The Biden administration has unleashed a flurry of regulations this year targeting popular household appliances as part of its climate and conservation agenda and has paved the way for additional actions.
Over the last several months, the Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled standards to make various appliances, including gas stoves, ovens, clothes washers, refrigerators, air conditioners and dishwashers, more efficient, and experts have said this would worsen product quality and lead to higher prices.
“It’s just spreading to more and more appliances. It seems that almost everything that plugs in or fires up around the house is either subject to a pending regulation or soon will be,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“Consumers aren’t going to like any of it. These rules are almost always bad for consumers for the simple reason that they restrict consumer choice.
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“Anybody who wants to choose the more eco-friendly versions of appliances is always free to do so. But these rules force that choice on everyone, whether it makes sense for them or not,” Lieberman added. “Almost all of these appliance standards raise the upfront costs. It’s not clear that you’ll ever earn that back in the form of energy or water savings.”
According to the current federal Unified Agenda, a government-wide, semiannual list that highlights regulations agencies plan to propose or finalize within the next 12 months, the Biden administration is moving forward with rules impacting dozens more appliances, including consumer furnaces, pool pumps, battery chargers, ceiling fans and dehumidifiers.
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Under the DOE’s mission statement, the Unified Agenda highlights advancing “energy efficiency and conservation” as one of five central pillars. Broadly, Democrats and environmentalists have argued that electrification, banning natural gas hookups and implementing strict energy efficiency standards could help accelerate emissions reductions.
“This administration is using all of the tools at our disposal to save Americans money while promoting innovations that will reduce carbon pollution and combat the climate crisis,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said May 5 after unveiling rules cracking down on dishwashers, electric motors and beverage vending machines.
“With today’s announcements, DOE is making rapid progress to strengthen outdated energy efficiency standards — as directed by Congress and in coordination with our industry partners and stakeholders — and support healthier, safer communities for the American people.”
In December, Granholm touted that the administration had taken 110 actions on energy efficiency standards in 2022 alone. The energy secretary added that the regulations strengthened US leadership in “the race towards a clean energy future.”
In addition, the White House hosted an electrification summit that same month during which Granholm played a leading role. During the summit, administration officials and environmental advocates discussed ways to push electrification of buildings and transportation while decreasing economy-wide fossil fuel use.
“We’ve got to get these technologies in homes all across America, and we’ve got to do it as fast as possible,” White House clean energy czar John Podesta said during the summit.
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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.
“Their philosophy is energy efficiency at all costs or energy efficiency no matter the cost,” a former senior DOE official, who served during the Trump administration, previously told Fox News Digital. “That means we are going to see, as a result of their efficiency standards, higher-priced appliances. It’s that simple.
“The reality is that we are not talking about saving huge amounts of energy from these new regulations.”