Nitrofurans undergo intramolecular Diels-Alder reactions with tethered electron-poor dienophiles more rapidly and in higher yield than non-nitrated furans. Computational studies indicate that increased stabilization of a partial positive charge on the nitro-substituted carbon in both transition state and product is the driving force for these reactions. Frontier molecular orbital energy differences indicate a switch from normal to inverse electron demand upon nitration. There does not appear to be a contribution from any differences in aromatic stabilization energy between furans and nitrofurans. Calculations show that the nitrofuran reactions proceed via a highly asynchronous transition state allowing easier bond formation between two sterically hindered carbons.