In the latest attempt to combat the global climate crisis, the Biden administration has proposed new efficiency standards for washing machines.
The Department of Energy’s proposed rule requires new appliances to use significantly less water, leading industry corporations to voice their opinion on the rule, claiming the mandates force manufacturers to reduce cleaning performance to ensure their machines comply.
As manufacturers argue, “each cycle will take longer, the detergent will cost more, and in the end, the clothes will be less clean.” This proposal is yet another example of the Biden administration pushing more consumer regulations to advance green initiatives.
In February, the administration faced backlash for a leaked proposal that would have banned half of America’s gas stoves and heavily regulated refrigerators. The proposed washing machine change is just another way that the Biden administration is trying to come for your gas stove.
According to James Coleman, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, “the government claims that although these standards will raise the cost of appliances, they are justified because they will reduce consumer spending on energy and water even more.
Of course, if that were true, consumers would likely buy more efficient appliances anyway, given that studies show consumers consider energy and water costs. If consumers do fully consider what they will pay on energy in their individual circumstances, then the standards would, on-net, harm consumers.”
While the Department of Energy argues that this proposal builds on over 110 actions taken by the Biden-Harris administration to strengthen energy efficiency standards and save the average family at least $100 annually through lower energy bills, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers argues that the Energy Department’s washing machine regulations “would have a disproportionate, negative impact on low-income households” by eliminating cheaper appliances from the market.
The Energy Department estimates that manufacturers will incur nearly $700 million in conversion costs to transition to the new machines. Skepticism is warranted because past regulations have often been found to reduce performance, and the proposed regulation could lead to negative consequences for consumers.