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DOE Scales Back Final Gas Stove Efficiency Rule

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released updated energy efficiency standards for residential cooking appliances that includes a compromise on gas stoves after pushback on the initial proposal.

The new rule will require just 3 percent of the gas stoves and 23 percent of the electric stoves on the market to improve their efficiency, according to a statement from the DOE. The efficiency standards upgrades are required periodically under law.

The final rule allows gas stoves that use 1,770 thousand British thermal units (kBtu) per year, a significant change from the February 2023 proposed rule that would have required a limit of 1,204 kBtu a year, more than 30 percent less. That proposal would have required changes to about half of the gas stoves on the market.

The initial proposal drew criticism from legislators and industry groups, with some lawmakers claiming that the government regulators intended to severely restrict or ultimately ban gas appliances. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also had to make it clear that it was not attempting to ban gas stoves due to potential health risks.

Some research has indicated that gas stoves can be harmful and a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 12 percent of childhood asthma is attributable to natural gas stoves, which are used by about 35 percent of households in the U.S.

Natural gas is predominantly methane, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG). When burned for cooking, it emits nitrogen dioxide, which can have harmful health effects. Gas leaks could also emit methane into the atmosphere.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and several environmental and consumer groups then recommended a compromise set of energy levels for cooking appliances that was adopted in the final standards. The standards, which will take effect in early 2028, “will save energy while preserving cooking methods and features valued by home cooks and allowing manufacturers the flexibility necessary to continue innovating,” according to a release from AHAM.

The regulations cover residential cooking products, electric and gas cooktop and oven ranges, and stand-alone electric and gas cooktops and ovens. The DOE projects that cumulative standards” will provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years. DOE also estimates that these standards, once finalized, will cumulatively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons or more—an amount roughly equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars, 22 coal-fired power plants, or 10.5 million homes over 30 years,” the DOE release states.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said that the DOE intends to continue to improve energy efficiency. “DOE is dedicated to working together with our industry partners and stakeholders throughout 2024 to continue strengthening appliance standards, addressing a backlog of Congressionally-mandated energy efficiency actions that is delaying a projected $1 trillion in consumer savings from reaching the American people,” she said.

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