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Opinion
Justin Fox

Where Have People Gone All-Electric? Not the Places You’d Expect

Homes free of fossil fuels are most common in Southern red states; natural gas dependence is greatest in big blue states. 

Blue states are dependent on the blue flames.

Blue states are dependent on the blue flames.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Dozens of local governments on both coasts have banned natural gas hookups in new residential and commercial construction. In response, by the most-recent count of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Gas Ban Monitor, 20 state legislatures in the middle of the country have banned local authorities from banning natural gas hookups. At first glance it looks like another red-state, blue-state exercise in polarization and posturing that’s bound to end badly.

There is, however, an encouraging twist. The goal of those pushing for gas-hookup bans is to shift all home energy use to electricity, with the idea being that as power keeps getting greener (as of 2021 about 38% of U.S. electricity generation was from non-carbon-dioxide-emitting sources, up from 30% a decade earlier) this will put a dent in global warming. And where is one most likely to find an all-electric home in the U.S. now? In Florida, where 77% of all occupied housing units used only electricity for cooking and space and water heating in 2020 and where Gov. Ron DeSantis and the legislature outlawed bans on gas-hookups last year.