What’s cheaper: electricity or gas?

Are you looking for the cheapest option to power your home? Well, you’ve got three options: electricity, gas, or a mixture of both. While both present distinct advantages when used for certain applications and appliances, we imagine you’re more interested in which will actually cost you less money. The answer is not as simple as the question, but let’s gives it a go.

Electricity vs Gas

When it comes to gas, you’ve got two types; natural/mains gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The former works on a network grid similar to the one that electricity does, and the latter takes the form of large tanks of gas that are swapped out every few months. While not every house has access to the gas grid, if you do it’s worth considering due to the fact that it’s not only cheaper per kWh, but also generates less greenhouse gas (up to a third less than LPG).

If your house isn’t equipped to use mains gas, you can either use LPG or pay to have the necessary facilities installed in order to access natural gas. This can be rather expensive, but if you’re environmentally conscious, or have deep pockets, this is the way to go for cheaper gas. Also keep in mind that over time you may get a return on your investment in the form of smaller gas bills!

On the other hand you’ve got electricity. Every house has access to electricity, but it’s generally more expensive than gas and creates more emissions than gas does. Electricity may have its downsides, but you might not have a choice because some household appliances can only be powered this way.

However, when it comes to household appliances that give you an option of buying either a gas or electric model, which is likely to be the cheaper long-term option? We’ve compared some of the most costly appliances to see where you can save.

Gas Electric Verdict
Water heating More expensive to purchase and install than an electric system, but cheaper in the long run. Cheapest to buy, but the most expensive to run. Note that a solar system will be much more expensive to install, but even cheaper than gas in the long run. If you’ve got the cash to field a heftier upfront fee, you’re better off going for a gas system, or invest in solar if you’re really looking far ahead.
Space heater Gas heaters are better suited to small and medium-sized spaces in terms of efficient energy use. Electric space heaters are often smaller and not as powerful as gas-powered heaters, and are generally much less efficient. Gas is your best bet unless you’re only looking to heat one person or a very small space.
Stovetop More expensive to purchase, and if your kitchen doesn’t have a gas line already installed you’ll be coughing up a fair amount to put one in. Less expensive to purchase and install. Most houses are wired for electric cooking, but it’s likely to cost you more in the long run. For many people this is simply a matter of preference as some enjoy the benefits of cooking with gas, while others favour electric. Overall costs are likely to work out fairly even.
Oven Same as above. More expensive to purchase and doubly so if you need to get a gas line put in. But you are likely to spend less on energy usage with gas. Same as above. Cheaper to purchase but ongoing costs for energy are likely to be more than gas. Again, it’s a matter of preference because savings from buying an electric oven are likely to be offset by larger bills over time. Gas may be the best bet in the long run.
Clothes dryer More expensive to purchase upfront, but much cheaper to run in the long term. Cheaper to purchase, but even the best electric clothes dryers are not particularly energy efficient. Clothes dryers can account for a huge amount of household energy use, so to keep ongoing costs down you might be better offer with a gas clothes dryer.

The verdict

This comparison shows that gas tends to work out cheaper than electric appliances in the long run, but it’s often a trade-off between short and long-term savings.  Electric appliances will generally be cheaper to buy, but you will end up paying for it through your energy bills over time. Overall, gas may be the better option for those with the luxury of choice, but it’s worth considering each appliance on its own merits. And of course, when it comes to energy costs, a lot can also depend on what your electricity or gas supplier charges you!

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