How Massachusetts Households Heat

Since the 1970's, Massachusetts has seen a steady shift to heating with natural gas in a majority of households, from a greater reliance on heating oil in the past, despite the fact that not all Mass. communities have access to natural gas service.  Two factors are driving the switch to natural gas: prices for heating oil are traditionally more volatile, especially over the past decade; extraction of shale gas has helped lower natural gas prices over the same period. Some residents also switched for environmental reasons, believing natural gas to be a cleaner fuel, emitting less greenhouse gas.  
The latest U.S. Census data breaks down Mass. households’ heat by fuel type.  

Chart: Massachusetts Household Heating
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2014, 2009-2013, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

Chart: Massachusetts Household Heating by Fuel Type
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2014, 2009-2013, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

Still, in the upper New England states, heating oil remains the primary heating fuel. Lack of infrastructure (Maine, Vermont, and parts of New Hampshire) means less access to natural gas supplies. These states are looking into ways to bring in more natural gas to offer their residents a choice of heating fuel.

  Chart: Massachusetts vs. New England Household Heating Percentage

 


This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.