A new Biden administration rule on cooking appliances would effectively ban half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market from being sold, according to an Energy Department projection.
In an analysis published earlier this month, President Joe Biden's Energy Department acknowledged that roughly half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market today would not meet its proposed cooking appliance efficiency regulations, E&E News reported Friday. As a result, those stoves would not be eligible for purchase. Still, Energy Department spokesman Jeremy Ortiz dismissed concerns over the proposal, saying half the gas stove market "would remain if this standard is finalized as proposed."
The Energy Department's admission comes roughly one month after U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden appointee, said a gas stove ban was "on the table." "This is a hidden hazard," Trumka Jr. said of gas cooking. "Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned."
After Trumka's comments prompted a political firestorm, both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the White House walked back the threat, with Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assuring Americans "the president does not support banning gas stoves." The Energy Department's new rule and subsequent analysis, however, contradict that walkback, and the home appliance industry is responding with fierce pushback.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, for example, is arguing that the proposed rule would prohibit a much larger proportion of gas stoves from being sold. Association vice president Jill Notini pointed to a December Energy Department test of 21 gas stoves models—all but one of those models failed to meet the proposed rule's efficiency standards, prompting charges that the rule would actually nullify 96 percent of the gas stove market.
"It's like they're in such a rush to regulate these products, and they're trying to cover their tracks," Notini told E&E. "But they're doing an incredibly poor job of it. We've never seen this level of sloppy analysis from DOE before." The Energy Department called Notini's allegations "misleading."
Trumka's call to ban gas stoves was inspired by a controversial December study that attributed 13 percent of U.S. childhood asthma cases to gas-stove use. The group behind that study, Colorado-based green energy nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute, has partnered with the Chinese government to engineer an "economy-wide transformation" away from oil and gas, the Washington Free Beacon reported in January.
The Biden administration is accepting public comments on its cooking appliance regulations, which would come into effect in three years if finalized. Roughly 40 percent of Americans cook with natural gas, which is three times cheaper than electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.