Is Natural Gas Cheaper than Propane?

If you’re trying to decide between natural gas and propane to fuel your backup generator, likely one of your biggest concerns is finding the most cost-effective option.  

When choosing how to fuel your residential standby generator, it’s important to compare cost, efficiency, and overall performance. 

To help you decide, let’s address some common FAQs about generator fuel, including:

  • How do backup generators get fuel? 
  • Is propane cheaper than natural gas? 
  • How long does a propane tank last for a house?  
  • Is natural gas more efficient than propane as a generator fuel?

Here’s a comparison of running your generator on natural gas vs. the cost of opting for propane. 

Cost of Natural Gas vs. Propane Generators

Comparing natural gas and propane cost can be tricky because these fuels are measured differently, and prices vary by area. 

In general, however, natural gas is cheaper than propane. 

“Annual energy costs for residential customers using natural gas has been lower than the cost for propane, fuel oil, or electricity since 2010 – and it’s projected to stay low through 2040,” projects the American Gas Association

Still, there are several pros and cons beyond cost to weigh when comparing propane and natural gas. 

Pros of Propane

  • Propane can outlast nearly any outage. – Depending on the power load, a 500-gallon propane tank can keep a generator running continuously for about two weeks, which is longer than most blackouts.
  • Propane is highly efficient. – While potentially more expensive per unit than natural gas, propane is approximately twice as efficient as natural gas. 
  • Propane never expires. – With a virtually limitless shelflife, your propane tank will deteriorate before your fuel does.

Cons of Propane 

  • Propane depends on delivery. – If your propane tank runs out of fuel during an outage, you may have difficulty getting your tank refilled, depending on local circumstances. 

Pros of Natural Gas

  • Natural gas provides continuous fuel. – Since your home is directly connected to a natural gas line fueled by a local utility company, you won’t have to worry about refilling any tanks. 
  • Natural gas does not require a tank. – By using natural gas lines, you will not need a special tank on your property. 

Cons of Natural Gas

  • Natural gas necessitates gas pressure. – Generators fueled by natural gas depend on sufficient pressure from the gas lines. If the gas supply lines lose pressure, your generator may not kick on when you need it. 

Investigate local pricing in your area before you decide how to fuel your home. Apart from cost, carefully consider factors such as efficiency, eco-friendliness, and safety when choosing between natural gas and propane. 

Whichever fuel source you choose, remember always to operate your generator in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations and follow generator safety guidelines

Most Cost-Effective Residential Generators 

Residential backup generators are designed to hook directly to your home’s existing fuel source, whether natural gas or propane. 

One leading brand of backup generators is Kohler. The line of Kohler residential generators can run on either propane or natural gas. 

Midwest Generator Solutions is an authorized dealer of Kohler products, including Kohler propane generators and Kohler natural gas generators. 

Get in touch with Midwest Generator Solutions to discuss your standby generator needs. We can help you in selecting the right emergency generator for your home and provide professional installation.