DeSantis trolls with 'tax-free gas stove' proposal — there's just one big problem with that

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a plan to protect the right to own a gas stove in his state, including a plan to exempt them from sales taxes, reported Fox News on Wednesday — and he made clear that he is staking this as a culture war fight against the Biden administration.

"I think it needs to be done, no tax permanently on gas stoves," he said in his address unveiling his budget proposal. "They want your gas stove, and we're not going to let that happen."

There's just one problem with that: very few Florida homes use gas stoves at all.

In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration, 92 percent of Florida households use electric or induction stoves — the highest percent of any state in America. In general, gas stoves and appliances are more common in states with older housing stock, like California, New York, and Illinois — nationwide, 68 percent of households use some form of electric stove.

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Not only that, many homes in Florida do not have natural gas utilities at all; fewer than 5 percent of homes in Florida use natural gas even for primary residential heating, compared to roughly 64 percent of homes in California and 34 percent of homes in Texas.

DeSantis even acknowledged this in his speech, saying he wants the tax exemption even if it won't be of any help to most Floridians because "it's just the principle."

Republican lawmakers and media erupted into a furor after a recent announcement by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that they would be investigating gas stoves, following studies that suggested indoor pollution from burning gas might be linked to childhood asthma, cancer, and a variety of other health problems.

An agency commissioner, Richard Trumka Jr., said of the investigation, "Products that can’t be made safe can be banned," sparking a firestorm of speculation the Biden administration might ban gas stoves altogether.

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CPSC chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric later clarified an outright ban of gas stoves is not on the table, and that the agency is instead considering "voluntary safety standards" to help manufacturers reduce their risk to consumers.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that another federal agency, the U.S. Energy Department, was considering new regulations for stoves.

Even before this controversy, DeSantis has championed laws favorable to the oil and gas industry over municipalities looking to move away from fossil fuels. In 2021, he signed legislation that bans city governments from restricting the types of energy utilities that operate in them — something several municipalities like Miami had been considering as a climate mitigation measure.