Grill enthusiasts tend to stick with what works, so it’s common to find propane gas, natural gas, or charcoal grills in someone’s backyard. Although gas and charcoal grills are used because of how they enrich and bring out flavors in foods, these fuel sources don’t have the best reputation.

In fact, environmentalists will suggest avoiding gas and charcoal for their inefficiency and the damage they do to the environment. Is it true that electric grills are more energy-efficient than natural gas grills? On the surface, gas is more energy-efficient, but let’s look deeper.

Electric Grills are More Efficient

The average electric grill uses 1,250 watts, and that amount of usage will vary in cost depending on what you pay for electricity. Australians can compare electricity providers with iSelect to find a better deal on their total monthly costs, but American’s can search online for discounts.

The reason why electric grills are seen as less efficient is due to the baseline costs combined with power lost during conversion. Installing an electric form of an energy source, if you don’t already have it (i.e., an electric furnace), is expensive but not as expensive as a gas line.

If electricity is being converted from natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy, you’ll lose 60% of your electricity after it’s converted unless it’s from a renewable source, like the sun, air, wind, or geothermal. Still, an electric grill will be more efficient in the long run if it’s eco-friendly.

Natural Gas Grills are Less Efficient

The benefits of natural gas and charcoal grills go beyond taste. Initially, natural gas grills are cheaper to run and operate, considering most Americans have an already installed gas line.

If you’re using propane or coal, you already know the total cost of your grill because you need to pay for your fuel source upfront. Hooking up a natural gas grill is cheap, but your rates will fluctuate depending on how often you use your grill and/or gas generator.

If you use your grill less than twice a week, gas is cheaper than electricity. But, we still haven’t considered the total cost of natural gas, from extraction to home use.

Total Use Makes Natural Gas and Coal Inefficient

Coal can burn 170,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) per 1 cubic foot, and natural gas can burn 1,000 Btu per 1 cubic foot of gas. When watts are converted to BTU, 1 kWh (kilowatt-hours) will generate 3,412 BTU of heat energy, making it more efficient than natural gas overall.

However, coal and natural oil are less efficient over time due to transportation costs, extraction costs, and rising cost consequences (climate change). Once an electricity plant is installed, the building will become net-neutral unless it uses other sources as a way to convert energy.

If that’s the case, electricity could be less efficient, but electricity is capable of a “best-case scenario,” whereas gas and coal aren’t. With both methods, you need to use petrol (gas for cars) to run the machines and transport trucks, making the process inefficient very quickly.

Why Consider Total Use, Not Personal Use?

If you’re unable to use electric furnaces or grills due to cost reasons, it’s unfair to place blame on a single person for the damage natural gas and coal does to the environment. In fact, 70% of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions are due to 100 natural gas producers.

However, personal efficiency comes at the cost of total inefficiency, so if you can play your part by adopting an electric grill or electric appliances, your energy production will become more efficient overall. It may also convince energy plants to start using green sources for fuel.

When used with a green source, electricity can’t pollute our oceans, air, and communities, but sulfur-gas, leaded gas, poor burning fuels (like coal), and gasoline leaks will.