In the first few days of February, central Texas was hit with a severe ice storm. An inch of ice accumulated on the trees around my house. Massive oak branches, weighing many times normal, were crashing down for four days. Our electricity was even knocked out a few times. But thankfully, during one outage, before I could safely get my generator up and running, we were able to prepare lunch for my aged father-in-law on our gas stove.
I was grateful to own a stove that met my family’s needs. But soon, should the Biden administration and some local and state governments have their way, the gas stove will go the way of the incandescent lightbulb and for the same rationale: the environment — though the case against the gas stove is far less clear.
In January, a Biden appointee to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., son of the late president of the AFL-CIO, decided gas stoves were a “hidden hazard.” And as a result, they could be banned across the nation.
It’s fascinating to see when the memo goes out among the left that something is doubleplusungood. As recently noted, when leftists decide you can’t have a big pickup truck, we’re treated to a spate of articles, things that purport to be “studies,” and opinion pieces that big pickup trucks are dangerous and dirty vehicles that are only driven by vain, power-hungry, selfish people. Now, they’re coming for our gas stoves.
And about those lightbulbs. We were told we needed to shift away from incandescent to save money and the planet. The first-generation replacement bulbs were compact fluorescent lights. They didn’t last as long as the marketing suggested, and when penciling out the supposed savings in electricity, they didn’t meet expectations — at least in my household. And my bulbs suffered a couple of failures, with acrid smoke pouring out of the bulb’s base, one of which set the smoke detector off.
Further, in some jurisdictions, a broken bulb with its mercury vapor was considered hazardous waste. Halogen and LED bulbs came next — also very costly and highly prone to failure before their advertised 25,000 theoretical lifespans. Now, almost 20 years of government mandates later, LED bulbs finally seem to be catching up with the promises.
With stoves, the case is complicated. In much of America, natural gas is so inexpensive that gas ranges cost less than half as much to operate as an electric range. In California, ground zero for the ban on gas stoves, the cost to operate a gas range over the past year equals $1.93 per month (assuming the use of 2.34 therms per month at an average gas cost of 82.3 cents per therm). In California, with electricity prices for residential users soaring in the 11 months ending in November 2022 to 26.36 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (the highest in the continental U.S. and higher than in every state except Hawaii), the average electric range user would pay $11.14 a month.
But not to fear, Consumer Reports claims the newer electric magnetic induction stoves are 5-10 percent more efficient than a traditional electric stove. Great, give it 10 percent — now you’re paying $10.03 to cook your food in California versus $1.93 for gas — $97.20 more per year to cook with electricity — assuming California isn’t cutting your power due to worries about fire or shortages due to its reliance on unreliable renewable energy.
But if you can’t be persuaded to pay almost $100 a year more to go green (Wait, where does that electricity come from?) and save the planet, then you’ll be forced to, via a carbon tax on your natural gas that will make it more costly to cook with gas.
In addition to the higher costs of operation, the lowest-priced 30-inch induction stove lists at Home Depot for $1,198 compared to a 30-inch gas range at $528. But not to worry, just starting out? Few, if any, of your parents’ cookware will work on a new induction stove, which only works with cookware that a magnet will stick to, so throw in another $350 to have something in which to cook.
Further, that induction range’s glass or ceramic top is great to look at, but it can easily scratch or shatter, necessitating a steep repair bill — that reliable gas stove can take a beating and still cook your food.
The ace in the hole to push you away from using a gas stove is the claim that they are indoor air pollution threats. The studies that lead to this claim are laughably ridiculous, with emissions from gas stoves being measured in sealed rooms without ventilation or with sheets of plastic enclosing the space around the stove. In the meantime, the emissions from the food you cook are eleven times that of the gas range itself — suggesting the very act of cooking is a far greater health risk than the type of stove you use (assuming you aren’t forced to cook over a dried dung fire, as is still the case in parts of the Third World).
Back to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s potential ban on gas stoves, they assure us there’s nothing to worry about, as the ban would only be for new installation.
Of course, we all know how this will play out. Should gas ranges be banned in new homes, it will only be a matter of time before gas appliances become hard to find, and then when your old reliable gas range finally gives up the ghost, it will be impossible to replace it — meaning, for some people, a very costly electrician’s bill to run a 220-volt line into the kitchen.
Hey, it’s all for the planet, peasants, so shut up and pay up.