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Biden Administration to Consumers: Wash Your Dishes the Old-Fashioned Way

It isn’t taking the Deep State bureaucrats long to return to their old ways of overregulation, making everyday Americans’ lives more difficult in ways big and small. Among the latest assaults is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed rule on dishwashers (and washing machines and clothes dryers), which seems designed to return housekeeping to the days before appliances were widely available.

The Big Picture

In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, DOE wants to eliminate the faster class of dishwashers--those designed to thoroughly wash and dry dishes in an hour--that the Trump Administration made possible by reversing an Obama Administration rule limiting the water and electricity dishwashers could use. These limits forced manufacturers to extend the cycle to wash and dry dishes to more than two hours--and generally, dishes were neither clean nor dry even after that long.

Comments are due on October 12, 2021 and may be submitted via this link.

The Details

  • The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) authorizes DOE to regulate the energy efficiency of a number of consumer products, including dishwashers.

  • The Obama Administration’s 2018 regulation severely hampered dishwashers' utility by limiting the amount of water and power they could use. Consumers purchasing dishwashers made to conform to the Obama standards were extremely dissatisfied; they had to either wash dishes by hand or run the dishwasher several cycles to get clean dishes. This resulted in more energy and water consumption than the old dishwashers used.

  • The EPCA does, however, require DOE to consider whether a “performance-related feature justifies the establishment of a higher or lower standard.” In the Trump Administration, the DOE determined that a new class of dishwasher--one that could clean and dry dishes in an hour--was such a “performance-related feature” that justified creation of a “lower” standard--a standard that allowed use of more energy and water.

  • The Biden Administration’s DOE now claims that the 2020 Trump DOE rule is illegal under the EPCA--an argument the statute’s language plainly contradicts--and seeks to return to the old rule that allows only mediocre dishwashers.

Why It Matters

Americans have busy lives--many of us are raising children while working full-time--and appliances that make our daily tasks easier are critical for maintaining a household. The Obama/Biden dishwasher rule shows just how little the left cares about our daily concerns. And in the name of “environmentalism,” the Obama/Biden rule wastes more water and electricity than did older dishwashers by requiring several cycles or hand-washing to get dishes clean. This is ironic indeed.