Gas stoves are an improvement over the wood-burning ones that dominated cooking a century ago, but they are not without drawbacks. Scientists have identified specific compounds emitted from gas stoves, such as benzene and nitrogen oxides, that are linked to asthma in children and adults. Other chemicals emitted from stoves include carbon dioxide and methane, which negatively impact the environment, experts say.
In an effort to mitigate these health and environmental concerns, federal officials have proposed means-based financial incentives to encourage homeowners to swap out gas stoves for electric ones. This includes offering full rebates ($840) for low-income households to transition to cleaner electric stoves and partial rebates ($420) for middle-income households. These rebates were part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Meanwhile, government and outside experts are also reminding homeowners that, with proper precautions, the risks can be minimized for those who still choose to cook with gas.
Today’s Homeowner analyzed data on household gas and electric cooking appliances in each state to determine the impact of the proposed policy solutions. Our analysis shows the incentives could cost over $18 billion if all eligible households receive the rebates, despite Congress having only allocated $4.5 billion, less than a quarter of the potential overall cost. In other words, if you’ve been considering upgrading to an electric stove, it might be best to get out and purchase one while these rebates last.
- We calculate the total cost of the rebate program could reach as high as $18.6 billion, if all eligible households take advantage of the incentives.
- Seven in 10 California households have gas stoves, the most of any state.
- Other states where more than 60% of homes use gas stoves include New Jersey, Illinois, New York, D.C., and Nevada.
- Florida, Maine, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Vermont have the smallest shares of household gas stoves, with only 12% or less of home stoves powered by gas.
- Homeowners in California, New York, Texas, and Illinois stand to gain the most cash back in the form of full rebates, ranging from $1 billion to $2.5 billion in each state. These are among the most populous states in the country, and have some of the biggest shares of gas stoves in operation.
- On the other hand, homeowners in Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hawaii will be eligible for the least amount in full rebates. We expect these states to max out at $12.5 million in full rebates per state.
Which Gas Stove Owners Are Eligible for Rebates?
Gas stoves emit various harmful chemicals, experts say, and require proper ventilation while the stove is on. Even after turning off the stove, researchers have found that stoves can continue to leak unburned methane, which is a particularly harmful chemical.
According to the UN Environment Programme, “methane is the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas, exposure to which causes 1 million premature deaths every year. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas… that is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.”
However, because gas stoves are still widely popular, especially in commercial settings, there is currently no plan to forcibly unplug or confiscate gas stoves. Last summer, the government enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, a raft of economic and environmental laws that included rebates for households that switched from gas to electric stoves. Households making 80% or less of the local median household income (HHI) would be entitled to a rebate of $840 to purchase and install an electric stove.
In order to incentivize even more households to switch from gas stoves, a partial rebate was also proposed for homes with greater incomes. Households earning between 80% and 150% of median HHI would be eligible for half of the rebate. This would give them $420 toward buying and installing an electric stove.
When legislating this part of the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress allocated $4.5 billion to encourage Americans to swap out less energy-efficient and more dangerous appliances for more modern ones. While this is clearly a significant amount of money, it is less than one-quarter of what our analysis shows will be needed. However, our calculation assumes that everyone who is eligible for the rebate will apply for one and receive it, which is not guaranteed.
States With the Largest Share of Gas Stoves
There is tremendous variation in how popular gas stoves are in each state. On the high end, we have California, where seven in 10 households use gas instead of electric stoves, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This means that in the Golden State alone, there are almost 9.2 billion gas stoves.
Other states where a large share of homes use gas stoves include New Jersey (69%), Illinois (67%), D.C. and New York (62% each), and Nevada (60%).
On the other end of the spectrum are states such as Florida and Maine, where only 8% of homes use stoves run on gas. Hawaii and North Dakota each only use gas stoves in 11% of homes, while Vermont is slightly more at 12%.
Total Rebates Expected by State
Each state’s estimated total rebate will depend on its population as well as how much of the state falls within the < 80% of median household income (HHI) bracket, for full rebates, and the 80% to 150% of median HHI for partial rebates. Our source for household income data was the U.S. Census Bureau, which does not offer precise median HHI information, but instead provides the data in brackets. Those brackets did not correspond directly with the 80% HHI cutoff of the Inflation Reduction Act.
For that reason, we were unable to calculate precisely how much of a state or an area fell within the rebate policy’s cutoffs of 80% and 150%. Instead, we used calculations based on census brackets that ultimately underestimated the number of households that would be eligible. For example, to estimate the number of households eligible for the full refund, we only used households that earned up to 70% of median HHI.
It is likely that more precise data would yield a greater number of households eligible for full and partial rebates and greater financial totals for how much the federal government may owe. If we had government income data that was more in line with the law’s HHI thresholds, researchers would be able to offer a more comprehensive picture of who will be eligible for the rebates by including those who fall between 70% and 80% HHI.
However, because the assumptions we made were consistent across states, the map above still offers a useful comparison tool. Some of the most populous states, California, Texas, New York, and Illinois, each could see over $1 billion in rebates, assuming all eligible households apply for and receive the rebates.
What To Do If You’re Not Ready to Get Rid of Gas?
There are still plenty of people who enjoy cooking with gas, and who are willing to take the safety precautions necessary to mitigate its risks. For now, and for the foreseeable future, gas stoves will remain a part of kitchens throughout the country.
For those who do intend to keep using gas stoves, there are a number of precautions to take to minimize the risk to you and your family:
- Properly ventilate your kitchen and home while using your stove to dilute the concentration of harmful chemicals in the air.
- Use the exhaust hood every time you turn on your stove. Different exhaust systems work better than others – for example, one that blows the kitchen air outside is preferable to one that does not. If it does not blow air outside, you can open a window in the room and put a fan nearby to ensure fresh air flows in and pollutants go out.
- Use the stove less often. Something as simple as boiling water on the kettle can lead to the release of particulate matter. Consider using an electric kettle, microwave, or toaster oven. A plug-in portable induction burner is also an option.
- Consider purchasing a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Experts say this can reduce the level of nitrogen oxides and other harmful chemicals in the air, especially when placed near your kitchen.
In other words, the problems are not insurmountable. As we learn more about the issues around gas stoves, we are also learning about how to minimize some of the dangers. Up-to-date knowledge of the issues involved and proper precautions can allow you to continue cooking over your favorite appliance while reducing some of the associated health concerns.
To calculate the percent of gas stoves in each state, we used data from the Energy Information Administration on the shares of household gas and electric cooking appliances in each state. We then used those EIA percentages and multiplied them by Census data on the number of households to get total numbers of stoves per state. We used data from the Census Bureau to calculate the median household income in order to determine eligibility for full and partial refunds. Because the Census does not maintain precise income information, we used the Census bracket of up to $70,000 instead of the $80,000 stipulated by the rebate policy. In this sense, we underestimated the number and proportion of residents of each state that would actually be eligible for the federal rebates.