Monday, February 27, 2023

Biden Admin Proposes to Block Half of Current Gas Range Models 

An efficiency proposal by the Department of Energy (DOE) would block half of current gas cooking appliances from the U.S. market, an analysis by the federal agency shows.

The DOE proposed a maximum annual gas consumption of 1,204 thousand British thermal units (kBtu), also known as the EL 2 standard, for all gas cooking tops. If that rule is finalized, only half of those appliances that are currently on the market would be able to meet the new standard.

The department “estimates that nearly half of the total gas cooking top market currently achieves EL 2 and therefore would not be impacted by the proposed standard, if finalized,” DOE stated in an updated analysis (pdf).

The department issued the updated analysis mainly because it excluded certain types of gas cooking tops in the previous analysis that was published on Feb. 1 (pdf).

The governmental agency includes gas cooking tops with high input rate (HIR) burners in the new analysis.

The market share of qualified products expands substantially because all products with HIR can meet the new standard, according to the DOE.

The new rule would take effect three years after it’s adopted.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) stated that it’s “very concerned” about the direction of the DOE.

“They have released the most stringent proposal for gas ranges, which only a sliver of the market can meet,” Jill Notini, industry spokesperson for AHAM, told The Epoch Times. “It’s very concerning what they’re doing with gas products. We believe that there should be consumer choice and that consumers should be able to make a decision on whether they would like to purchase a gas or electric product.

“Clearly, the Department of Energy’s intentions are to eliminate gas products from the market. And they should just say that instead of releasing a deceptive and flawed analysis to justify their proposal.”

AHAM, a trade association that represents the manufacturers of household appliances sold in the United States, doesn’t trust the DOE’s analysis and is carrying out its own analysis.

The results of the proposed regulation could be much worse than the DOE stated, according to the AHAM.

“What we believe is that products right now in the market would need significant redesign in order to meet the proposed levels,” Notini said.

The trade association’s officials said “everything is on the table” when asked if they plan to take legal action against the proposed regulation.

Rulemaking and Lawsuit

The DOE initiated the rulemaking process of potential regulation on gas cooking tops in 2014 and proposed standards in September 2016. The 2016 standard sets the maximum annual gas consumption at 924.4 kBtu.

However, former President Donald Trump’s Energy Department halted the rulemaking process in December 2020, in the final months of his administration.

The rulemaking process has been disputed in the courts, as six organizations, including some environmental groups and some blue states, filed two separate lawsuits in an attempt to force the Trump administration to regulate the gas cooking tops.

AHAM was one of the plaintiff intervenors in both cases.

In September 2022, a U.S. district judge ordered the DOE to issue regulations on conventional cooking products or determine that no regulation is needed by Jan. 31, 2024.

The Biden administration resumed the rulemaking process by issuing the Feb. 1 proposed rule.

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