Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

Stopping the DOE’s Regulatory Onslaught

The Save Our Gas Stoves Act—which is expected to pass the House in the near future, though it has been temporarily blocked due to an argument over the debt ceiling—would prevent the Department of Energy from moving forward with its overly stringent efficiency threshold for gas stoves.

That would be a win for reining in DOE overreach, but work remains in the fight against a regulatory onslaught by the agency. The NAM and its association partners are leading the way.

What’s going on: Since January, the DOE has undertaken an unprecedented slew of regulations aimed at home appliances—and if implemented, these measures would yield little in the way of energy savings for consumers and result in appliances that cost more.

  • They would pile on the costs for manufacturers, too—more than $2.5 billion, according to the DOE’s own estimates, in a package of standards that could go into effect as early as 2027.
  • “There are currently nine open rules [from the DOE] on appliance products that have very little energy savings for the consumer while they have really significant cost to the industry,” said Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Vice President of Communications and Marketing Jill Notini, whose organization isurging consumers to call on Congress to support the Save Our Gas Stoves Act.

The background: Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the DOE is required to review appliance-efficiency standards every six years—but it’s not required to tighten them, Notini said, adding that the last time reviews were done for gas cooking appliances, the agency opted against making any changes.

Higher costs for all: These new DOE standards would significantly raise production costs for manufacturers while reducing features, performance and affordability for consumers, according to AHAM calculations based on DOE data.

  • Consumers would save just $1.51 a year in energy costs, or 12.5 cents a month.

Too tight: It’s no surprise, then, that the proposed standards are so stringent as to make almost all on-the-market gas ranges noncompliant, Notini said.

  • According to the DOE’s own technical analysis, 96% of gas cooking appliances would fail to meet the proposed efficiency threshold.
  • The standards would have a significant effect on consumers, too. Redesigned gas stoves would only be able to have a single high-input burner, increasing the amount of time it would take to boil water or cook a meal, Notini said.

Washing machines: Another recently proposed DOE regulation requires that washing machines use almost 25% less water and cooler water temperatures, a restriction that would also hit consumers hard.

  • The point-of-purchase price tag for washing machines would increase $150 per washer—while saving consumers just $7.85 a year, according to the DOE.
  • Inflation has become a major concern for consumers across income segments, but particularly among low- to middle-income households, which will see the biggest impact from the proposed standard, Notini pointed out.

The last word: “Manufacturers rely on regulatory clarity and certainty. Unfortunately, DOE’s proposals only add to the regulatory onslaught manufacturers are currently facing,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris.

  • “The NAM remains committed to working with all federal agencies, including the DOE, to ensure that rules and regulations are practical and feasible and do not harm manufacturers.”
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