Months after Biden teased a ban on gas stoves, his administration is working to enact a rule prohibiting manufacturing nearly all portable gas generators.
Portable Gas Generators All Of A Sudden “Unsafe”
A proposed Consumer Product Safety Commission rule limits the amount of carbon monoxide a product can emit, with the commission admitting that 95 percent of portable gas generators on the market cannot comply with its new standard.
As a result, the rule will prompt widespread generator shortages, as manufacturers only have six months to design generators that meet the proposed regulation, which typically takes years, Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA) executive director Susan Orenga said.
The rule proposal comes just months after Biden-backed commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. teased a similar regulatory ban on gas stoves, which he called a “hidden hazard.”
U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), announced that they had secured a bipartisan amendment to prevent the Biden administration from banning gas stoves in households across America in the Fiscal Year 2024 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) funding bill.
Impact on Industry and Consumer Access
Portable gas generators can help those who experience a power outage keep the lights on, and nearly five million households use them.
However, the generators could become challenging if the Biden administration finalizes its rule. The commission’s rule prohibits manufacturers from stockpiling non-compliant generators before the rule’s enactment.
Beyond the Consumer Product Safety Commission, President Joe Biden’s Energy Department has unveiled a slew of environmental regulations.
The department says its proposed gas stove rule, for example, would effectively ban half of all models on the U.S. market from being sold.
The department has also proposed or finalized energy efficiency rules targeting washing machines, refrigerators, and lightbulbs. “Collectively,” the department said in February, “these energy actions … support President Biden’s ambitious clean energy agenda to combat the climate crisis.”
The Energy Shift and Power Outage Risks
Still, the Biden administration wants more stringent carbon monoxide emission caps from Underwriters Laboratories, an international product safety company. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says its rule is “necessary” due to low compliance with voluntary standards in the gas generator market. They estimate just 30 percent of models comply with the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association standard.
However, the association says roughly 75 percent of the market complies with its standards.
Only one manufacturer, Techtronic Industries, certifies its products to a level that would mainly satisfy the commission’s proposed rule. But none of its models appear on best-seller and top-rated lists from Electric Generators Direct, Popular Mechanics, or Forbes.
Meanwhile, only a few of the company’s models are strong enough to power a home during an outage, and most models are more expensive than competitors.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says its standards will stop carbon monoxide deaths from portable generators.
However, commission press secretary Patty Davis could only point to one fatal incident involving a model that complies with the PGMA standard.
But that incident, which killed three people in Louisiana in 2021, was likely caused by user error. They placed the generator next to the house with the exhaust port directly in front of the door, which contradicts generator guidelines.
The public comment period for the proposed generator rule ended June 20, and the commission will now draft its final version, which will go into effect 180 days after its approval.
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