A conservative think tank is petitioning the Department of Energy (DOE) to adopt a new energy efficiency standard for dishwashers that can cycle in an hour or less.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sent a petition to the DOE Wednesday, pointing out an unintended consequence of increasingly strict standards on energy and water standards: dishwasher cycle time.
“It used to take you only an hour to get a full load of dishes washed and dried in your dishwasher. Today, thanks to federal energy efficiency standards, the average time is nearly 2.5 hours,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement. “That’s not progress; it’s bureaucracy. And for many consumers, it’s a royal pain. We hope the Department of Energy will change course.”
Dishwasher cycle times have not averaged an hour or less since 1983, before the DOE began regulating dishwashers. A lengthy wash cycle time is one of four major sources of dissatisfaction Americans have with dishwashers.
In 1987, Congress passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), establishing minimum efficiency standards for many appliances, including dishwashers. Subsequent regulations increased standards and mandated the DOE keep to a schedule to review efficiency standards and update them as necessary.
Congress did not intend to sacrifice other features for an ever-increasing energy efficiency standard when passing NAECA and other regulations, and it passed a provision to “preclude DOE from promulgating a standard that manufacturers are only able to meet by adopting engineering changes that eliminate performance characteristics,” the provision states, according to CEI.
The National Energy Conservation Act of 1978 gave the Secretary of Energy authority to create an entirely new class of appliance and set of standards within a type of product. Under this power, Energy Secretary Rick Perry could create a class of dishwasher that is able to complete a cycle in an hour without discarding the rules adopted so far.
The move would give manufacturers more flexibility in dishwasher design and as lines of one hour cycle dishwashers come to market, give consumers a choice of product no longer in existence due to government regulation, CEI argued.
“Dishwasher speed is an important factor for huge numbers of consumers,” the CEI petition states. “Manufacturers clearly have the ability to satisfy these consumers, and the DOE has the discretion under the law to accommodate them. It should do so.”
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