Fossil fuel hookups in homes and buildings could stop under Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal
By Chloe Bennett
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body of scientific experts, released its latest report on Monday. Among its recommendations is a significant cut to greenhouse gas emissions, a call to action that has been repeated by the panel since its first reports in 1990 and 1992. That knowledge has inspired nations including India and organizations like the European Union to push for phasing fossil fuels out of their economies, while others are approaching the climate solution from a development perspective.
As part of New York state efforts to curb emissions, Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to phase out fossil fuel hookups in newly constructed buildings, triggering heated debates about the use of gas-powered stovetops. The proposal calls for standard electric or induction stoves to take the place of gas-powered stoves.
Many New Yorkers are not in favor of the idea. A Siena College Research Institute poll asked voters whether they supported the proposed gas ban and found that 53% of the 744 participants were against the legislation. According to the poll, 39% of the voters support the phase-out of gas-powered appliances.
Here are answers to some of the questions around this proposal.
There are both environmental and health concerns that come with indoor gas stoves. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollutants discharge from stove combustion, entering airways and the atmosphere.
Exposure to pollution can cause respiratory problems and symptoms like headaches, dizziness and nausea, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. Even while turned off the stoves can release methane, a 2022 study from Stanford University found.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that accounted for 9% of New York State’s emissions as of 2017 and is known to limit oxygen levels at high volumes.
As for the climate implications? Nonprofit research organization RMI reports that around one-tenth of the U.S.’s climate emissions come from residential fossil fuel burning. Gas stoves accounted for over 25 million tons of carbon pollution, an RMI analysis showed.
Hochul’s proposal applies to all fossil fuel-powered heating and cooking equipment and is part of the $227 billion state budget for 2024, along with Hochul’s 2023 agenda. The Legislature will hold hearings over the next few weeks and plan to pass a budget by April 1.
In short: It is unclear whether New York will stop fossil fuel hookups in newly constructed buildings by 2026.
As of 2020, around 68% of the country owns electric cooking appliances, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows. That number is lower in New York state, with 44% of homes owning electric appliances and the majority cooking with gas-powered appliances.
Under Hochul’s proposal, fossil fuel hookups would halt in small, newly constructed buildings starting Dec. 31, 2025, and in large buildings on Dec. 31, 2028.
A separate plan that could affect gas stoves comes from the state’s December 2022 Scoping Plan which was formed by the Climate Action Council. The plan recommends that fossil fuel-powered cars and appliances are no longer sold after 2035.
“Consumer and community decision-making is key, and especially important for the purchase of new passenger vehicles and heating systems for homes and businesses through the next decade,” the report reads.
Yes, but not in the near future. The proposal introduces a timeline for phasing out installations of new gas-powered heating appliances, not including stoves. According to Hochul’s State of the State book, the legislation proposes the following timeline:
Jan. 1, 2030: Prohibit installation of heating or hot water equipment, but not stoves, in any single-family home or apartment building of three stories or less.
Jan. 1, 2035: Prohibit installation of fossil fuel heating or hot water systems, but not stoves, in any commercial building or larger multifamily structure.
No. The proposal does not apply to existing gas hookups. If it takes effect, would apply to new buildings.
As of February 2023, the national average cost for a stove installation is between $500 and $1,000, according to consumer research company Fixr. For a gas cooktop, the price can cost between $300 and $1,500 while an electric stove averages between $300 and $1,000. Residents who want an induction stove pay a higher average between $1,000 and $2,500.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes $8.8 billion in rebates for home energy efficiency and electrification projects. Those who buy efficient heating equipment in 2023 can get back 30% of the product’s cost, up to $600. Homeowners are eligible for the rebate and renters can access the rebates if they purchase and install the appliance in their primary residence.
Rebates from the IRA apply to renewable energy products, heat pumps, windows, skylights, exterior doors, electric vehicle chargers and more.
To access the rebates, fill out IRS Form 5695 and save receipts from eligible purchases to include when filing taxes.