Consumer Coalition Petitions Department of Energy to Reconsider Washer Rule

Washington, DC, March 13, 2001 – Today a coalition of public policy and consumer groups announced its plans to file a petition this week urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to reconsider the agency’s new costly and intrusive regulations on washing machines. The regulations, which would limit the amount of energy that new washing machines could use, were approved under the previous administration and would be phased in over the next several years.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


“These rules are going to be a substantial burden to consumers. Even DOE admits that they are going to increase the cost of the average washing machine by $249 – that’s a 59% increase as a result of these energy restrictions,” said Ben Lieberman, policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Product choice and features may also suffer once these standards take effect.”


The efficiency rules for washers are part of a larger trend in recent years of runaway federal regulation of home appliances. Congress’ infamous “low-flush” toilet mandate from 1992 is perhaps the best known example, having been widely ridiculed as invasive and overreaching in editorial pages and newsrooms across the country. The clothes washer rules, enacted in the final weeks of the Clinton Administration, will likely be just as unpopular.


The prospect for reconsideration of the final washing machine rule was increased recently when Congress overturned the so-called “ergonomics rule” created by the Department of Labor in the last days of the previous administration. This petition offers DOE one last chance to review these standards before Congress possibly takes up the matter.


Groups supporting the petition for reconsideration of the rule include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Mercatus Center, Consumer Alert, the Independent Women’s Forum, and the Seniors Coalition.



CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact the media relations department at [email protected] or 202-331-1010.