Sunday, April 14, 2024

After Gas Stoves, The Biden Administration is Aiming for Your Refrigerators and Washing Machines

A few weeks into his third year in office, President Joe Biden continues his push for stricter green energy policies — and his plans to micromanage the technological choices Americans make are coming out in the wash.

First it was the Biden administration’s plans revealed last year to ban the installation of new gas stoves and restrict the use of units currently in use, two ideas that literally blue up in the faces of administration officials, who had to backtrack their public comments about the gas stove limits.

Now the administration has proposed sweeping rules to boost energy efficiency standards for clothes washers and refrigerators that will supposedly save consumers money and reduce pollution significantly.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said the two proposed regulations, planned to be 2027, are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 233 million metric tons over the next 30 years. The agency said  the energy-efficiency standards would result in specific appliance models being removed from the market, but save an estimated $3.5 billion annually.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement that with her agency’s new standards, “we’re building on a decades-long effort with our industry partners to ensure tomorrow’s appliances work more efficiently and save Americans money.

“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 said.

The DOE announcement explained the clothes washers and refrigerators affected by the regulations currently represent 5 percent of annual residential energy use and 8 percent of residential electricity use nationwide.

The unveiled proposals for the two household appliances are the latest in a series of energy efficiency actions the Biden administration has pursued since taking office. The administration took more than 110 actions on appliances in 2022.

On his first day as 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. Soon after, the agency listed more than a dozen energy efficiency rules, impacting appliances like water heaters, cooking products and lamps, that it would review.

Energy experts, however, warn the Biden appliance regulations are unnecessary and that consumers are already able to freely purchase more efficient appliances.

Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview, “This is overregulation on steroids…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 suggested the new appliance regulations are 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, Lieberman explained,  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.”