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Biden admin cracks down on washers, fridges in latest climate action: ‘Overregulation on steroids’

The Biden administration on Friday proposed sweeping rules to raise energy efficiency standards for washing machines and refrigerators, in a move it claimed would save consumers money and “substantially reduce pollution.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) said the two regulations, which if approved in 2027 would be implemented, are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 233 million tons over the next 30 years. The agency also estimated that energy efficiency standards removing certain appliance models from the market would save $3.5 billion annually.

“With today’s proposals, we build on decades of efforts with our industry partners to ensure tomorrow’s appliances work more efficiently and save Americans money,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

“For the past forty years, the DOE has worked, under direction from Congress, to encourage innovation, enhance consumer choice, and raise efficiency standards for home appliances without sacrificing the reliability and performance Americans have come to expect,” she continued away.

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Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks during a press briefing at the White House on January 23.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks during a press briefing at the White House on January 23. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

According to the announcement, the washing machines and refrigerators affected by the regulations currently account for 5% of annual household energy consumption and 8% of household electricity consumption nationwide.

The new standards proposed for the two appliances are the latest in a series of energy efficiency measures the Biden administration has pursued since taking office two years ago. In 2022 alone, the administration took more than 110 actions on devices.

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On his first day in office in January 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring the Department of Energy to make “major revisions” to current device regulations and standards set by the Trump administration. A month later, the agency listed more than a dozen energy efficiency rules affecting appliances like water heaters, cooking products and lamps that it would review.

However, experts have argued that the appliance regulation is unnecessary and that consumers can already buy more efficient appliances.

Washing machines are among the appliances that would be affected by the Biden government's latest eco regulation.

Washing machines are among the appliances that would be affected by the Biden government’s latest eco regulation. (iStock)

“This is steroid overregulation,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “These are devices that have already passed increasingly stringent standards several times.”

“There’s just not much left,” he says. “There’s a huge risk that more harm than good will be done in the form of appliances — fridges or washing machines that cost more upfront than you’re likely to ever save in terms of less energy and water use.”

Lieberman added that such device regulations are part of the Biden administration’s “war on energy use.”

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“By using climate as a kind of finger on the scales in favor of stricter standards, I think it gives even more reason to suspect that this will be a bad deal from a consumer perspective,” he continued.

“Anyone who wants to buy high-efficiency appliances is free to do so with or without these regulations. Regulations make this simply the only game in town and usually at a higher cost that may or may not be recouped over the life of the device.”

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