July 10, 2014

How Common Is Natural Gas in Homes?

I saw someone on the internet talk about using natural gas as if every home must have it.   They seemed to take for granted that everyone would have gas service.   The home I grew up in only had electricity and had no access to natural gas or any other type of fuel (propane, fuel oil, etc).    It simply wasn't in the area.   The first home I built was the same deal, only electric.   My wifes home before we married (which is now a rental) is also all electric.   Both of those homes have natural gas available at the street but simply aren't hooked up.    Most places I've lived in my life were electricity only.   I think the dorms I lived in had steam heat boiler setup or something and I vaguely recall that a house I roomed in for a summer had gas.   So I'm on the other end of the perspective of not being very familiar with natural gas in homes.
How common are houses with only electricity?  How common is natural gas service really?

I previously talked about the form of heating in homes when I wrote What Do People Heat Their Homes With?  That mostly answers the question, but not exactly.   See you can actually have homes with gas service that don't have gas heat.   Its a minority of homes but a notable percent have gas but don't use gas heat.   I suppose its more common in warmer climates where heat isn't a big deal but they might like gas for cooking or such.

TO answer the question I pulled the data out of the 2011 American Housing Survey Table C-03-AH

The percent of homes with each type of fuel : 

Electricity   98.2%
Gas  67.5%
Fuel oil   8.3%
Others 3.1%

And homes with only electricity :

All electric units  29%

So the majority of homes at 67.5% do have natural gas but a sizable minority of homes 29% have only electricity.

Theres only a little difference between owner occupied and rental units.

Trivia bonus :  108 homes in the US have coal or coke fuel.   Yes ... coal.



  1. Is propane lumped in with natural gas? I'm surprised it isn't listed as a separate category. It would be interesting to note how much of Gas is Natural gas vs Propane.

  2. I don't see propane listed. They have "bottled gas" as a separate category under heat sources but not seperate under fuel sources. They also have "kerosene or other liquid fuel" in the fuel sources. I'm not sure if propane would be in the "other liquid fuel" or in "bottled gas" but I'm assuming its in one of those. Bottled gas is about 10% of all the homes for gas heat.



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