Photograph by Diana Lundin/Shutterstock
There is no obvious environmental choice between gas and electric. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and electricity usually comes from coal-burning power plants—neither of which is particularly green. Of course, if you get your electricity from wind or another clean power source, the environmental impact is far lower.
In general, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that electric ovens and stoves cost more than twice as much to operate as gas. (Gas ovens with a standing pilot light save less money because they burn more energy, but the costs are still less than electric.)
Ovens are a terribly inefficient cooking method. The oven walls absorb most of the heat that’s produced, and the extra heat overheats your kitchen. DOE estimates that as little as six percent of this energy actually goes to cooking your food. That’s for a gas oven—with electric, it’s about 12 percent.
Even when taking into consideration the energy lost in burning gas, or the cost of generating and transmitting electricity, the net efficiency of each is almost exactly the same.
Self-cleaning ovens have an environmental edge. Although self-cleaning jacks the oven up to about 850 degrees, using a tremendous amount of energy, ovens with that function are better sealed and have better insulation. That insulation helps conserve energy when you cook, too.
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