San Francisco’s new gas ban has reignited the debate about gas stove bans—once again.
- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District voted on Wednesday, March 15, to ban nitrogen oxide-emitting (NOx) appliances from nine counties surrounding San Francisco,
- The ruling bans new gas water heaters by 2027, furnaces by 2029, and commercial water heaters by 2031, The Hill reports.
- While the cost of swapping a gas furnace can average over $8,000, the rules apply specifically to new appliances and do not affect gas cooking stoves.
- The Bay Area agency notes in its report that the only commercial alternative to NOx devices is electric ones.
Why It’s News
San Francisco’s decision comes after a controversy over the White House’s reported attempts to regulate gas stove emissions. A public comment in January from a safety commissioner turned into a two-month public debate about the safety of cooking stoves and the negative effects of burning gas on children’s health. Republicans responded with legislation protecting and offering tax breaks on gas stove purchases.
While the Consumer Product Safety Commission has attempted to calm the argument by saying it doesn’t intend to ban gas stoves, a Department of Energy estimate suggested that 50% of gas stoves on the market would not comply with the new proposed safety standards. The Commission also announced on March 1 that it is studying the health risks of gas stoves, hoping that companies will make independent efforts to reduce emissions.
While no rule changes or enforcement has changed, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office is currently taking public comments on a proposal that would allow agencies to update periodically its safety standards, which could ban certain stoves, as “more-stringent standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in significant energy savings.”
“The department’s proposed rule sets requirements for gas cooktops at the maximum technologically feasible or ‘max-tech’ level. Based on the Department of Energy’s own analysis, gas cooktops at the max-tech level represent just 4% of the current market share and exclude all conventional free-stand ranges. Any rule that causes 96% of the products available today to be eliminated from the market is an extreme regulation. In fact, it is essentially an outright ban on gas stoves,” says Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).