Lesko bill preserving use of gas stoves clears House with bipartisan support

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Save our Gas Stoves Act, legislation by Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko that would preempt a proposed Department of Energy regulation that would affect most gas stoves on the market. 

While the Department of Energy claims its proposed new standard would affect only high-end stoves favored by chefs, manufacturers estimate that it would impact approximately 96% of stoves, raising costs on consumers and inflating utility bills. 

“One hundred percent of the currently available free-standing gas stoves and 96 percent of gas cooktops will not meet the new standards proposed by the Biden Administration’s Department of Energy,” Lesko said last month following the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 31-18 passage of the bill. “This is unacceptable.” 

Environmental activists argue the rule would require an inexpensive alteration to high-end gas stoves, but the Department of Energy has not tested stoves for compliance, leading many to question how the Department came up with its estimate in the first place.  

Gas stove experts have concluded that many less sophisticated entry-level stoves will not be in compliance with the rule either, further raising costs on families and businesses. 

With such far-reaching effects, this rulemaking could limit the supply of affordable gas stoves, forcing consumers toward more expensive electric and induction stoves. 

Restaurants, which rely heavily on gas stoves, are particularly worried about the implementation of the rule. 

“This rule will drastically increase restaurants’ cost of doing business just as restaurants are beginning to return to profitability after nearly three years of stressed finances and unpredictable commodity prices,” wrote Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri and Southwest Gas Vice President of Sustainability and Public Policy Dr. Laura Nelson in a May letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Research by the National Restaurant Association finds that natural gas is the preferred cooking energy source in restaurants nationwide and that 76% of restaurants use natural gas. Ninety percent of restaurateurs say losing the ability to cook with an open flame would negatively affect the quality of the food they serve.  

Advocates for Lesko’s bill also argue that the rule would have little positive effect on conservation.  

The Department of Energy’s estimates show that the rule, if implemented, would only save consumers a paltry $21.89 over the lifetime of the product. 

Twenty nine Democrats crossed the aisle to support the bill, including Phoenix-area Rep. Greg Stanton. 

“I am proud that my Save Our Gas Stoves Act has passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support,” Lesko said. “I am grateful for my colleagues’ support on this critical legislation. The U.S. Senate should expeditiously take up and pass this bill to stop this blatant attack on consumer choice.”

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which in 2020 played a leading role in a coalition of business and consumer advocates that successfully advocated for legislation that prevented cities and counties from banning access to natural gas in buildings in areas where it is available, said it strongly supported the Lesko bill. 

“The Chamber has made clear that it believes in consumer energy choice,” Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “Natural gas is safe, reliable, and affordable, and we will continue to advocate for consumers to have access to it as part of the energy portfolio, whether we’re talking about major industrial users who depend on natural gas for their manufacturing operations, or whether it’s a home chef who simply enjoys making their favorite dishes using natural gas.”

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Joe Pitts

Joe Pitts is a born and bred Arizonan who formerly served as the program director at the Arizona Chamber Foundation. He graduated Arizona State University's Barrett, the Honors College in 2023 with a B.S. in Management and concurrent B.S. in Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

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