Source: American Census Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), 2021. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • In both 2013 and 2021, the most common space heating fuels in owner-occupied housing were bottled, tank, or LP gas, electricity, utility gas, and wood. However, there have been significant changes in the market share (i.e., the number of occupied housing units using a particular fuel divided by the total number of households) of different fuels in owner-occupied housing units in recent years. Electricity has shown the highest growth in market share (+5.6% from 2020) among all types of fuel, followed by No Fuel Used (+4.8% from 2020). Among the three types of fuel that saw an increase in demand in 2021 among all housing, utility gas in particular experienced a small gain—growing by 0.8 percent. A similar growth pattern has been identified in owner-occupied housing units in 2021, where the demand for electricity (+8.6%) and utility gas (+1.4%) has also increased. It is clear that electricity is emerging as the preferred fuel for space heating. In renter-occupied housing, there was an increase in electricity (+2.9%) and a decrease in utility gas (-2.0%) in 2021.
  • Owner-occupied housing tends to have more diverse fuel sources than rented housing. Homeowners are more likely to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar panels or geothermal heating systems. Rental housing tends to be more dependent on traditional fossil fuels such as natural gas or electricity generated from fossil fuels. However, there are efforts to increase access to renewable energy sources for renters, such as community solar projects and government-funded incentives for landlords to invest in energy-efficient upgrades. As the composition of the electric grid becomes more environmentally friendly, all residents in California will enjoy equal access to clean energy. This is particularly significant as it holds the potential to be a significant barrier for renters.