Limits on Gas Stove Energy Consumption Proposed by U.S. Regulators
Federal energy officials have announced new regulations that would limit gas stove energy consumption, amid growing concerns and debate over the safety of the appliances, which have been linked to an increased risk of various respiratory illnesses.
On Wednesday, the Department of Energy published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, indicating that the agency plans to set limits on the energy consumed by gas stoves, as well as electric ranges. While the proposed rule is primarily focused on energy savings and environmental benefits, it comes after a number of studies have linked gas stove emissions to health risks, such as childhood asthma.
The proposed rule would reduce energy usage of gas and electric stoves and ranges by about 30% according to some estimates, reducing nationwide energy costs by $1.7 billion, and reducing emissions of air pollutants linked to climate change. The Department of Energy indicates the new standards were mandated by Congress in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
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Appliance industry lobbyists appear to initially oppose the rulemaking, claiming the new standards may work as a stealth ban on gas stoves. However, Energy Department officials say every major manufacturer currently has products on the market that meet or exceed the proposed energy requirements, including nearly half of gas stoves.
Concerns about a potential gas stove ban have been swirling in the wake of increasing health concerns over gas stove emissions, however, President Joe Biden and consumer protection officials have said a ban is not currently under consideration.
Gas Stove Health Concerns
The proposed rule comes after a number of studies in recent months and years have warned that gas stove emissions could be a significant source of childhood asthma and other health problems.
Earlier this month, Australian researchers published a study indicating about one out of every eight cases of childhood asthma could be caused by gas stove emissions.
The findings of the study indicated living in a home with a gas stove increases a child’s risk of having asthma by 42%, and the use of gas stoves may be responsible for nearly 13% of all childhood asthma cases diagnosed in the U.S.
Another study, published in October, found that natural gas stoves often leak hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and other volatile organic compounds, which could increase the risk of cancer.
Benefits of Gas Stove Limits on Energy Consumption
The Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office noted the proposed rule would provide significant cost savings for families amid rising energy prices, and provide environmental benefits as well.
“The cumulative net present value (NPV) of total consumer benefits of the proposed standards for consumer conventional cooking products ranges from $0.65 billion to $1.71 billion,” the proposed rulemaking states. “In addition, the proposed standards for consumer conventional cooking products are projected to yield significant environmental benefits.”
The Department of Energy estimates the standards would result in a reduction of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
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