The Energy Department proposed new rules that would mandate a certain energy consumption threshold for gas stoves even after the possibility of a nationwide ban garnered backlash.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said during an interview last month that gas stoves constitute a “hidden hazard” and said “any option is on the table” for a nationwide prohibition. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later posted a statement clarifying that neither he nor the agency planned to outlaw gas stoves after commentators balked at the suggestion. The Energy Department nevertheless proposed new rules on Wednesday that would permit regulators to establish energy consumption standards on the appliances.
Gas stoves would be subjected to a new “maximum integrated annual energy consumption” standard under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The rules, for which the Energy Department will accept public comment until April 3, would mark a change from previous regulations that prohibited constant burning pilot lights in gas stoves but placed no limits on energy consumption. Conventional ovens would likewise not be permitted to have a control system that utilizes a linear power supply under the proposed rules.
The Energy Department said officials have “tentatively concluded that the proposed standards represent the maximum improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in the significant conservation of energy.” The agency added that “products achieving these standard levels are already commercially available for all product classes covered by this proposal” and cited “important and robust” climate benefits.
“The proposed standards are likely to result in environmental benefits in the form of reduced emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases associated with energy production and use, including in-home emissions reductions experienced by consumers, and their families,” the proposed rules said.
American Gas Association CEO Karen Herbert told The Daily Wire that the trade association would “carefully evaluate” the new rules in the coming weeks. “We are concerned that this is another attempt by the federal government to use regulations to remove viable and efficient natural gas products from the market,” she remarked.
A spokesperson for the Energy Department said in a statement to NBC News that the new standards do not constitute bans on any appliances. “The proposed standards would not go into effect until 2027 and cumulatively save the nation up to $1.7 billion,” the spokesperson asserted. “Every major manufacturer has products that meet or exceed the requirements proposed today.”
Some 38% of households currently use gas stoves for cooking, with the figure approaching 70% for states such as California and New Jersey, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. The regulatory attention toward the appliances follows a letter from Democratic lawmakers last year expressing concern over their “risks posed to consumers.” The officials also invoked climate change concerns when discussing phaseouts of gas stoves, even as increased adoption of natural gas serves as a significant driver of lower emissions in the United States.
Critics of the possible regulatory action said the Consumer Product Safety Commission had not conducted a meaningful study of the appliances. “Attempts to generate consumer fears with baseless allegations to justify the banning of natural gas is a misguided agenda that will not improve the environment or the health of consumers and would saddle vulnerable populations with significant costs,” the American Gas Association said in a statement.