How Many Congressmen Does It Take to Screw the Light Bulb?

Washington, D.C., February 9, 2011—The federal government’s push to increase fuel efficiency is ruining the appliances we depend on. That’s the conclusion of “Energy Efficiency Madness: How Many Congressmen Does It Take to Screw the Light Bulb?,” an article in the new issue of Cigar Magazine by CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman.

• Showerheads: Federally mandated low-flow showerheads produce lousy showers. In 2009, Consumer Reports tested a new model that it found to be “too good to be true” and reported it to EPA! In response to showerhead flow restrictions, consumers may take longer or hotter showers, or baths instead, often using more water and energy than they would have with older, unregulated showerheads.

• Washing Machines: Department of Energy efficiency regulations have ruined the cleaning ability and raised the prices of top-loaders, which used to be highly affordable and highly dependable;

• Cars: Federal fuel-economy standards standards force cars to be downsized. This may save gas, but it reduces vehicle crashworthiness and increases traffic fatalities.

• Light Bulbs: Starting next January, 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will be banned; lower wattage incandescents will be prohibited soon afterwards. Many people have already started stockpiling these bulbs, rather than use the compact fluorescents whose light they despise. And the energy savings of switching to fluorescents are unclear—when one Iowa town gave free flourescents to most of its population, energy use actually increased as people kept their lights on longer.

“Energy efficiency has become a feel-good mantra for politicians to invoke at will,” Sam Kazman writes. “If these energy-saving technologies are really that good, we don’t laws imposing them on us. The existence of all these efficiency mandates indicates we’re being forced to buy lemons under the guise of progress.”

Read Kazman’s full article here.