March 23, 2015

Dishwasher Regulations Will Soak Consumers

James Broughel

Senior Research Fellow

Robert Michaels

Summary

Protecting the environment is a priority for many Americans, and the U.S. Department of Energy applies numerous standards intended to reduce energy use and its environmental impacts, while hopefully also saving Americans money on monthly utility bills. Unfortunately, a recent regulatory proposal suggests that energy efficiency policies fail to deliver many of these promised benefits.

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Protecting the environment is a priority for many Americans, and the U.S. Department of Energy applies numerous standards intended to reduce energy use and its environmental impacts, while hopefully also saving Americans money on monthly utility bills. Unfortunately, a recent regulatory proposal suggests that energy efficiency policies fail to deliver many of these promised benefits.

As it has done for other home appliances, DOE intends to limit energy and water consumed by dishwashers. The department intends to act in the public interest, but its own analysis shows that the rule’s environmental benefits fall well short of its costs. Additionally, rather than delivering general benefits, the rule will make many consumers worse off. In fact, the rule will hit low-income households and seniors especially hard despite legal requirements that DOE consider potentially disadvantaged subsets of the public.

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