"All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

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"All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby cmsellers » Thu May 14, 2020 6:58 am

This Vox article really pisses me off. In the age of Trump, it's nice to have a reminder now-and-then of how odious liberal paternalism is.

It starts out pretty reasonable. OK, gas stoves generate more air pollutants. Good to know, so we can take steps to avoid it

Then it mentions something I wasn't familiar with: the "all-electric" movement to ban gas appliances, which had its first victory in the People's Republic of Berkeley, banning gas hookups in new developments.

The Vox article suggests that opposition to this has been astroturfing propaganda, which, it's plausible it has been so far, given that—as the NYTimes article it linked notes (archive)—it's caught those of us who aren't on the bleeding edge of lefty causes completely off-guard. But that doesn't mean only greedy gas companies have a reason to oppose electrification.

Indeed, the Vox article goes to great pains to ignore all the reasons people prefer gas stoves before concluding with this gem:

Vox wrote:Everyone should ensure that the area where they cook is well-ventilated, especially in these cooped-up days of coronavirus lockdown, with children at home all day. But for the individual homeowner, as for society at large, managing harmful pollution eventually starts to seem a little silly when equally effective, affordable, and pollution-free alternatives are available. It’s time to start making new buildings all-electric and switching out all those existing gas appliances, including gas stoves, for electric alternatives.

So seriously, go vox yourself, David Roberts! As far as I know, there are no cases in which an electric appliance is as affordable as the equivalent gas appliance, and generally they're not equally effective or pollution-free either.

1. Electric stoves take much longer to heat up and do not heat as evenly with gas stoves. They are an absolute nightmare to cook with. Since Vox doesn't have a comments section, I searched reddit and found this thread, where basically everyone is saying the same damn thing, except one or two people who claim induction stoves are just as good. Color me skeptical.

2. I didn't know gas dryers were a thing before I came to Texas, but oh my god, they are so much faster than electric driers. I didn't realize you could dry a load of laundry in under an hour before using a gas dryer; some of my loads took barely half an hour. Now that I'm back in an all-electric apartment complex, with a dryer that takes an hour and a half and still sometimes needs another round, oh how I miss that gas dryer!

3. When you burn fossil fuels for electricity, you generate waste heat, which makes it extremely wasteful to then use that electricity to generate heat, at least when burning those same fossil fuels where the heat is needed is also an option. The Vox article notes that US power is no longer all coal. That's true, but if your electricity is mostly generated by natural gas, it's still more environmentally friendly to burn that gas directly for heat than to convert it to electricity first.

4. Point #3 also makes electric water heating, and electric central heating in cool climates, much more expensive than the gas (or heating oil alternatives). Which makes this another case of virtue-signaling rich liberal environmentalists screwing over the poor for questionably effective environmental gains.

5. Can I just note that this is why I support a carbon tax? Even in the event that we moved to mostly non-fossil-fuel sources (and that ain't happening unless lefty pols have a change of heart on nuclear), I would happily pay three times as much to use a gas stove over electric. But, alas, liberal crusaders like regulations even more than they like taxes, and combining a tax admitting global warming is real is basically a conservative nightmare.

Jesus, if it weren't for Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and all of the other voting-rights-hating, budget-ballooning, Gilead-cosplaying cop fetishists who make up the party at this point, this fucking "all-electric" movement might be enough to turn me Republican.
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby NathanLoiselle » Thu May 14, 2020 9:30 am

TL;DR - Electric good? Gas is smelly?
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby cmsellers » Thu May 14, 2020 4:54 pm

You know that you have to ignite a gas stove to cook with it, right, Nathan?

Seriously, I find that electric stoves, at least the newer kind, smell more than gas stoves to me. (The old kind with exposed coils don't have this problem but suck even worse to cook with.) Which is actually another thing: newer electric stoves tend to be covered in some kind of plastic or glass or something that should theoretically be heat-safe, but based on the smells they produce when I cook with them, I kind of suspect we'll be seeing exposes on the poisons they release after gas stoves are safely a thing of the past.
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby JamishT » Fri May 15, 2020 3:34 am

I have lived at my current house for about 3 years, and I am consistently annoyed by the electric range we have which has those annoying exposed coils.
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby iMURDAu » Thu May 21, 2020 12:23 am

We've got a newer stove with the glass covering the electric coils and we've never noticed a smell. Were you not using stainless steel?

I'm in the all electric camp for a few reasons. And I grew up in a house that was hooked up to natural gas.

Gas in our experience was way more expensive that electric. I've read that gas is cheaper. That was not true for us. Not even close. Maybe we were renting a place with inefficient equipment but winter was when we would go down to a lower rung of poverty.

Remember those news stories about the neighborhood that had to be evacuated because a house exploded like a bomb and those people died due to it being powered by electricity? Me neither. And don't go blaming electrical fires on the oven, we all know the dryer is always guilty.

Related to the above point, I always hated getting home from school and having to fling open the windows and light the pilot light and deal with waiting for the smell to dissipate. It wasn't often but why should we as a species have to hope a fucking flame stays lit?

How easy it is to just leave that off the list of things you're already worried about on a daily basis?
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby cmsellers » Thu May 21, 2020 5:43 am

@MURDA

1. I mainly use cast iron. If you're only supposed to use stainless steel on electric stoves (and I've never heard that), that's another reason to hate them.

2. It costs far more per capita to heat living Northern states in the winter than the cool Southern states in summer. I know my mother always spent more on heating oil in the winter than on all our electric bills in the summer. There's two main reasons for this, neither of which has anything to do with the cost of fuel vs electricity.

Firstly, directly generating heat is far more costly than moving heat around, meaning that it costs more to generate heat through conventional means than to air condition the same amount of air by the same amount. Secondly in places that get really cold in the winter, it generally gets further below comfortable temperatures in winter than it gets above above them in summer, especially when you take shade into account, which is one of the reasons such places don't just use heat pumps. (I have no excuse for why Texas doesn't use heat pumps, which would honestly make even more sense than gas heating here.)

Now, I know that heating fuel prices go up in the winter at least in the Northeast more than electric prices do, and I won't say that it's completely beyond the realm of possibility that in some places, fuel for heat might conceivably be more expensive per BTU than electricity in the dead of winter. But based on what you said, that doesn't sound like the reason your family paid so much for winter heat.

Moreover, I can say this: whatever the relative costs, wherever you are, the more people who transition from fuel for heating to electricity for heating, the more expensive electricity will be in the winter. If everyone in the Northeast went electric, you'd see something like summer in Texas, where the price per kWh more than doubles because of AC, only likely worse.

3. I don't know about the relative death rates or property damage rates from electricity and gas, though I do know that gas is riskier with irresponsible people, hence why rental properties (generally assumed to have a higher portion of irresponsible people) favor all electric appliances. What I can say is that I burn my food far more often using electric stoves. All things being equal, this tends to produce more smoke alarms, to the point that I disabled my smoke alarm in the last apartment where I had an electric stove. I'm sure was great for fire safety, but I decided my sanity was more important. (In my current apartment I've gone three months without using the stove, in part because it's electric, in part because the fan is broken and I haven't gotten it fixed because of the 'rona.)

4. At my second apartment in Austin, which had gas appliances, I also had issues with the pilot light going out and me having to turn the damn thing on every time I used it. Turns out there's a part that needs to be replaced in the water heater every 10 years (about half the life of the water heater itself). I know that now, and I'd much rather deal with replacing part of the water heater every ten years (and a week or so of restarting the pilot light), than electric dryers and stoves the rest of the time.

5. It's fine that you prefer all-electric. That's your choice to make. My problem here is that the all-electric movement wants to take that choice away from me. (Or they do where it exists, which is rare for rental properties, and in Houston you can't find it in a rental property for any price, but I hope to be a homeowner soon.)
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby JamishT » Thu May 21, 2020 3:25 pm

If the power goes out, you can still cook on a gas range!

Also, I have never heard that electric stoves are supposed to have non-cast iron used on them, and I use cast iron a lot.

Also also, I have gotten my eyebrows burnt off (for the second time) by a gas heater I was unfamiliar with. Still prefer gas.

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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby Krashlia » Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:04 pm

Thats the final and only gas based appliance we're keeping, then. Personal cooking doesn't contribute much to carbon emissions anyways.
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Re: "All-Electric" movement wants to ban natural gas

Postby cmsellers » Fri Jul 02, 2021 10:36 pm

You'd think, but just the other day someone shared a screenshot from some editorial by some lefty wanting to ban outdoor cooking. Presumably this includes wood and charcoal, which as renewable resources require the taking of carbon out of the air before you can put it back in. Now, this is only one person so far, but if the hard greens are pushing electrification based on the grid they want to have, not the grid they have, I'm not sure I expect them to understand how the carbon cycle works, and I'm certain that they'll push to ban gas grills when they feel they can get away with it.
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