The Energy Department put the gas stove debate on the front burner again Wednesday by proposing new efficiency standards for consumer cooking appliances.
The proposal comes just weeks after a consumer safety official at another agency sparked backlash from Republicans, as well as some Democrats, by floating the possibility that new gas stoves could be banned.
The proposed standards, which focus on energy consumption, would require that both gas and electric stoves meet certain efficiency thresholds. The proposal also suggests new standards for gas and electric ovens.
“As required by Congress, the Department of Energy is proposing efficiency standards for gas and electric cooktops — we are not proposing bans on either,” a department spokesperson said in a statement. “The proposed standards would not go into effect until 2027 and cumulatively save the nation up to $1.7 billion. Every major manufacturer has products that meet or exceed the requirements proposed today.”
The department said in the proposal that it had “tentatively concluded” the proposed standards represented meaningful gains and that they were "technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in the significant conservation of energy.”
It also said the proposed changes would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions tied to the cooking appliances.
The standards would be a shift from existing rules, which prohibit constant burning pilot lights in gas stoves but do not put limits on energy consumption.
Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drew the ire of Republican lawmakers last month when he suggested in an interview with Bloomberg News that gas stoves, which he said pose a “hidden hazard” in U.S. homes, could be banned. A spokesperson for the commission later clarified that there was no official proposal.
GOP lawmakers quickly seized on the remarks by Trumka, a Biden nominee, and argued that the Biden administration and government bureaucrats were coming for Americans’ stoves. In response to the uproar, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden does not support banning gas stoves.
The Energy Department said the proposed conservation standards overall would save a "significant amount" of energy, most likely resulting in estimated national savings that are "the equivalent of the electricity use of 19 million residential homes in one year."
If they are adopted, the standards would apply to products manufactured or imported to the U.S. three years after the publication of any new rules.