Fuel Comparison Calculator for Home Heating

Cost per Million BTU Calculations.

Fuel Type Fuel Unit Cost per Unit BTU per Unit Efficieny Cost per million BTU
Coal(bulk) Short Ton(2000 Lbs.) $ % $08.33
Coal(40lb. Bag) 40 lb. bag $ % $15.62
Coal(50lb. Bag) 50 lb. bag $ % $14.58
Wood Full Cord $ % $16.23
Wood Pellets Short Ton(2000 Lbs.) $ % $21.65
Corn Short Ton(2000 Lbs.) $ % $21.65
Fuel Oil No.2 Gallon $ 138,690 % $30.90
Electric kiloWatt-hour (kWh) $ 3,412 % $35.17
Natural Gas(Therm) Therm $ 100,000 % $14.75
Natural Gas(Mcf) Mcf (1000 cubic foot) $ 1,031,000 % $14.74
Propane Gallon $ 91,333 % $27.37
Butane Gallon $ 102,600 % $24.37
Kerosene Gallon $ 135,000 % $27.78

Reverse Calculation

This section will give you a real world estimate based on the Cost/BTU/Efficiency values in the calculator above, values used above will effect estimates in this section. If for example you use $500 worth of fuel oil in one month you can select Fuel Oil from the drop down list and type $400 in to the text box. Hit the recalcualte button and you'll get estimates for what it would cost if you were using another fuel.

$
Coal(bulk) $1,000.00 Coal(40lb. Bag) $1,875.00
Coal(50lb. Bag) $1,750.00 Wood $1,948.05
Wood Pellets $2,597.40 Corn $2,597.40
Fuel Oil No.2 $3,708.17 Electric $4,220.40
Natural Gas(Therm) $1,770.00 Natural Gas(Mcf) $1,769.16
Propane $3,284.68 Butane $2,923.98
Kerosene $3,333.33  
Fuel Comparison Calculator Overview
This calculator can be used to compare the costs of different fuels based on the cost of the product, BTU content and the efficiency of the unit. It's important to use the correct values for your particular circumstances to arrive at an accurate estimate.
BTU per Unit
BTU or British Thermal Unit is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The BTU content in solid fuel can vary widely particularly with different coals, however as the primary coal used for home heating is anthracite the range is not that great. Most consumers can expect to get 24 to 25 million BTU's from one ton of coal however if you have a different number to work with you can input it here. The BTU content for other sources like oil or natural gas only vary slightly so these inputs have been intentionally left static.
Efficiency
Efficiency is how much heat or BTU's are utilized for space heating compared to what the energy source can produce. Electric baseboard or a ventless gas fireplace would be 100% efficient as all the heat produced is utilized. Solid fuel appliances, oil and many gas fired heating appliances vent gases to the outside through a chimney, with these gases there is some heat loss therefore they are not 100% efficient. This heat loss is necessary particularly with solid fuel appliances to maintain a draft so the gases are safely vented outside. To determine the efficiency of the unit you wish to compare check with the manufacturer or manual for your appliance to find out the efficiency of your unit.
Cost per Million BTU
This value is calculated using the values for unit cost, unit type, BTU content, and efficiency. This will allow you to compare estimated costs of different energy sources based on 1 million BTU's. This figure is rounded to the nearest cent.