Biden Admin Slaps New Rules On Air Conditioners, Critics Say It Hurts Low-Income Households


After coming for gas stoves (despite multiple denials), the Biden administration – this time the Department of Energy – has announced new rules for air conditioners and air cleaners they say will make common household items more efficient.

(Dirk Waem/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the agency, it has “finalized new energy efficiency standards for room air conditioners—commonly known as window air conditioners—and portable air cleaners that will reduce household energy costs and significantly cut pollution,” a news release reads, which adds that it will “save American families and consumers approximately $1.5 billion per year on their electricity bills.”

The rules for air cleaners would be implemented over the next 12 months, beginning in 2024, while the rule for air conditioners will begin in 2026. According to the agency, doing so will eliminate 106 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over three decades.

Critics have called the new rules tantamount to federal overreach

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the standards “too stringent and will have a negative, disproportionate impact on low-income households and historically marginalized communities.”

In 2022, the group suggested that the DOE “reassess parts of its analysis with respect to proposed standards levels … and some of the assumptions upon which the analysis is based,” adding “As discussed further below, DOE must conduct further analysis to determine how increasingly stringent standards disproportionately affect low-income households and historically marginalized communities, as required…”

As the Epoch Times notes, the new rules are anticipated to cost manufacturers around $82.1 million to implement.

“What these mandates, what these standards, do is enforce a level of efficiency that doesn’t make sense,” Ben Lieberman, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News. “And they compromise product quality. We’ve already seen this to an extent with cost of clothes washer standards.”

“That’s another problem—this is a regulatory program that’s very long in the tooth and you’re getting to the point where clothes washers—this might be the fifth time they’ve been regulated,” Lieberman added. “So we’re really chasing after diminishing or nonexistent marginal returns.”

More via the Epoch Times:

With the latest regulatory blitz, rulemaking around gas stoves has been targeted by Republicans and industry groups as overreach, while some have speculated that it will force American consumers and homeowners to implement costly retrofits. House Republicans this week proposed legislation to block gas stove bans or restrictions, coming as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made a formal request for information about the alleged health impacts of the stoves.

Reports have indicated that the agency wants more information about the stoves after a study funded by a progressive environmental group suggested that there is an increased risk of childhood asthma associated with natural gas stoves and ovens. A manager with the group, Rocky Mountain Institute, told news outlets in January that the study “does not assume or estimate a causal relationship” and instead, “only reports on a population-level reflection of the relative risk given what we know about exposure to the risk factor.”

Meanwhile, the CPSC chair, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, stated in January that he is “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” walking back a comment from another top CPSC official.

But in a Thursday congressional hearing, DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that gas stove regulation is coming and that about half the gas stoves that are currently on the market won’t be impacted. Granholm also criticized what she described as “misinformation about” bans on gas stoves, although she did not specify what that is.

Granholm also said “high-end gas stoves” were the ones that could be regulated because of their oval-shaped burners and heavier grates. “It certainly doesn’t say that anybody who has a gas stove would have their gas stove taken away,” she remarked.

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