The Biden administration finalized energy efficiency regulations targeting gas-powered stovetops as part of its broader climate agenda, but backed off a more aggressive proposal it issued last year which attracted substantial criticism.
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued the final rules Monday after nearly 12 months of feedback from consumer advocates, industry associations and climate activist groups. The regulations, which are set to go into effect in early 2028, reflect a compromise recommendation issued last year by stakeholders including the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the leading U.S. trade group representing appliance makers.
“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 said in a statement.
“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,” Granholm continued.
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks during a press briefing at the White House. ((Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images))
On Feb. 1, 2023, the DOE issued its original proposal which was set to take effect in 2027 and impact a staggering 50% of current gas stove models. The DOE argued it is required to put forth such regulations under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act which mandates energy efficiency rules while not harming consumer choice.
In response, Republicans and consumer advocacy organizations blasted the Biden administration for curbing consumer choice and pushing a regulatory regime that would lead to higher prices. They also criticized the DOE for attempting to force Americans to electrify their homes in an effort to reduce emissions and fight global warming.
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In June, the House passed the Save Our Gas Stoves Act on a bipartisan basis in a 249-181 vote. That bill, which has yet to receive a Senate floor vote, would block DOE from implementing tougher conservation standards on stoves.
But, in September, AHAM and other industry groups opposed to the February 2023 proposal released a compromise proposal with climate advocates, recommending less aggressive energy efficiency targets for stovetops and other appliances. DOE said it scrapped its proposal last year in favor of that recommendation.
The Department of Energy on Monday significantly walked back its original gas stove proposal that was issued early last year. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)
“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,” Jill Notini, a spokesperson for AHAM, told Fox News Digital on Monday.
“We do see this as a win for consumers — we retained the features, all the things that we were very concerned about, that we felt like under the original proposal would be lost. We were able to make sure that all of those things stay in the product design through the standard,” she added.
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In particular, under the 2023 proposal, DOE would have banned the future sale of gas stoves that consume more than 1,204 thousand British thermal units (kBtu) per year. The finalized rules Monday ban the sale of stoves that consume more than 1,770 kBtu per year, a substantial alteration.
While last year’s proposal would have impacted 50% of gas stove models, the finalized regulations impact just 3%.
President Biden has broadly pursued an aggressive regulatory agenda targeting popular home appliances. (Nicole Neri/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said Monday that there was disagreement over DOE’s original proposal, but that stakeholders ultimately “came together and resolved it.”
Still, consumer advocates expressed concern that the finalized rules didn’t include enough consumer input and also took aim at DOE’s overarching authority to issue such regulations.
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“A reasonable regulation is better than an unreasonable regulation,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“But, on applying standards, I think there should be no efficiency regulations and certainly no regulations that may discourage gas stoves,” Lieberman said. “So, while this is a step in the right direction, I think the ultimate goal should be to repeal the regulatory authority and put consumers in charge once again.”