Gas Stove Bans Promoted From Baseless Conspiracy Theory to New York State Policy
New York's budget deal includes a ban on gas stoves in new residential construction.
The government actually is coming for your gas stove.
New York's new state budget includes a provision banning gas stoves in new residential construction. CNN reports that only electric stoves will be allowed in buildings under seven stories by 2026 and taller buildings by 2029.
The policy is the latest successful attack on an appliance used and cherished by millions of Americans.
Berkeley, California, was the first city to ban gas stoves in new buildings in 2019. A handful of other California cities have since followed suit. New York City adopted a local-level ban at the end of 2021. It goes into effect next year for smaller buildings.
Those are all pretty blue places, whose populations generally took the new bans with grace and good humor. When Consumer Product Safety Commission member Richard Trumka Jr. suggested this ban could be adopted nationwide, gas stove owners everywhere flipped out.
In response to the backlash, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) assured everyone that government gas-grabbing was a MAGA conspiracy theory. Mainstream media fact-checkers said much the same thing. In the senator's state, at least, the conspiracists did have something to worry about.
Supporters of gas stove bans argue that the gas needed to fuel them is bad for the climate and that the emissions they produce within the home are bad for your health.
Steve Everley, writing in National Review in January, covered several flaws in the most recent studies finding serious health impacts from gas stoves. Experimental studies that found links between gas stoves and child asthma used airtight rooms without ventilation. The author of another much-touted meta-analysis finding a link between gas stoves and child asthma said their study "does not assume or estimate a causal relationship." Masses of earlier studies, Everley notes, have found no health impacts from gas stoves.
In the short-term, mandated electrification of appliances is probably worse for the climate. On-site use of gas stoves and furnaces uses almost all the energy in the gas. Generating electricity from gas and then using that electricity to power appliances is much less efficient. Of New York's 10 largest power plants, for instance, five are powered by natural gas.
Another reason to oppose gas stove bans is that people like their gas stoves.
"Most home chefs—and pretty much all professional chefs—will tell you that electric stoves take a long time to heat up and are far less responsive when changing heat levels. Induction stoves, which are actually quite fast to heat up, require different types of cookware and kitchen thermometers, in addition to being a lot more expensive than electric stoves," wrote Reason's Liz Wolfe earlier this year.
Despite spreading bans, there is some hope for gas stove enthusiasts. Trumka's comments saw Republicans and Democrats in Congress propose legislation to protect the appliances from a federal ban.
A recent federal appeals court case also struck down Berkeley's ban because federal appliance regulations preempted it. That decision was highly technical, however, and likely leaves other avenues for gas stove bans to be passed at the state and local levels.
In the Empire State, it's too little, too late for lovers of gas stoves.