The American Gas Association estimates that more than 500,000 housing units in the Northeast switched from oil to natural gas for their primary heating fuel between 2000 and 2010.

The estimate is based on an AGA report, “Residential Space Heating Changes in the Northeast, 2000-2010,” which was compiled using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. AGA, which represents gas utilities, said it examined 217 U.S. northeastern counties for changes in home heating fuel between 2000 and 2010, and it found that natural gas conversions topped those of all other fuels combined during that decade.

“Over 177 million Americans throughout the nation rely on clean natural gas to meet the daily needs of modern life, whether it’s to heat their homes, provide a hot shower or cook a meal,” said AGA CEO Dave McCurdy.

Nationwide, consumers who heated their homes with natural gas during the 2011-2012 winter heating season saw average savings of 70% compared to those using heating oil, and more than 32% compared to homes heated with electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas utilities also made significant investments in energy efficiency programs to help customers reduce energy use, thereby saving their customers across the United States more than $300 million in 2011, or about $107 per household.

Homes heated with gas also made up the largest share of new single family housing unit construction from 2000-2012. Much of the increase in gas-heated homes can be attributed to infrastructure growth of utility gas systems in the Northeast, the AGA said. Greater infrastructure investment in this region and the expansion of natural gas lines to potential customers could further facilitate the conversion of the more than six million housing units in the area that are not yet heated by natural gas, it said.

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