The Biden administration proposed sweeping rules Friday to boost energy efficiency standards for clothes washers and refrigerators in an action it claimed would save consumers money and ‘significantly reduce pollution.’
The Department of Energy (DOE) said the two regulations, which would be implemented in 2027 if approved, are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 233 million metric tons over the next 30 years. The agency also estimated that the energy-efficiency standards taking certain appliance models off the market would save $3.5 billion on an annual basis.
‘With today’s proposals, we’re building on a decades-long effort with our industry partners to ensure tomorrow’s appliances work more efficiently and save Americans money,’ Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
‘Over the last forty years, at the direction of Congress, DOE has worked to promote innovation, improve consumers’ options, and raise efficiency standards for household appliances without sacrificing the reliability and performance that Americans have come to expect,’ she continued.
According to the announcement, the washers and refrigerators affected by the regulations currently represent 5% of annual residential energy use and 8% of residential electricity use nationwide.
The new standards proposed for the two household appliances are the latest in a series of energy efficiency actions the Biden administration has pursued since taking office two years ago. In 2022 alone, the administration took more than 110 actions on appliances.
On his first day in office in January 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring the Department of Energy to make ‘major revisions’ to current appliance regulation standards and standards set by the Trump administration. A month later, the agency listed more than a dozen energy efficiency rules, impacting appliances like water heaters, cooking products and lamps, that it would review.
Experts, though, have argued the appliance regulations are unnecessary and that consumers are already able to freely purchase more efficient appliances.
‘This is overregulation on steroids,’ Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview. ‘These are appliances that have already been subjected to multiple rounds of successively tighter standards.’
‘There is just not much there there anymore,’ he said. ‘There’s a great risk of doing more harm than good in the form of appliances — refrigerators or washers that cost more upfront than you’re ever likely to save in the form of less energy and water use.’
Lieberman added that such appliance regulations were part of the Biden administration’s ‘war on energy use.’
‘By using climate as a kind of finger on the scale in favor of tougher standards, I think that’s all the more reason to be suspicious that this is going to be a bad deal from a consumer standpoint,’ he continued.
‘Anybody who wants to buy ultra-efficient appliances is free to do so with or without these regulations. The regulations just make that the only game in town and usually at a higher cost that may or may not be earned back over the life of the appliance.’