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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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Who’s Next to Ban Gas?


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Research profiles counties that have enacted or proposed bans on natural gas hookups

Live in a well-educated, middle- or upper-class community that voted for Biden? Then yours might be the next to ban natural gas hookups in new or significantly renovated homes. That’s the key finding of a report by public policy and economics consulting firm Keybridge.

Oil & Energy received a copy of the report, “Economic and Political Characteristics of Counties that Have Enacted or Proposed Gas Bans: Which Counties Might Be Next?” prepared for the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers; Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association; National Propane Gas Association; and Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.

According to the report, there are 45 counties in the U.S. with jurisdictions that have either enacted or proposed gas bans. Thirteen of those 45 counties are in the Northeast region: New Haven County, Connecticut; Cumberland County, Maine; Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk County, Massachusetts; Hillsborough County, New Hampshire; Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, and Tompkins County, New York; and Chittenden County, Vermont.

All but three of the 17 counties with enacted bans voted more than 60% Democratic in the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, all 17 have median incomes greater than $68,000, and more than 33% of their residents age 25 and up hold bachelor’s degrees. Of the 28 counties with proposed gas bans, all but three voted more than 53% Democratic in the presidential election and all but five have a median income greater than $59,000. In all but two of these 28 counties, more than 30% of residents age 25 and up hold bachelor’s degrees.

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Based on these findings, researchers compiled a “Warning List,” including Tier 1 counties that share all three of the documented political and economic characteristics of those counties that have enacted gas bans and Tier 2 counties that voted at least 60% Democratic in the 2016 presidential election and share one of the other characteristics. There are 21 counties in Warning List Tier 1, including the following seven in the Northeast: Hudson, Mercer, and Union County, New Jersey; Westchester County, New York; and Dukes, Hampshire, and Nantucket County, Massachusetts. There are 34 counties in Warning List Tier 2, including the following five in the Northeast: Camden and Essex County, New Jersey; Berkshire and Franklin County, Massachusetts; and Windham County, Vermont.

Researchers also created a “Watch List,” including Tier 3 counties that share all three of the documented political and economic characteristics of those counties that have proposed gas bans and Tier 4 counties that voted at least 53% Democratic in the 2016 presidential election and share one of the other characteristics. Notably, almost half (21) of the 46 counties in Watch List Tier 3 are in the Northeast: Bergen, Burlington, Middlesex, and Somerset County, New Jersey; Allegheny, Delaware, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Fairfield and Hartford County, Connecticut; Albany, Monroe, and Onondaga County, New York; Barnstable and Essex County, Massachusetts; Grafton County, New Hampshire; Addison, Lamoille, Washington, and Windsor County, Vermont; and Bristol and Newport County, Rhode Island. Just three of the 33 counties in Tier 4 are in the Northeast: Passaic County, New Jersey; Knox County, Maine; and Bennington County, Vermont.


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