The cost of operating a dryer varies depending on several factors; however, electric dryers usually cost between 32 and 41 cents per load, while gas units operate at between 15 and 33 cents per load, according to California's Consumer Energy Center. Gas dryers generally operate at a higher temperature and complete the job in less time, which reduces their energy consumption, but they require a larger initial investment.
SF Gate uses the Northern California PG&E rates to calculate the rate per hour of operating the two types of dryers. Their breakdown shows that in 2014, the cost for an electric unit is 25 cents per hour, and a gas unit, considering both electricity to operate the tumbler and gas for the flame, is 23 cents per hour.
While other major appliances carry a yellow EnergyGuide label for consumer use, dryers vary little from one model to the next in the amount of energy they require, so the Federal Trade Commission exempts them from labeling.
While the cost savings of a gas dryer may seem like a great idea, natural gas is not available in all homes. In addition, even in homes where it is available, there is often not an outlet in the laundry room, and the addition of one requires the services of a plumber.