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How Massachusetts Households Heat Their Homes

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

How We 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.  

Massachusetts Household Heating
Fuel Type # of Households Percentage
utility gas 1,295,544 50.6%
bottled, tank, LP 78,533 3.1%
electricity 384,621 15.0%
fuel oil, kerosene 723,433 28.3%
coal or coke 3,109 0.1%
wood 41,526 1.6%
solar 1,346 0.05%
other fuel 18,782 0.7%
no fuel 11,995 0.5%
total 2,558,889  

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2017, 2012-2016, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

Mass. Household Heating by Fuel Type 2012-2016

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2017, 2012-2016, 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. The following breaks out how all the New England States as a whole heat their homes

New England Household Heating
Fuel Type # of Households Percentage
utility gas 2,156,582 38.1%
bottled, tank, LP 304,765 5.4%
electricity 726,649 12.9%
fuel oil, kerosene 2,135,772 37.8%
coal or coke 8.955 0.2%
wood 238,640 4.2%
solar 3,455 0.1%
other fuel 55,076 1.0%
no fuel 25,537 0.4%
total 5,653,431  

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Dec 2017, 2012-2016, American Community Survey 5-year estimates

New England Household Heating by Fuel Type

 

 

 

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