Propane vs. Electricity: Which Fuel Is Cleaner?

clean home fuel north carolinaWhich fuel burns cleaner and generates fewer emissions—propane or electricity? If you said propane, congratulations, you’re correct.

Electricity is often touted as a “clean” energy source, but that assertion becomes less convincing when you take a closer look.

  • About half of the electricity generated in the United States is generated by coal-fired power plants. How clean does that sound?
  • It takes three units of source energy to get one unit of electricity into your home. That means more coal has to be burned, generating even more carbon emissions, to get electricity to our homes.
  • Because propane is right there inside a tank on your property, there is virtually no loss of energy from the tank to your gas appliances.
  • You need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. For example, just one gallon of propane equals 27 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.
  • Propane has such a low carbon content that it produces next to zero greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants, making it a clean-burning energy source that can reliably heat homes and water, fuel multiple indoor and outdoor appliances and even power vehicles.
  • The average propane-powered home reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30% compared to all-electric homes.
  • Direct use of propane for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 50 percent.
  • Propane is more efficient than electricity when evaluating the total energy consumed (this includes the energy consumed in the extraction, production, processing and transportation of the fuel to the point of use). Based on this analysis, propane is 87% efficient; electricity is 32% efficient.

The Future: Renewable Propane

The success story of propane doesn’t end here. Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

As the renewable propane sector grows, more and more North Carolinians will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further.

Find out more about renewable propane.