The Biden administration is pushing forward with their aggressive energy policies by finalizing regulations that would restrict which gas-powered home furnaces consumers can purchase in the future.
Industry groups and experts warn the proposed regulations would severely limit consumer choice, drive prices higher, and have a minimal impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Energy regulations, proposed in June 2022, aims to raise the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of household furnaces to 95% within six years from the current market standard of 80%.
The move would effectively remove non-condensing gas furnaces from the market, as they are generally less efficient. Experts warn this could result in hefty installation costs for consumers that are forced to replace their current non-condensing furnaces.
"This is a classic example of one size not fitting all," Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News. "Every home is different, every homeowner is different and people are best off having a wide range of choices. They can work with their contractor to make the best decision for their home and their circumstances."
The American Gas Association, which provides natural gas to 74 million customers nationwide, filed comments in opposition of the proposed regulations with the DOE in late 2020. The industry group has argued that allowing the free market to naturally increase product efficiency would better serve consumers.
The restrictions on gas furnaces are part of Biden’s broader environmental agenda, which includes transitioning military vehicles to electric and bans on gas stoves. The so-called “Green New Deal” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a long-term goal to phase out the internal combustion engine.
However, critics of Biden’s green policies have also raised national security concerns, arguing the push towards alternative energy sources will hurt the US economy and leave the country dependent on foreign sources of energy.
Commenting on the proposed furnace regulations, one critic said the restrictions would likely ’only benefit the wealthy who can afford to pay for solar panels or Teslas.’
"We're the Saudi Arabia of coal, but let’s not be energy-independent and waste time and money on green alternatives that aren’t authentic," he said.
Overall, experts fear the proposed regulations could result in up to 60% of residential furnaces currently on the market being banned. It is expected that the Biden administration will finalize the rules in the coming weeks.