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Natural Gas: To Ban or Not to Ban?

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Sustainability

Natural Gas: To Ban or Not to Ban?


June 2, 2021
Natural gas flame on stove
Photo: Kristina Blokhin | stock.adobe.com

States and cities are in a battle about whether natural gas should be banned in new homes and buildings. Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, and Louisiana have all enacted or proposed legislation to block such bans after San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New York have all taken action toward phasing out natural gas. The reasoning for blocking the ban of gas is that they are “overly restrictive and costly,” reports the Wall Street Journal. Those in support of barring natural gas say it’s to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for which homes and businesses account for 13%.

Climate activists say reducing that percentage is critical for states with goals to slash carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Opponents in the gas industry counter by citing the higher costs of making many homes fully electric, and pointing to the added security of having a second home energy source to heat and cook with during extreme weather events. They also highlight the preference many home and professional chefs have for using gas-fired stoves.

New all-electric homes are cost-competitive with those that use gas in many parts of the country, but retrofits can be considerably more expensive, depending on the existing heating and cooking systems and the cost of effectively converting them. A recent study by San Francisco found that retrofitting all housing units that now use natural gas would cost between $3.4 billion and $5.9 billion, costs that would fall on residents, the city or both.

Induction ranges, which use magnets to heat pots and pans directly, can be more expensive to buy than gas ranges, especially in professional kitchens. Restaurant associations across the nation have raised concerns about going electric.

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