Great thread! Let's review.
BTU's? Oil gets the win! 140,000 oil vs 90,0000 propane
Efficiency? Propane wins! Average of 10% greater with propane
Maintenance? No contest! Propane wins hands down. While it is true some could do their own maintenance, the vast majority will not. Let's use 30 years as the comparison time frame cause I sure don't see oil equipment lasting 60 years. Not currently produced equipment any way. Over a 30 year period, the annual maintenance required on an oil burner is about $3,500.00 just for cleaning, nozzles, electrodes and oil filters. None of that is required for propane. Now as for replacing parts that break, possibly a couple of igniters and an inducer fan for the propane device. Oil furnace will need a combustion chamber target replaced twice, maybe a pump and a transformer. Propane still wins.
Storage? Other than those damn pesky squirrels, I gotta give the win to propane again. Long term storage? Oil will degrade, propane will not. Spring a leak? Oil will involve huge cleanup costs propane will not. It's non-toxic. Oil tank usually in your basement taking up room, propane is outside. Weather considerations? If your oil tank is outside, the oil line can freeze up, propane will not. Only on the cost of the tank does oil win here.
Versatility? Oil can heat your home and your hot water. Propane can do that plus dry your clothes and cook your food. Win propane.
Starting from scratch? Oil is gonna need a chimney, propane will not.
Water in the air? WTF. I guess he was talking about what are called vent free fireplaces which isn't really part of this debate. Besides they are not vent free. They are room vented, lung filtered. Wouldn't allow one in my home. But don't even think about a vent free oil burner.
Propane go boom? Yes it could but very rare unless you've got "uncle billy" doing the piping. Oil isn't gonna blow up.
Greenie weinie considerations? Propane burns much cleaner.
Anyone think of any other comparisons?