Finalized regs render 97% of current models compliant
By Andy Kriege, YSN
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized scaled-back efficiency standards for gas cooking appliances, backing away from a previous proposal that would have rendered roughly half of all models out of compliance. The DOE published its final rule on Monday, Jan. 29, in accordance with a court order that required the agency to do so by the end of the month.
The new regulations apply to gas-fueled ranges, cooktops and ovens, as well as their electric counterparts. Under the new rules, only 3% of current gas models will require “modest improvements” to increase efficiency, the DOE said, while electric cooking products will need to reduce their energy consumption to at least 30% below today’s least efficient models.
Compliance with the rules will be required for newly manufactured products beginning in January 2028.
“The standards will not result in the loss of any consumer-desired features in future models, such as continuous cast-iron grates, high input rate burners and other specialty burners,” the DOE said, allaying concerns by manufacturers and consumer groups.
An Energy Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity further assured The Washington Post that “The vast majority of cooktop models, both electric and gas, will meet the standard as they exist today without modification. Consumers will still be able to buy the same cooking products.”
The Biden administration initially proposed aggressive new efficiency standards for cooking products in February 2023. The proposals were preceded by a political firestorm ignited by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr., who suggested in an interview with Bloomberg that a potential de facto ban on gas ranges was on the table. Nearly 70% of Americans oppose an outright federal ban on gas-fueled cooking appliances, according to a June 2023 poll conducted by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies (CAP) and Harris Insights and Analytics.
Despite a denial issued days later by the head of the CPSC, pushback from vendor, gas industry and consumer advocacy groups compelled the administration to rethink its proposed regs.
The new DOE rules reflect a September proposal developed by appliance manufacturers, environmental groups and consumer advocates that set efficiency levels and compliance dates for cooking, laundry, refrigeration and kitchen cleanup products.
Appliance vendors are pleased with the new deal. “This standard is a win for consumers and energy savings,” said Kelly Mariotti, president/CEO of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). “Manufacturers will have the flexibility they need to continue offering the features and performance that consumers value in gas and electric cooking products.”