In the not-so-distant past, it seemed like mere speculation from the right that Democrats would move towards banning gas-powered appliances. That reminiscence carries an air of nostalgia, particularly for my trusty gas furnace.
The shift from assurances that “no one will take away your gas appliances” to the recent invocation of “wartime powers” by President Biden to fund electric heaters while tightening regulations on gas appliances feels like a jarring pivot. It raises eyebrows when millions of taxpayer dollars, around $169 million, are being allocated to bolster the production of electric heat pumps, ostensibly under the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950, originally intended to fortify the production of wartime essentials.
The administration’s choice to utilize the DPA for heat pumps appears akin to dressing flimsy excuses in Victoria’s Secret lace camisoles – an apparent stretch of the Act’s intended purpose. The announcement, strategically unveiled during the Friday news cycle, adds to the opacity surrounding the decision. Moreover, funding stemming from a presidential discretionary fund tied to the trillion-dollar Inflation Reduction Act has been criticized as “shameful corporate welfare” by analysts.
Rather than channeling the DPA towards essential defense materials, the Biden administration has recurrently wielded it to advance their green agenda. Last year, the Act was used to suspend tariffs on Chinese solar panels, dubbing it “bold executive action,” while Uyghur forced labor toiled to produce said panels.
Biden’s regulations set for 2028 necessitate new gas furnaces to operate at 95% efficiency, rendering traditional non-condensing furnaces obsolete. Consequently, homeowners facing furnace replacements will be forced to install pricier condensing furnaces or adopt heat pump systems, an endeavor that comes with hefty costs.
The impending shift to heat pumps may require supplemental oil heaters, particularly in extremely cold climates where heat pumps are less efficient. The transition to a heat pump or a specialized cold weather version of it translates to additional expenses, leading to legitimate skepticism regarding Democrats’ claims of “improving efficiency.”