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Study: Subsidize Gas Appliance Use

Burning more natural gas directly -- for heating, cooking and clothes drying, for instance -- would cut energy consumption and costs and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions nationwide, according to a report by the Gas Technology Institute

The study, "Validation of Direct Natural Gas Use to Reduce CO2 Emissions," found that when a subsidy, such as a rebate or a tax credit, is put in place to encourage the use of gas appliances, significant savings in energy costs, CO2 emissions, energy use and electricity use can be achieved, the American Gas Association (AGA) said in promoting the study findings.

"Natural gas is the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels, and its delivery from the source of production to the site of end use is extremely efficient and environmentally friendly," said AGA CEO David Parker. "This study affirms that subsidies that incentivize consumers to use natural gas directly in their homes and businesses result in major cost savings, while lowering carbon output."

When compared to the Energy Information Administration's 2008 Annual Energy Outlook, AGA's estimated subsidies would provide by 2030:

The benefits derived from subsidies to increase the direct use of natural gas by 2030 significantly exceed comparable subsidies to electric end-use technologies, according to the study.

"A direct natural gas use subsidy has significantly lower gross cost to reduce a metric ton (tonne) of CO2 than an electric end use equipment subsidy or a building insulation retrofit subsidy," the report said. However, achieving savings is more difficult in the case of retrofits than in the case of new construction, it concedes.

"The high installed cost of retrofit of gas technologies (especially for electric homes and multifamily dwellings) compared to new construction as well as variability of retrofit costs complicates economics and incentive strategies," the report said. "It will be critical to focus on the most attractive regions and market segments to minimize the net cost per tonne in retrofit markets."

The report is available at

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