Biden admin faces legal battle over gas stove regulations

 December 20, 2023

The natural gas industry, led by the American Gas Association (AGA), is challenging regulations set by the Biden administration that target traditional gas-powered residential furnaces.

A legal challenge was filed against the Department of Energy (DOE) late Monday, with the AGA and other trade associations arguing that the regulations, finalized in September, would effectively ban the sale of a significant portion of furnaces currently available to consumers.

The lawsuit

AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert expressed disappointment that the DOE ignored the group's comments and claimed that the regulations would push American families with natural gas heating into a difficult position.

She argued that when consumers need to replace their furnaces, they will face a choice between retrofitting for electric with increased utility bills or undergoing a costly and time-consuming renovation for a different type of natural gas furnace.

Harbert contended that the regulations would lead to increased costs with minimal environmental benefits for families and businesses.

The regulations

The DOE's finalized regulations, set to take effect in 2028, mandate that furnaces achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 95%.

This means manufacturers can only sell furnaces that convert at least 95% of fuel into heat within six years. The current market standard AFUE for a residential furnace is 80%.

The stringent AFUE requirements would largely remove non-condensing gas furnaces, which are generally less efficient but cheaper, from the market. AGA estimates that the regulations would eliminate up to 60% of current residential furnaces.

The impact

According to AGA, the regulations impact 55% of American households, leading to higher costs for 30% of senior households, 27% of small businesses, and 26% of low-income households.

DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended the regulations, asserting that they would result in more efficient appliances, lower costs, and reduced carbon emissions.

Granholm highlighted that, as directed by Congress, the DOE continues to review and finalize energy standards for household appliances, including residential furnaces, to benefit working families by reducing energy use and pollutants in homes.

The DOE claims that its past and planned appliance regulations will save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years.

The legal challenge shows that the Biden administration is continuing to oppose the American people who wish to be free from additional regulations under the current president as Biden seeks to rally support ahead of his reelection campaign next year.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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