Gas home heating switch stalls after decades of growth

The conversion of home heating systems to natural gas continued during 1997, the most recent year studied, but at a slower rate than charted for the past 10 years, according to the American Gas Association.

Conversions totaled 92,441, a decrease of 44% compared to 1996. Of those, 26% were from electricity, 31% were from fuel oil, 7% were from LP gas, and the remainder is unknown.

The 1997 experience was well below earlier years, when conversions were counted in the hundreds of thousands, and totaled 311,437 as recently as 1993.

This stalled conversion activity “may reflect a reduction over time in the pool of potential conversions due to the high market share of gas in new housing,” AGA said.

For the past decade, natural gas used to heat newly built single-family homes grew from 52% to 69%, mostly at the expense of electricity. In the multifamily sector, natural gas has a 45% share.

Gas as a home heating fuel now has a 52% share of the national stock of approximately 100 million housing units, followed by electricity (30%), fuel oil (9%), LP gas (4%), and other sources.

Statistics are contained in the Residential Natural Gas Market Survey from the AGA.

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