How Massachusetts Households Heat Their Homes

Breaks down how Mass households heat by fuels including comparison to rest of New England.

How Massachusetts Heats

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. Among the factors driving the switch to natural gas: prices for heating oil are traditionally more volatile, especially over the past decade and 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.  

Massachusetts Household Heating
Fuel Type # of Households Percentage
utility gas 1,321,175 50.6%
bottled, tank, LP 83,401 3.2%
electricity 395,373 15.3%
fuel oil, kerosene 707,835 27.4%
coal or coke 2,851 0.1%
wood 40,176 1.6%
solar 1,984 0.08%
other fuel 20,025 0.8%
no fuel 12,895 0.5%
total 2,585,715  

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2018, 2013-2017, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

How New England Heats

In New England as a whole, heating oil remains a 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. The following breaks out how all the New England States combined heat their homes

New England Household Heating
Fuel Type # of Households Percentage
utility gas 2,201,422 39.3%
bottled, tank, LP 322,469 5.7%
electricity 745,601 13.1
fuel oil, kerosene 2,102,793 36.9%
coal or coke 8.412 0.1%
wood 231,037 4.1%
solar 4,413 0.1%
other fuel 58,104 1.0%
no fuel 24,553 0.4%
total 5,698,804  

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2018, 2013-2017, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

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