The Biden administration has modified its proposed regulations on gas-powered stovetops. The policy reversal comes as a response to widespread criticism from consumer advocates, industry groups, and a bipartisan section of Congress. [Source]
The Department of Energy (DOE), after a year of intense scrutiny and feedback from various stakeholders, has announced revised energy efficiency regulations targeting gas-powered stovetops.
This decision marks a deviation the administration’s ambitious climate change agenda. Biden put forth a stringent proposal in February 2023, which faced considerable backlash for its perceived impact on consumer choice and appliance costs.
“President Biden is committed to using all the tools at the Administration’s disposal to lower costs for American families and deliver healthier communities — including energy efficiency measures like the one announced today,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated.
The original proposal, intended to take effect in 2027, would have affected an estimated 50% of current gas stove models. It was part of the administration’s effort to comply with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which mandates the establishment of energy efficiency standards without compromising consumer choice.
The proposal was met with strong resistance from Republicans and consumer advocacy groups who criticized it for limiting consumer options and potentially increasing prices. They also expressed concerns about the DOE’s perceived push towards home electrification as a means to combat global warming. [Source]
In response to this pushback, the DOE has now set forth a compromise, with the new rules slated for implementation in early 2028.
A group of stakeholders, including the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), a leading U.S. trade group representing appliance makers, helped craft the new rules. AHAM played a pivotal role in negotiating less aggressive energy efficiency targets, thereby preserving essential features and performance aspects of gas stovetops.
“We were able to settle on energy levels that would retain the features and performance that consumers rely on every day. We were also able to adjust or modify the timelines that the Energy Department was suggesting,” said Jill Notini, a spokesperson for AHAM, highlighting the negotiation’s outcome as a win for consumers.
This modification is significant. Under the 2023 proposal, the DOE aimed to ban the sale of gas stoves consuming more than 1,204 thousand British thermal units (kBtu) per year. In contrast, the finalized rules restrict stoves that exceed 1,770 kBtu per year, a marked change that now impacts just 3% of gas stove models, compared to the 50% under the initial proposal.
Despite these changes, there remains a sense of unease among some consumer advocates and industry experts regarding the extent of DOE’s regulatory authority and the sufficiency of consumer input in the decision-making process.
Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, while acknowledging the improvement in the revised regulation, argues for more consumer autonomy. “A reasonable regulation is better than an unreasonable regulation,” Lieberman told Fox News Digital, “But, on applying standards, I think there should be no efficiency regulations and certainly no regulations that may discourage gas stoves.”
This turn of events highlights the Biden administration’s ongoing struggle to balance its aggressive climate change objectives against the practical concerns of consumers and industry stakeholders.