warm thoughts


Written on: October 8, 2023

From the National Propane Gas Association Bobtail

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued the “pre-publication” version of its final consumer furnace rulemaking. NPGA – along with natural gas coalition partners – submitted four separate and extensive comments on this proposal in 2022. The 575-page rule would be effective in late 2028 and eliminate non-condensing gas furnaces. The rule will remain in “pre-publication” until at least November 13th, after which NPGA will be able to respond.

NPGA has been tracking this rulemaking diligently and is disappointed in the DOE’s action. It would directly harm consumers by forcing costly retrofits or fuel switching, thus disproportionately impacting socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.

NPGA has geared up its regulatory, legal, lobbying, engineering, and economic experts, as well as cemented a response coalition. Rest assured, combatting any and all anti-gas furnace rules is NPGA’s number 1 priority.

On the Congressional front, NPGA has already worked with Representatives Fallon (TX) and Fischbach (MN) to introduce an amendment to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Water bill that would “prohibit any funding to be used to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed rule.” The amendment is Number 35 on Page 8. NPGA will push for traction on this amendment across the halls of Congress.

Some highlights of note on the Final Rulemaking include:

The Final Rule establishes an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of 95 nationwide, which a non-condensing furnace cannot achieve.
The DOE acknowledges that 58.4% of current furnace shipments do not meet the standard established in the Final Rule.
The DOE acknowledges that 18.7% of consumers would experience a net added cost for a new furnace as a result of the new standards, and the real cost of installing a new non-condensing furnace could be as high as $6,336.
In the Final Rule, the DOE chose not to modify their emissions analysis to distinguish between natural gas and propane emissions, despite receiving a comment highlighting that propane emits lower carbon dioxide levels compared to natural gas.
The DOE considered regionalizing the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, consistent with the regional requirements on furnaces from ENERGY STAR, but chose a nationwide standard despite different product designs for different regions and heating needs.
NPGA is evaluating strategy for the propane industry, alongside other impacted industries, and will be active in response following the publication of the Final Rule.

For questions, please feel free to contact:

Steve Kaminski, NPGA President & CEO: SKaminski@npga.org
Ben Nussdorf, NPGA VP of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel: BNussdorf@npga.org
Michael Baker, NPGA VP of Legislative Affairs: MBaker@npga.org