LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Whether your gas stove is on or off, it's likely contributing to climate change.
A recent study out of Stanford shows that annual methane emissions from all gas stoves in U.S. homes have a climate impact comparable to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from 500,000 cars.
About three-quarters of the emissions happen when the stove is off.
Eric Lebel, one of the authors of the study, said methane is 86 times stronger of a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide over a 20-year time period.
"So that's why we're concerned about these really small amounts of methane leakage because it has that really drastic short term climate impact," Lebel said.
The authors measured the emissions by enclosing the area around the stoves in plastic, but weren't able to find out why the majority of the emissions occur while the stoves aren't in use because all the stoves they measured were in people's homes. To figure out where the emissions were coming from, they would have had to take apart the stoves.
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But, Lebel said they have their theories.
"It could be coming from somewhere inside the stove, for instance, while the gas is on but the stove is off, there could be something leaking in there. But it's up for future research to figure out exactly what's causing that," he said.
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