More Consumer Pushback: Biden’s Energy Rules Now Include Dishwashers

In a recent announcement, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm unveiled new efficiency regulations for dishwashers, beverage vending machines, and electric motors. This move is part of the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce power consumption and combat climate change. The proposed restrictions aim to decrease energy usage, which will ultimately result in cost savings for American consumers.

According to the analysis of the proposal released by Bloomberg Law, the new regulations would require dishwashers imported into the United States from 2027 onward to consume 27% less power and use 34% less water. Smaller, more compact models would need to implement a 22% power reduction and an 11% water use reduction. Although consumers may have to pay an additional $15 for a new dishwasher, they are expected to witness three times as much in energy savings over the appliance’s lifetime. The estimated annual savings on utility bills for households would amount to $168 million, as projected by the Energy Department.

Additionally, the regulations for electric motors, which are responsible for converting electrical energy into mechanical energy in manufacturing and process equipment, are expected to save businesses approximately $464 million annually. The rules for vending machines will result in annual savings of $20 million. With these efficiency crackdowns, the Energy Department has now introduced measures for a total of 16 product categories in 2023, all aimed at preserving reliability and performance across household appliances, as well as commercial and industrial equipment.

The Biden administration has been actively pursuing a “whole-of-government effort” to reduce carbon emissions, drafting similar regulations over the past couple of years. However, some of these initiatives have sparked controversy. For instance, when new emissions rules were introduced for natural gas stoves, officials faced criticism despite the fact that increased adoption of natural gas has contributed significantly to lower emissions in the United States.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. raised concerns over gas stoves, referring to them as a “hidden hazard” and suggesting the possibility of a nationwide ban. However, Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later clarified that neither he nor the agency had plans to outlaw gas stoves. Nonetheless, the state of New York recently approved legislation that will effectively ban the installation of gas stoves in new homes and buildings by 2026. Currently, approximately 38% of households nationwide use gas stoves for cooking, with higher figures, such as around 70%, in states like California and New Jersey, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.