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Energy & Science

Americans’ Gas Stoves Are as Bad for Climate as 500,000 Cars

Stanford study could have big implications for the ‘War on Gas.’

Natural gas burns on a domestic kitchen stove.
Natural gas burns on a domestic kitchen stove.Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
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The gas-burning stoves loved by cooks leak so much methane across the U.S. — most when the appliances are not even in use — that they have the same impact on our atmosphere as half a million cars, according to a Stanford University study. 

Stanford researchers analyzed indoor levels of both heat-trapping methane and nitrogen oxides — pollutants that can trigger asthma and other breathing problems — and found surprising amounts of each seeping from stoves. The study, released Thursday, comes as communities nationwide debate whether to ban natural gas use in new buildings as part of the fight against climate change, and as the gas industry mobilizes to block such bans.