Solid Fuel Costs Versus Others

The table below compares the cost of historical fuel sources. Alternative energy sources are only included indirectly under the assumption that alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power are typically used indirectly via the electricity that they are used to produce. Note that the price of electricity can vary widely. For an even more powerful tool, check NEPA Crossroad's Fuel Cost Calculator NEPA Crossroads Logo

How to use this chart…

Check the price of Anthracite coal in your area. Find that price in the Anthracite Coal column below. In the row corresponding to that coal price, you will find the prices that other heating fuels would have to be to match the heating value of coal. If coal costs $130 per ton, to get the same amount of energy for the same cost, heating oil would have to cost $0.65 per gallon and propane would have to be $0.42 per gallon. Information from US Dept. of Energy.

Fuel Cost BTU Conversion Chart (assuming equal efficiency)

Anthracite Coal
$/ton
Heating Oil
$/Gallon
Direct Electric
¢/kWh
Natural Gas
¢/ft3
Propane
$/Gallon
Wood Pellets
$/ton
700 3.46 8.5 2.5 2.29 400
680 3.36 8.3 2.4 2.22 389
660 3.26 8.0 2.4 2.16 377
640 3.17 7.8 2.3 2.09 366
620 3.07 7.6 2.2 2.03 354
600 3.00 7.3 2.2 1.96 350
580 2.90 7.1 2.1 1.89 340
560 2.8 6.8 2.1 1.83 325
540 2.70 6.6 2.0 1.76 315
520 2.6 6.3 1.9 1.70 300
500 2.50 6.1 1.8 1.63 290
480 2.40 5.8 1.8 1.57 280
460 2.30 5.6 1.7 1.50 270
440 2.20 5.4 1.6 1.44 255
420 2.10 5.1 1.5 1.37 245
400 2.00 4.9 1.5 1.31 230
380 1.90 4.6 1.4 1.24 220
360 1.80 4.4 1.3 1.17 210
340 1.70 4.1 1.2 1.11 200
320 1.60 3.9 1.2 1.04 185
300 1.50 3.7 1.1 .98 175
280 1.40 3.4 1.0 .91 160
260 1.30 3.2 1.0 .85 150
240 1.20 2.9 .9 .78 140
220 1.10 2.7 .8 .72 125
200 1.00 2.4 .7 .65 115
150 .75 1.8 .5 .49 85
130 .65 1.6 .4 .42 75
100 .5 1.2 .4 .33 55

Heating Value by Unit Chart

The following is a listing of heating value per unit for common heating fuels. The column of equivalent units is based around the heating value of 1 ton of wood chips. For example, to get the same heating value (BTU's) as a ton of wood chips, you would need to burn 54.9 gallons of #2 fuel oil.

Fuel Type BTU/Unit Equivalent Units
Softwood 15 million BTU/cord 0.51 cords
Hardwood 24 million BTU/cord 0.32 cords
Green Sawdust 10 million BTU/cord 0.76 tons
Kiln Dried Sawdust 18 million BTU/cord 0.42 tons
Wood Chips - 45% moisture 7.6 million BTU/cord 1 ton
Hogged Wood 20 million BTU/cord 0.38 tons
Bark 10.5 million BTU/cord 0.72 tons
Wood Pellets - 10% moisture 16 million BTU/cord 0.48 tons
Natural Gas 100,000 BTU/therm 76 therms
Propane 91,600 BTU/gal 83 gal
Methane 1,000 BTU/cu ft 7,600 cu ft
Ethanol 76,000 BTU/gal 100 gal
Kerosene 135,000 BTU/gal 56.3 gal
#2 Fuel Oil 138,500 BTU/gal 54.9 gal
#4 Fuel Oil 145,000 BTU/gal 52.4 gal
#6 Fuel Oil 153,000 BTU/gal 49.7 gal
Waste Oil 125,000 BTU/gal 60.8 gal
Biodiesel/Waste Vegetable Oil 120,000 BTU/gal 63.3 gal
Gasoline 125,000 BTU/gal 60.8 gal
Anthracite Coal 28 million BTU/ton 0.27 tons
Bituminous Coal 24 million BTU/ton 0.32 tons
Electricity 3,413KwH 2,227


You can also check out NEPA's Fuel Cost Calculator