Natural gas and propane were the preferred source of home heating for seven of every 10 single-family homes built in 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest “Characteristics of Housing” report. The study also found that gas was also the choice for a majority of multi-family homes built that year.

Taking into account all classes of housing, the report showed that 67% of the new housing units completed in 2003 featured gas heat.

“These statistics show that consumers recognize the comfort, reliability and value of natural gas heat — and that builders are responsive to consumers’ home-energy preferences,” said Bruce McDowell, director of policy analysis for the American Gas Association (AGA).

Gas heat was featured in 70% of new single-family homes in 2003, up from 68% in 2002. Of the remaining homes, 27% had electric heat, 2% had oil heat and 1% had other/none, the Census Bureau found.

In the regional breakdown, the Northeast experienced the largest gas usage for heat in newly built single-family houses. Of the new homes, the Northeast jumped from a 65% gas share in 2002 to 70% in 2003. The Midwest increased its gas share from 90% in 2002 to 92% in 2003. The West was up from 89% in 2002 to 91% for 2003 and the South remained at 48% usage.

New multi-family homes saw gas share for heat grow from 45% in 2002 to 51% for 2003. Until last year, the gas share of heated multi-family homes had not risen above 50% since 1994.

The regional breakdown was once again led by the Northeast, which saw the gas share of new multi-family homes jump from 91% in 2002 to 98% for 2003. The Midwest was up from 69% to 73%, while the West moved up from 64% to 69%. The South inched up from 13% to 14%.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau found that 52% of American homes are heated with natural gas, followed by electricity with a 31% share, fuel oil (9%) and propane (6%). The report in its entirety can be found at

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