Who knew President Joe Biden hated gas stoves so much? Not only does he have multiple federal agencies targeting them, but he is also going after the natural gas supplies on which they depend.
Like so much of the craziness coming from Washington these days, the war on the blue flame is being done for the sake of fighting climate change.
Here is a rundown of how your tax dollars are at work to restrict your freedom of choice in the kitchen:
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. created quite a stir last month when he stated that a federal ban on new natural gas stoves was “a real possibility.” The public backlash was so strong – it turns out American don’t like the idea of the feds forcing them to choose electric over gas cooking – that the Biden Administration issued denials that any such crackdown was in the works. However, CPSC just announced that it is soliciting information on the safety of gas stoves, the first step towards restrictions.
The ostensible reason for this initiative is a few recent reports claiming that gas stoves create harmful indoor air quality, but in reality these junky studies are closely tied to climate change-focused organizations like the Rocky Mountain Institute. In any event, they are contradicted by the weight of evidence as well as decades of experience that gas stoves are safe.
DOE recently proposed its first-ever energy efficiency standards for residential stoves. Though such regulations are supposed to be fuel neutral, the agency’s proposal stands out for hitting gas stoves much harder than electric versions, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, which represents makers of both types of stoves. Not only would the rule likely boost the cost of gas stoves more than electrics, but it would jeopardize some of their features. It may even result in the max setting on gas burners having to be reduced in order to comply.
As with CPSC’s public health rationale, the DOE’s efficiency claims are just an excuse for the real agenda – climate change. Cooking with either electricity or natural gas currently averages less than $35 per household annually, so the potential savings from a DOE standard are hardly worth the bother. And in any event, there’s no reason to tilt a supposedly efficiency-focused standard so heavily against gas and in favor of electric. But natural gas is a fossil fuel and thus a target of the Biden administration’s “whole of government” prioritization of climate change which includes favoring electricity over natural gas in homes. Along with stoves, DOE is also working on furnace efficiency standards that are similarly tailored to discourage gas heat and favor electric.
Natural gas is over three times cheaper than electricity on a per unit energy basis, according to an analysis from DOE (yes, the same Biden DOE which otherwise discourages natural gas). Thus, low operating costs is one advantage of gas cooking, but the Biden administration is trying to undercut this advantage for the sake of fighting climate change.
Among other things, it is curtailing oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands, opposing needed gas pipelines (2022 was a record low year for interstate gas pipeline capacity additions), pressuring banks not to lend to oil and gas companies, and even imposing new fees on oil and gas production. Thanks to fracking, America has plentiful natural gas supplies, but team Biden is pushing hard to keep it underutilized, which can only be bad news for affordability.
You can’t have a natural gas stove if you don’t have a natural gas hookup in your home or apartment, and climate activists both inside and outside the Biden Administration are working to make this the case for millions more Americans.
Touting the alleged climate benefits, dozens of blue cities and counties have already imposed bans on natural gas hookups, usually targeting new construction. And now, the Biden Administration is subsidizing such efforts as part of its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This includes such things as handouts in the Inflation Reduction Act for builders of subsidized housing units that provide electricity only, as well as funding for states and localities that change their building codes to create impediments for gas hookups.
Also included in the Inflation Reduction Act is a $840 rebate to anyone who buys a new electric stove. This adds to other federal and state incentives to go electric. While big handouts for electric stoves don’t prohibit gas stoves per se, one wonders how long gas stove makers can compete on such an unfair playing field.
This list is not exhaustive, and there likely will be additional federal measures to come. For example, there’s a real possibility that the Environmental Protection Agency could join the list of anti-gas stove bureaucracies and make the regulatory red tape even worse. What is clear is the fanaticism with which the Biden Administration is pursuing its climate agenda, and that gas stoves remain in the crosshairs.
But the initial public backlash to CPSC also shows that there are limits to what the American people will tolerate, especially when it comes to restricting freedom of choice in our homes.
And the idea that switching from gas stoves to electric will help save the planet is so ridiculous that it could spark a bigger backlash, not just against stove mandates but against the larger climate agenda.