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Gas' Market Dominance in Home Heating Weakens Slightly in 2004, AGA Survey Shows

Natural gas dominance in the new housing market began to show signs of weakening in 2004 apparently because of high natural gas prices, according to the latest "Residential Gas Market Survey" by the American Gas Association (AGA).

AGA found that the gas heating share of new single- and multifamily housing completions fell to 65% from 67% a year earlier while the overall electric share increased by two percentage points to 33%. In the new multifamily housing arena, the natural gas market share for space heating dropped five percentage points to 46%. Furthermore, AGA determined that net additions to the number of residential natural gas customers totaled 597,000 in 2004, a 17% drop from a year earlier.

Natural gas, however, remained the most popular choice for home heating in 2004 with a 51% market share. Gas heated more homes in the U.S. than all other energy sources combined. Electricity held 32% of the home heating market. Heating oil captured 8%, propane 6% and others about 2%.

"Natural gas heat continues to dominate the new single-family home market, even though the wholesale cost of natural gas has risen in recent years," said Bruce McDowell, AGA director of policy analysis.

About 69% (1.1 million) of all the new single-family homes were built with gas heating, which was down from 70% a year earlier, AGA said. The 2004 electric heating market share of new home completions reached 29% (440,000 homes), a two-percentage-point increase from 2003.

Natural gas had the largest share of the household space-heating market in every region in 2004 except the South: Northeast, 50% market share (New England, 34%; Mid Atlantic 55%); Midwest, 70% market share (East North Central, 73%; West North Central, 64%); South, 34% (South Atlantic, 27%; East South Central, 38%; West South Central, 45%); and West, 61% (Mountain, 59%; Pacific, 62%).

For more form the survey, contact AGA at (201) 986-1131. AGA members pay $30; all others pay $90.

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