Campaign Exposes Naked Truth About New Energy Efficient Washing Machines

Contact: Sam Kazman, 202-331-2265

Washington, D.C., May 16, 2007—The federal government’s new energy efficiency standards for washing machines have destroyed the ability of many top-loaders to get clothes clean, according to the latest issue of Consumer Reports. Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute is launching a new campaign, calling on Americans to protest this fiasco by sending their underwear to the Undersecretary of Energy.

CEI is launching its “Send Your Underwear to the Undersecretary” campaign through a video on YouTube and a new website, The honored official is U.S. Acting Undersecretary of Energy Dennis R. Spurgeon.

The culprit regulations were issued by the Clinton Administration Department of Energy in early 2001. They required a 35 percent reduction in washer energy use in two phases, with the last phase taking effect this past January.  DOE claimed cleaning ability would not be affected, despite evidence to the contrary

But when Consumer Reports tested the new models it found a much dingier situation.  In its words, “not so long ago you could count on most washers to get your clothes very clean. Not anymore.”  It reported that some of the top-loaders had “the lowest scores we’ve seen in years.”  To get a very good wash, it concluded, you now have to spend “$1000 or more.”  Despite these problems, a new Senate bill would raise efficiency standards even more, not only for washers but for a huge range of appliances.

“If more efficient appliances are so good, you don’t need laws to force consumers to buy them,” noted Sam Kazman, CEI’s general counsel.  “Those pushing for efficiency mandates may think this is a pure, unsullied cause, but for consumers it’s dirty politics, soiling our democracy and our laundry.”

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.