Which Is Greener, Gas or Electric Stove?

Burning gas directly doesn’t seem green at all but in the case of “which is a greener?” a gas stove will almost always create less emissions than an electric stove.

The problem is that coal first needs to be burned to create heat that is then turned in electricity. This is generally done at around 30-60% efficiency so there is a lot of waste involved.

This is then converted back into heat on your stove, wasting energy again.

Which Is Greener, Gas or Electric Stove?

Comparing gas and electric side by side shows that gas produces 3.4 times less CO2 when compared to electric stoves.

Natural gas emits 117 lbs of CO2 to make 1 million BTUs of heat

Electric stoves emits 401.5 lbs of CO2 to make 1 million BTUs of heat

Thanks to TreeHugger for this info

Interestingly gas stoves are less efficient than electric stoves at the point of use. Only about 60% of a flame’s energy is heat.

It is estimated that regular electric coil stoves have about a 74-77% efficiency. Newer induction stoves are estimated to have about an 80-81% efficiency but this is debatable.

Regardless of this the loss in efficiency over the full scale of the electric cycle (from power plant to your house to your cooktop) means that electric stoves produce more greenhouse gas emissions than gas stoves.

The Exception To The Rule

The above result is based on the fact that your electricity is being generated by coal burning power stations.

If however you electricity is generated using emission free sources (eg. Solar, wind etc) then the opposite is true.

If your energy comes from clean renewable sources of electricity then an electric stove is going to win out 100% of the time.

It also has the added benefits of not emitting harmful chemicals into your house as you cook your food or boil your water. So it’s better for the environment as for your body and family.

4 thoughts on “Which Is Greener, Gas or Electric Stove?”

  1. I’m glad you added the part about having solar electricity, as I recently switched to solar. I’ve been anxious to get a much needed new cooking range and was planning on a gas stove, but after watching yet another sad documentary on Fracking, I decided against it. You just verified what I was thinking. Fracking and the environmental effects of all natural gas production must be taken into account as well. So sad to not be getting gas, but I try to walk the walk as much as possible. Thanks for the article!

  2. The solar-powered home’s “exception to the rule” is only a partial exception. If you pay for grid electricity, then it’s a sure bet that a large percentage of the electricity you consume results in significant emissions.

    Even in the best case scenario, where your solar powered home’s net grid power consumption is significantly negative, using your electric oven will result in less emission-free power being sent to the grid. In aggregate, that means more CO2 emissions.

  3. Thanks for paying attention to the amount of energy lost from the power plant to the electric stove. That’s such an important consideration that most analyses leave out.

    That said, I wonder, are induction stovetops more efficient than gas ones? Or do they run into the same problem of energy lost from the power plant to the source? I know they are supposed to heat far more rapidly than conventional electric or gas stoves, so does that make up for the loss of energy?

  4. As power providers switch to renewables, natural gas will always lose. That is the future. Many municipalities are banning natural gas in new construction. Solar power is cheaper than gas in many locations.

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