The conflict surrounding gas stoves has now been pushed aside.
Last year, Republicans and some moderate Democrats put in a lot of effort to protect appliances that run on fossil fuels. They were worried about a supposed plan from the Biden administration to remove these stoves from American kitchens, which was actually never proposed.
The dispute concluded on Monday with the implementation of a new Energy Department rule that will slightly increase the efficiency standards for a small number of gas stoves available in the market.
The consensus rule seemed to be well received.
The controversy surrounding stove production has brought together a variety of stakeholders, including stove manufacturers, advocates for energy efficiency, consumer groups, and utilities. However, this has not fully resolved the political disagreement that arose a year ago, highlighting yet another issue in the ongoing cultural divide over President Joe Biden’s efforts to transition the country to a cleaner and more sustainable economy.
The Republican party declared a win over the regulation, which was not as strict as the Department of Energy’s original suggestion for increased efficiency requirements (although it would not have prohibited the use of gas stoves). In contrast, Democratic members accused their GOP counterparts of overreacting to a non-issue.
Rep. Debbie Lesko
Representative from Arizona, who introduced a bill in the House last year to prevent the implementation of DOE’s proposed rule, stated that the legislation has prompted the Biden Administration to scale back their extreme agenda. The Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee also made a similar statement.Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) similarly credited lawmakers’ actions, saying that “thanks to a bipartisan vote in the House last year, the administration is feeling the heat on their efforts to ban home appliances.”
New Jersey’s representative stated that the Republican party has shamelessly used unfounded fear tactics to divert attention from the fact that they lack viable solutions for decreasing energy expenses or cutting emissions.
Pallone commended the ultimate efficiency standards, describing them as “intelligent” and “attainable.”
Although Republicans have cautioned that gas stoves were under threat in Biden’s climate plans, the Department of Energy’s new regulation would only impact 3% of the current models available on the market, according to the agency.
Some people more directly in the fight said they think the fracas has now been resolved — at least at the federal level. The stoves remain in the crosshairs of climate activists in liberal states and cities, where
dozens of efforts to ban them have kicked off skirmishes from coast to coast. A federal court
blocked one effort by Berkeley, California to prohibit the installation of gas stoves, and a New York state measure to block new gas stoves and furnaces starting in 2026 has been challenged in court there.
Regarding the DOE regulation, Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, stated that the issue has been resolved. He was part of a coalition that made a joint recommendation which the DOE ultimately adopted. It would be insincere to now object to something that only affects a small number of models and will lead to improvements.
Dan Reicher, who served as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy under the Clinton administration, stated that debates surrounding efficiency regulations are frequently fueled by the communication surrounding the proposed rule, as well as the political affiliation of the administration, particularly when challenging a dominant industry.
“He stated that Capitol Hill is highly divided on climate and energy matters, making it a prime location for discussing varying ideologies.”
The dispute over state and local attempts to prohibit stoves had been building up, but it was truly ignited last year by a single commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This commissioner labeled gas stoves as a “concealed danger” and proposed the possibility of a ban. that the
despite acknowledging months prior that he
He lacked the necessary votes to turn it into a reality.
The hearings and pushback in the House resulted in lawmakers passing bipartisan bills concerning appliances. One such bill, proposed by Lesko, aimed to prevent the DOE from finalizing their proposed efficiency regulation.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has implemented a new rule for gas stoves that focuses on improving efficiency. While initially, almost half of the models on the market did not meet the proposed standards from last year, the final rule released on Monday has been adjusted to be less strict. The new rule will only require a small percentage of models to make slight improvements in energy efficiency to match the majority of models already available. This rule will apply to all newly manufactured and imported models starting in 2028.
The approved regulation also encompassed guidelines for electric stoves and ovens. According to the department, 77 percent of electric stove models currently available would comply with these updated standards.
Karen Harbert, the leader of the American Gas Association, which advocates for gas companies, praised the regulation as a positive move forward, but also expressed worry about the Department of Energy’s tendency to set efficiency requirements.
She stated that the regulation indicates that the department was aware they did not have the power or reason to eliminate a large number of appliances from the market.
Reicher, currently a senior researcher at Stanford’s Doerr School of Sustainability, stated to POLITICO that the Department of Energy’s choice to include the objectives of different interest groups may strengthen the longevity of the new regulation and decrease the risk of legal challenges, even in the event of a less supportive administration.
He expressed concern that setting a standard could lead to legal disputes and potential reversal by future presidents. However, because this is a widely agreed upon standard, it is the most effective way to establish a secure standard for the future.
On Monday, the department estimated that the standards will result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 4 million metric tons over the course of 30 years. This is equivalent to the total annual emissions produced by 500,000 households.
However, the debate regarding efficiency regulations is expected to continue with regards to other regulatory processes within the department.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated on Monday that the department is actively working to tackle a backlog of energy efficiency tasks mandated by Congress. This delay is preventing an estimated $1 trillion in savings for American consumers. The department is currently focusing on implementing new regulations for dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong
On Monday, (R-N.D.), the sponsor of a bill targeting the actions of the Consumer Products Safety Commission, stated that the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate the type of stoves used by Americans was the cause of the criticism.
“In a statement, he expressed that the plan to control what is deemed acceptable has taken on a new form. Here’s a thought – instead of the federal government, allow American families to determine the best stove for their needs.”