May 18, 2023

In Brief: The Federal Dirty Dish Rule

New “efficiency” rules mean you can taste last night’s spaghetti again.

Gas stoves and fossil fuels more generally aren’t the only thing under attack by Joe Biden’s regulatory commissars. He’s also after your other appliances, like dishwashers. The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports on recent “efficiency” mandates dropped by the Energy Department.

“Did you enjoy last night’s spaghetti, still crusted on the plate?” the editors quip. “Now you can taste it twice.”

The proposal requires manufacturers to slash water use by a third, limiting machines to 3.2 gallons per cycle, down from the current federal limit of five gallons. New appliances must simultaneously cut estimated annual energy usage by nearly 30%. Americans have learned the hard way that stricter efficiency rules on already efficient appliances translate into higher costs, inconvenience, and ultimately waste.

The Obama Administration’s dishwasher regulations raised the average price of a machine nearly $100, while producing a new norm of dirty forks and smelly glasses. When the Trump administration in 2018 proposed relaxing the rules, it received an avalanche of comments from Americans sick of overpaying for lousy equipment. It’s “ridiculous that dishwashers I had years ago worked better than the high-tech ones today,” one comment said.

Working better also means working shorter. “Efficiency” mandates mean run cycles sometimes last two or three hours, or worse, necessitate a second cycle. Naturally, Team Biden undid everything Team Trump did, “but now it’s going further,” says the Journal.

The Energy Department plan gives manufacturers only until 2027 to produce the miracle of costlier washers that do a worse job. There are also new regulations for electric motors used in manufacturing, as well as beverage vending machines.

In recent months the Energy Department has proposed or finalized punishing new standards for ovens, microwaves, refrigerators and laundry machines (get ready for even moldier clothing). These come on top of rules for furnaces, air conditioners, and lightbulbs. In December the White House bragged that it had taken more than 110 efficiency actions for “appliances and equipment,” as if frustrating the daily household experience of millions of Americans is somehow a point of pride.

The Journal concludes:

The press release on dishwasher standards makes clear the intent is to reduce “carbon pollution” and combat the “climate crisis,” never mind that the trivial CO2 emissions savings from your ill-functioning Whirlpool are laughable next to the coal power plants China is building. At least progressives are being honest about their goal of controlling every detail of American life. And yes, your gas stove is next.

Wall Street Journal subscribers can read the whole thing here.

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