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Dark times ahead: Incandescent light bulb banned in 2014

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Breanna Deutsch Contributor
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The incandescent light bulb is about to join the VCR and the rotary phone in the technology graveyard.

As of Wednesday, the traditional 60- and 40-watt light bulb that Americans used in their homes and businesses for decades was banned from manufacture or sale in the United States.

The less popular 75- and 100-watt bulbs were banned earlier in 2013.

Former Republican President George W. Bush approved these regulations as a condition of an energy bill he signed into law in 2007.

Now many consumers will be compelled to purchase more expensive options, such as the swirled compact fluorescent, LED and halogen bulbs.

If buyers prefer the old-fashioned light bulb to its pricier alternative, they can still purchase them as long as stores have them in stock.

Some businesses still have a generous supply of the bulbs on their shelves.

One employee at a Washington, D.C. Home Depot told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the store had “plenty” of the bulbs. estimating their current stockpile could last up to a year.

Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who opposes the ban, says he is glad that consumers still have this option.

“I am happy that at least for now people are still allowed to choose the light bulbs they want to illuminate their homes,” he told the Star-Telegram.

“This means Americans … can continue to flip the switch on an affordable and reliable product instead of turning to one that costs five times more and may not live up to manufacturers’ promises,” said Barton.

The congressman argued that it should be left to the consumer, not the government, to choose how Americans light their homes.

“This battle has been based on the principles of a free market… I’m not [against] new technology or higher energy efficiency. I just think people should be able to decide on their own. This was a blatant case of government interference and overregulation,” he explained.

Supporters of the ban say that these new alternatives can last up to 10 and 25 times longer than the traditional light bulb.

The incandescent bulb, which has not changed much since the time of Thomas Edison, only converts approximately 10 percent of its energy into light.

Although the government-approved bulbs have a longer lifespan, Americans are still attached to the old-fashioned bulbs that light up their Christmas trees every year.

According to a Osram Sylvania survey, 30 percent of those polled plan to run to supply stores and stockpile the traditional bulbs, more than double the number who said they planned to clean out their incandescent light bulb supply a couple of years ago.

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Breanna Deutsch