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Which Energy Source Is Cleaner–Propane Or Electricity?

clean energy iowaThere are many ways propane energy is a benefit to our environment– in our homes, in our communities and in our businesses. Let’s take a look at how propane compares to electricity in terms of environmental impact.

For starters, propane emits less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of electricity while producing the same amount of energy. That’s because more than 40% of the electricity used in our country is produced by coal-fired power plants. These power plants are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.

It takes three units of source energy to get one unit of electricity into your home. That means more coal has to be burned, generating even more carbon emissions, to get electricity to our homes.

Propane is much more efficient than electricity when you look at the total energy consumed, including the energy consumed in the production, processing, extraction and transportation of the fuel to the point of use. Propane is 87% efficient and electricity is 32% efficient, based on this analysis.

Propane generates more Btu’s than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. Also, clean-burning propane appliances are efficient, because they waste very little fuel in the combustion process, unlike electric-powered appliances. That’s why, hands down, propane is better for the environment and for your home.

Also, with a high-efficiency clean-burning propane furnace, less than 10% of fuel is wasted in the combustion process, while more than two-thirds of the energy used by a power plant to transmit and generate electricity is wasted.

Propane also has a lower carbon content than gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, kerosene and ethanol, which is a big part of the reason it was added as a clean fuel to the Clean Air Act in 1990.

Propane As A Motor Fuel

Instead of filling your vehicle’s tank with gasoline, there may come a day when you’ll “fill ‘er up” with propane autogas.

Autogas is already powering buses, police cars, street cleaners and other vehicles in cities worldwide. Many businesses are also using propane to fuel their vehicles.

Propane’s lesser environmental impact is what makes this fuel a leading alternative for vehicles of all kinds. Since propane has a lower carbon content than petroleum products, it creates fewer toxic emissions and burns cleaner. Some estimates show that converting a vehicle to propane autogas can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.Your vehicle’s engine could even last longer with propane.

The Future: Renewable Propane

The success story of propane and the environment doesn’t end here. Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

As the renewable propane sector grows, more Iowans will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further.

Find out more about renewable propane.

Read more about propane vs. electricity. And then contact your local propane company if you want to explore ways to expand your use of propane.


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