The Winner in Efficiency
The clear winner in the energy efficiency battle between gas and electric is gas. It takes about three times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to your stove. According to the California Energy Commission, a gas stove will cost you less than half as much to operate (provided that you have an electronic ignition--not a pilot light).
Although the government's Energy Star program, which rates home appliances for energy efficiency, doesn't rate ranges, buying a gas stove and then following our energy-saving tips (see sidebar) can help you spend less each year. The final figure on your annual energy bill will depend on how much time you spend cooking on your stove, but energy company MGE asserts that you can expect to pay an average of $2.34 per month to run a gas range without a pilot light (based on a gas rate of $1 per therm, or 100,000 BTU), compared to $5.94 per month to run an electric range (based on an electric rate of $.14 per kilowatt hour).
Gas Stoves Are Easy to Use, Too
Gas stoves may also be the clear winner when it comes to ease of use. Although electric stoves sometimes heat up more quickly than gas, cooks can control the level of heat more quickly and easily with a gas stove by turning the flame up or down. Also, electric stove burners tend to hold heat longer, so if you leave a pot on the stove it may keep cooking and eventually burn -- even if you've turned off the heat.
Gas and electric stoves may be relatively similar in price, but the energy efficiency of the typical gas stove will save consumers money in the long run. So, feel free to go wild in the kitchen as you go green!