Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing to push forward with a ban on cheaper light bulbs as part of its green agenda.
The Biden admin is planning to implement a sweeping nationwide ban on commonly used light bulbs.
As part of its climate agenda, the Biden admin will prohibit retailers from selling incandescent light bulbs in favor of more expensive, energy-efficient alternatives.
The regulations were finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in April 2022 and are due to come into effect on August 1, 2023.
The DOE will begin full enforcement of the ban on that date.
However, the Department has already urged retailers to begin transitioning away from the light bulb type.
In recent months, the Biden admin has begun issuing warning notices to companies.
“The lighting industry is already embracing more energy-efficient products, and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said last year.
According to the DOE announcement, the regulations will cut carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next three decades.
The DOE also claims the move will save consumers an estimated $3 billion per year on utility bills.
Under the rules, incandescent and similar halogen light bulbs will be prohibited in favor of light-emitting diode, or LED, alternatives.
While U.S. households have increasingly switched to LED light bulbs since 2015, fewer than half of households reported using mostly or exclusively LEDs, according to the most recent results from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.
Overall, 47% use mostly or only LEDs, 15% use mostly incandescent or halogens, and 12% use mostly or all compact fluorescent (CFL), with another 26% reporting no predominant bulb type, the federal data showed.
In December, the DOE introduced separate rules banning CFL bulbs, paving the way for LEDs to be the only legal light bulbs to purchase.
According to the survey data, LEDs are also far more popular in higher-income households.
The data suggests that the energy regulations will particularly impact lower-income Americans.
While 54% of households with an income of more than $100,000 per year used LEDs, just 39% of households with an income of $20,000 or less used LEDs.
“We believe that further regulatory interference in the marketplace is unwarranted given that more energy efficient lighting choices, namely light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, are already available for those consumers who prefer them over incandescent bulbs,” a coalition of free market and consumer groups opposed to incandescent bulb bans wrote in a comment letter to the DOE last year.
“While LEDs are more efficient and generally longer-lasting than incandescent bulbs, they currently cost more than incandescent bulbs and are inferior for certain functions such as dimming,” the letter continued.
“Consumers are best served by retaining the choice between incandescent bulbs and LEDs rather than regulating incandescent bulbs off the market.”
The groups added that estimates of the climate benefits of energy efficiency rules are “speculative, assumption-driven, and prone to bias in the hands of agencies with a regulatory agenda.”
The DOE’s rule in April 2022 reversed a Trump administration policy that sought to protect incandescent light bulbs and allow consumers to choose which products they want to purchase.
President Donald Trump was also personally opposed to LED light bulb adoption.
In 2019, Trump noted that LED bulbs are often more expensive and less effective.
Environmental groups that opposed the Trump administration’s actions have cheered the Biden admin for cracking down on incandescent light bulbs.
“We are long overdue to phase out inefficient old-fashioned light bulbs as this progress was illegally delayed by the Trump administration for more than two years,” said Joe Vukovich, an energy efficiency advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“LED bulbs, which will replace the old incandescents, use one-sixth the amount of energy to deliver the same amount of light and last at least 10 times longer.”
Over the last several months, the DOE has introduced a series of energy efficiency regulations impacting various home appliances including gas stoves, ovens, clothes washers, refrigerators, and air conditioners.
Critics have blasted the rules as federal overreach and unnecessary given that the industry has improved technology without government intervention.
On his first day in office in January 2021, Biden signed an executive order requiring the DOE to make “major revisions” to current appliance regulation standards and standards set by the Trump administration.
A month later, the agency began moving forward on more than a dozen energy-efficiency rules, impacting a wide range of appliances.
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