Council President Roy Willis. 'For example, many people aren't aware that a propane-fueled water heater can heat twice the water in half the time at a third of the cost of electricity. This kind of savings brings an increased sense of economic security to homeowners and their families.'

Propane gas, a fuel used by more than 60 million Americans, not only helps fuel water heaters more efficiently but can also save homeowners thousands of dollars in other home uses as energy costs continue to rise.

Cost Comparisons

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it could cost up to twice as much to operate your range, water heater, dryer, or furnace with electricity than with propane gas.
Propane gas furnaces last an average of 20 years, while electric heat pumps last an average of 12 years. Propane furnaces can also cost less to operate and can save hundreds of dollars a year over electricity.
Propane gas water heaters cost approximately $10 less per month to operate than comparable electric units, yet heat more than twice as much water in an hour. Over an average life span, propane water heaters can save homeowners nearly $2,000 over an electric unit.
Most manufacturers agree that the annual energy cost of propane clothes dryers is 50 percent less than for electric models.
Propane gas fireplace systems cost between 30 and 60 percent less per hour of operation than wood-burning fireplaces.

Source: National Propane Gas Association/Propane Education & Research Council

Rising Fuel Costs
To further educate homeowners on the importance of fuel efficiency, the Council has developed an additional resource titled 'Energy Saving Tips For Your Home.' This booklet provides easy and practical suggestions homeowners can implement in their homes to further reduce the cost of their energy bills. (See attached.)

'This resource reminds homeowners they are not powerless over their heating bill,' says Willis. 'Homeowners can take control of their costs by implementing these simple tips, which could result in large savings on their energy bill.'

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source.

For more information about the Propane Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit the website at