Federal Attacks on Gas Stoves Continue

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Think Biden administration regulators at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have really backed away from their threat to target natural gas stoves? No, they are just going to get a lot sneakier in going about it, and they have now been joined by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The climate activists inside and outside the administration are persistent, and they want natural gas stoves gone in favor of electric versions. Never mind how little sense it all makes—switching to electricity doesn’t even reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless you engage in wildly unrealistic assumptions about an electric grid dominated by wind, solar, and other renewables.

And it is certainly bad news for consumers, as natural gas is over three times cheaper than electricity on a per unit energy basis—not to mention the millions of cooks who swear by the superiority of cooking with gas. Nonetheless, the climate crowd wants to eliminate residential use of natural gas in favor of electrifying everything, and they will use every lever to get their way.

The CPSC’s recent effort to target natural gas stoves met with a powerful consumer backlash, after which the administration insisted that no such ban is in the works. But even in these denials, no Biden official actually conceded that targeting gas stoves was a bad idea, and the CPSC has not ceased its information-gathering proceedings that could lead to eventual restrictions.

It is noteworthy that the whole effort to force American homeowners away from natural gas use and electrify everything is generously financed by some very big environmental groups and green billionaires. These activists, and their money, are not going away.

Consumers cannot get complacent that gas stoves will remain an option. We need to keep a close eye on CPSC, but we also keep one on other federal agencies that may attack gas stoves from another angle. For example, the Department of Energy has authority to set energy efficiency standards for stoves, and on February 1 published a proposal to do exactly that.

Theoretically, such a rule could be done in a fuel-neutral manner that wouldn’t hit gas stoves any harder than electric versions. In fact, the law authorizing DOE to set efficiency standards for appliances requires it to be so. But in reality, and given the administration’s whole-of-government approach to climate change, DOE’s final rule will very likely try to pick up where CPSC left off. Appliance makers who have seen the proposed rule have raised such concerns.   

An efficiency standard could be done in a way that boosts the cost of gas versions more than electric, eliminates desired features, or compromises performance. The fact that DOE has stated that “addressing the effects of climate change is a top priority with the Energy Department” and has expressed support for the electrification agenda, is further reason for proponents of gas stoves—and consumer choice—to keep tabs on this rulemaking.