President Biden’s administration has declared war on gas stoves, but today the House of Representatives is fighting back
Two Biden administration agencies, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Energy (DOE), have launched proceedings targeting residential gas stoves. Today, the House of Representatives will vote on two bills to stop these efforts – H.R. 1615, the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, which blocks CPSC from moving ahead with any gas stove restrictions, and H.R. 1640, the Save Our Gas Stoves Act, which does the same to DOE’s regulatory proceedings.
The furor started last January, when CPSC commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. announced that an investigation into the safety of gas stoves is underway and that a ban is “a real possibility.” This sparked a strong public backlash against government meddling in our kitchens, after which the Biden administration stridently denied that any ban was in the works. But CPSC’s proceedings on gas stoves are ongoing and are very likely to culminate in at least some restrictions, and possibly severe ones.
Despite its insistence that the public has nothing to worry about, the administration unleashed a second regulatory agency on stoves in February, this time DOE with its first-ever energy efficiency regulations for them. DOE never bothered with stove efficiency standards in the past, in large part because they use so little energy in the first place – averaging less than $35 per year for either gas or electric versions. In fact, the agency itself admits that its proposed efficiency rule would save buyers of compliant gas stoves a mere $1.51 per year. This miniscule upside is easily outweighed by the downside – gas stoves would have to cut corners in order to comply, including reducing the highest heat settings cooks need for such tasks as searing and stir-frying. And, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the proposed rule would lead to a gas stove owners wasting nearly 24 hours per year in the form of extra time needed to bring water to a boil, thanks to the weaker burners required by regulators. In contrast, the agency is much more lenient towards electric stoves, which will have to make few if any changes in order to comply.
Notwithstanding the stated reasons for the two agencies’ actions, climate change is the real reason the Biden administration is going after gas stoves. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and a number of very well-funded climate activist groups are pushing to eliminate its residential use in favor of electricity for all appliances. And the Biden administration has completely bought into the anti-gas climate agenda, despite its own admission that natural gas is less than a third the cost of electricity on a per unit energy basis. However, since neither CPSC nor DOE have authority to go after gas stoves on climate grounds, they have to claim safety and efficiency as the jurisdictional hook.
Even if the House bills pass with bipartisan support, such measures face a much tougher battle in the Senate. However, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is strongly in favor of consumer choice and against government restrictions, and has co-sponsored a bill defending gas stoves with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Any gas stove legislation that passes both houses would face the near-certainty of a presidential veto. Nonetheless, the current debate sets the stage for pushing back against this nonsense if and when the political winds shift and make passage of legislation possible.
Unfortunately, it is not just these two agencies that need to be stopped. Provisions in last years’ Inflation Reduction Act, taken out by the House Republicans in their initial debt ceiling bill but added back in the final deal, are also a big problem. This includes $840 for the purchase of an electric stove but nothing for a gas version, as well as incentives to encourage newly constructed residences to forego natural gas hookups and provide electricity only. Like so much of the Biden climate agenda, the war on gas stoves and larger war on natural gas use pervades the entire federal bureaucracy, and there is a redundancy of provisions that need to be addressed.
The good news is that the American people strongly dislike all of this and are solidly behind stove freedom – which is why the administration had to make its far-fetched claims that it isn’t targeting gas stoves. This is an issue that can still be won. The two House bills being voted on today are an important step.