Perhaps you’ve seen that one of the latest issues dividing politicos is the purported plan to ban gas stoves in the U.S. On one side of the fiery brouhaha are Republicans and conservatives in general who claim Joe Biden and his minions have said point blank, “We’re coming for your stove. Just give it up peacefully and nobody gets hurt.” On the other side of the skillet is the Administration and its admirers claiming, “You’ve got to be kidding. Nobody is going to come into your house and take away the appliance you cook on, gas powered or not.”
From what I read, something like one-third of U.S. households, which would equate to more than 40 million homes, cook with gas. That’s a lot of people who just might be a tad upset if suddenly they were relegated to cooking dinners over wood fires in the middle of the backyard.
As a comical aside, I once heard a radio Blooper from long ago where apparently a game show contestant was asked by the host what she did for a living. Her answer was something along the line of, “I work for the Pittsburgh Natural Gas Company. Over 90% of the people in Pittsburgh have gas.” I wonder if that show was sponsored by an antacid tablet manufacturer. Certainly would be a natural tie-in.
I’m pretty sure this latest gas stove uproar got a kickstart last December when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported it was considering some new gas stove performance standards. That included everything from requiring range hoods to ensure fewer emissions, or, in the most extreme case, to an outright ban. The ensuing explosive rhetoric was fueled by one of the CPSC commissioners reportedly saying that any kind of option was on the table.
It seems that at no time was there a requirement forcing people to replace their existing stoves. New regulations would only apply to new ones. But that kind of got lost in the translation.
Some reports say that there are those who feel as if gas stoves are part of climate change and indoor air pollution, and are even a cause of childhood asthma. West Virginian Senator Joe Manchin, however, had a decidedly different opinion on the matter. He was quoted as saying, “I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”
If I have the supposed facts straight, some say that when a gas stove or oven is activated, a bit of methane spills into the air. Methane is a major greenhouse gas No-No. And with the burner on, things such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide start polluting the kitchen. High accumulations of those chemicals can take their toll on folks who struggle with lung disease. Others claim more studies have repudiated these findings, thus leading to the continuing battle of the burner.
With the heat intensifying earlier this year, the Biden Administration quickly stepped in and said it wasn’t supporting any kind of ban. But some say that while a flat out verboten won’t happen, the federal government may instead regulate them out of business – like not allowing gas lines to be run into new construction.
One alternative to using the fossil fuel that America seems to have in abundance, is induction cooktop stoves. My vast research into this field suggests that the induction process uses electromagnetic fields to heat up the pot but not the cooktop itself. Don’t really know how that happens, but it purportedly is a safer, faster, and more energy-efficient way to cook. And supposedly better for indoor air quality as well.
Of course, there’s no telling where this latest Us vs. Them battle will end up. One article on the subject I happened upon made a pretty good point. In essence, it said that sometimes it’s not just one thing that causes people to get up in arms, but more like just one indignity too many. One regulation added to another and another will do that. There was mention made of the fact that incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past. And, in their words, “We also are forbidden to buy appliances like certain washer-dryers and items like toilets that actually work.” Now, I didn’t see any hard facts to back all that up, but the gist was, “Cool your jets, Feds.”
At my house, we don’t even have a gas stove, so I’ll leave the debate to those who do. However, I do think I should issue this warning to any federal regulator listening: Stay away from my granddaughter’s Easy Bake Oven. Come after that, and I assure you there WILL be trouble.
©MMXXIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer