Biden's Energy Department unveils new energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dryers

 March 1, 2024

President Joe Biden's administration has once again, in the name of climate change, unveiled new energy efficiency regulations targeting common household appliances, this time involving residential clothes washers and dryers, Fox News reported.

The finalized new rules on efficiency standards intended to reduce carbon emissions and save consumers money on their energy bills was ostensibly the result of a compromise agreement based on feedback from environmental groups, industry associations, and consumer advocates.

Some critics argue that the new regulations are, yet again, another example of unnecessary overreach by the federal government that will result in fewer choices and higher prices for the average American consumer.

Biden DOE's new efficiency standards for clothes washers and dryers

On Thursday, the Department of Energy announced two newly finalized rules regulating the energy efficiency of residential clothes washers and dryers that will supposedly "significantly" reduce "energy waste and carbon pollution" while collectively saving American families up to $2.2 billion annually on their energy bills.

Industry compliance for the regulations begins March 1, 2028, for both regulations that, over the next 30 years, will reportedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 71 metric tons and collectively save consumers up to $39 billion on their utility bills.

The new standards for washing machines will purportedly reduce energy use by 3% over 30 years, or about 0.7 quadrillion BTUs, compared to currently available products, and save upwards of $18 billion on utility bills. For dryers, the energy savings are estimated at 11%, or 2.7 quadrillion BTUs, over 30 years plus utility bills savings of $21 billion.

"For decades, DOE’s appliance standards actions for clothes washers and dryers have provided loads of savings for American families while also decreasing harmful carbon emissions," Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. "With strong support from industry leaders and consumer advocates, DOE will continue to roll out innovative appliance solutions throughout 2024 to lower costs for the American people -- continuing the cycle of household savings that are the backbone of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda."

How much input from consumers was actually considered?

Fox News reported that the energy efficiency standards in these newly finalized rules are not quite as strict as what had first been proposed last year, with this scaled-back version reportedly the result of a compromise agreement reached in September between the DOE with environmentalist groups and industry associations.

Not everybody is pleased, however, such as Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Ben Lieberman, who told the outlet, "What we're learning is that the government ought to get out of the business of doing these regulations, and not try to just float really extreme ones and then come up with something that's less extreme."

"The main concern with these negotiated rulemakings is that it mostly involves the manufacturers and the energy efficiency activists. One wonders how much the interests of consumers are taken into account during this process," he added.

"Another day, another regulation"

The Daily Caller reported that the DOE's new rules were also critiqued by O.H. Skinner, the executive director of the Alliance for Consumers, who said, "Another day, another regulation from the Biden administration to remove products from the shelves and limit what people can buy in the name of their ideological goals."

"At this point, consumers have gotten the message: if it moves or has a motor and it is in your house, Biden would like it to cost more and probably be less effective," he added. "Their primary rationale is that it will cost you less in the electricity bill, but don’t worry, in places like California, politicians are busy trying to drive up electricity bills, too."

The outlet noted that in addition to these new rules for clothes washers and dryers, President Biden's DOE has also imposed stricter energy efficiency standards for other common household appliances like dishwashers, furnaces, pool pump motors, and water heaters, which, as noted, tend to reduce options and drive up product costs for consumers.

Meanwhile, and despite claims to the contrary amid furious pushback from politicians and consumers, the Biden administration is also helping states and local municipalities enact new building codes and regulations that serve to phase out the use of natural gas in favor of electricity for common household appliances like stoves, furnaces, and water heaters.

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