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Why Propane Is Best for Your Budget

Posted: November 6, 2018

“But isn’t propane expensive?”

We hear this all the time. But the truth is that propane is a very affordable option for home heating and energy—in fact, you might be surprised at how much you can actually save by using propane.

The combination of competitive price and high reliability and efficiency make propane a great value for any budget. (Perhaps that’s why Michigan leads the nation in residential propane use!)

But why is propane so attractive to today’s homeowners and business leaders? Let’s explore.

Affordable Heating

Propane Offers Affordable Heating Costs

Propane consistently ranks as one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) alternative heating source. Propane systems are relatively inexpensive and very quick to install, and offer very affordable heating and energy costs throughout the year.

As for the competition?

Electric? Propane is the clear winner on cost here, and it isn’t even really close. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), electric heating is the most expensive energy source in Michigan. Propane is almost 40 percent cheaper on average for the same amount of thermal energy produced, plus it’s warmer, faster, and more reliable.

Geothermal? Geothermal heating systems can deliver exceptionally low energy costs over time. Unfortunately, that’s offset by staggering up-front installation costs—often over $20,000 for even a modest sized home, which can balloon to $40,000 or more out of pocket in the end if you finance (depending, obviously, on the down payment, interest rate, and term length). Even with a steep drop in monthly energy costs, it can still take well over a decade to recoup your investment.

Oil? Propane furnaces are much more efficient than heating oil furnaces (to the tune of about 20 to 30 percent). According to national averages, propane is generally cheaper per unit of thermal energy than oil, although it can vary by location, time of year, and market force. That said, those are national estimates. Here in Michigan, which has a robust propane delivery network, it’s almost always the more economical option—often by a substantial amount.

Wood? Upfront costs to install the stove or furnace aren’t as high as geothermal, but they can still be considerable. Wood stoves often need constant attention and maintenance to keep in working order as well, which adds additional (and unpredictable) costs into the mix and cuts down on any potential savings. And if you’re buying your firewood or pellets, you probably aren’t saving much (if any) on cost versus propane anyway. Of course, you could chop and store your own firewood to reduce costs—but your time is valuable, too.

Natural gas? Propane’s excellent efficiency allows it to stay competitive even with natural gas on price. And it has other advantages, too—for example, it doesn’t rely on aging infrastructure that might fail when you need it most.

Which bring us to …

Propane Offers Exceptional Reliability and Longevity

Propane is clean-burning and energy efficient, and for these and other reasons propane appliances (including furnaces, water heaters, backup generators, and even motor vehicles) typically lead the pack in terms of reliability and longevity.

That’s awesome news for Michiganders looking for cost certainty with their budgeting.

Because propane systems often require very little maintenance and can go longer without needing to be repaired or replaced, you don’t end up paying as many of those “hidden” costs—or get as many nasty surprises that require expensive fixes. And for so many Americans, it’s those unexpected upfront costs that can really put a squeeze on family finances.

For example:

  • Vehicles powered by propane autogas are estimated to have up to 50% lower maintenance costs than gasoline-powered vehicles. That’s on top of the fact that fuel costs per mile are usually quite a bit cheaper for autogas than gasoline.
  • Propane furnaces require very little maintenance and on average last 5-10 years longer than electric furnaces.
  • Propane generators have a longer average engine life than gasoline, and—crucially—propane does not degrade or evaporate over time. That means even if you go months (or years) between uses, your generator will kick on like new without you worrying about replacing old fuel. Propane offers the best value for those who need an emergency backup.

Billing

Propane Has You Covered with Flexible Billing Options

Michigan homeowners know that energy use doesn’t stay consistent throughout the year. During the summer, you might need more propane for your grill than for your home! On the flipside, energy demands can increase during the cold winter.

Likewise, as with any commodity, the price of propane fluctuates throughout the year. (Although prices have tended to remain low due to high supply and domestic production, there’s always a chance rates could rise.)

Fortunately, your neighborhood propane company has thought of these potential problems, too. That’s why most provide budget-friendly payment options to help you gain control and certainty over your utility costs.

This may include plans that allow you to prepay for your expected winter usage during the summer at a fixed price, or even projecting your usage needs for the entire year and paying in equal installments. Many retailers even offer price cap plans that lock in a maximum price per gallon. This places a predetermined ceiling price per gallon.

So whether you use propane as a primary fuel source for your home, or just for a select few appliances or applications, you may be surprised at how much you can save versus other fuels—between fuel costs, maintenance costs, longevity, and flexible billing, propane is a consistently great value for Michigan consumers.

To learn more, please feel free to review this website in detail, or contact your local Michigan propane retailer.