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DOE Inaction Costs Consumers Billions in Wasted Energy

Consumers Overwhelmingly Support Efficiency Standards

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) provided testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy for its hearing: Wasted Energy: DOE’s Inaction on Efficiency Standards and Its Impact on Consumers and the Climate.  CFA highlighted the benefits of energy efficiency standards and the cost to consumers due to the Department of Energy’s inaction on efficiency standards. Following are excerpts from the submission made by Dr. Mark Cooper, Senior Fellow and Mel Hall-Crawford, Director of Energy Programs:

“Appliance efficiency standards provide direct benefits in the form of lower utility bills for consumers and significant macroeconomic benefits. By abdicating its responsibilities and repeatedly missing deadlines to update efficiency standards for consumer products, consumers have lost substantial savings which could be used to spur economic growth in our country.

Triggered four decades ago by the oil price shocks of the 1970s, the use of standards to promote energy efficiency has enjoyed a remarkable degree of bipartisan and public support. [1] This support stems from the obvious benefits of efficiency. In addition to the massive consumer pocketbook savings that help grow the economy; the national security, public health and environmental benefits are also substantial.

CFA estimates that past rules, including macroeconomic benefits, have already saved consumers approximately $750 billion. If the DOE meets its administrative responsibility, future efficiency standards could lead to:

  • $720 billion in direct pocketbook savings;
  • $500 billion in indirect, macroeconomic benefits; and,
  • an overall 5-to-1 benefit cost ratio.

Given the enormous benefit-cost ratio and the ability of manufacturers to meet the standards, the DOE’s failure to meet its responsibility violates the statutes that require the agency to achieve maximum feasible energy savings.  It also ignores the Executive Branch guidance that requires agencies to adopt rules that comply with the statutes and achieve maximum net benefits.

The bottom line: consumers support efficiency standards because they save them money.  They also help to protect the environment.  Not updating the standards eliminates the benefits to our economy that energy savings provide, and adds to climate change.”

CFA’s testimony can be found here.

Contact: Mel Hall-Crawford, 805-245-0523; Mark Cooper, 301-807-1623


[1]  Results of over a dozen national random sample public opinion polls are among the 140 pieces of research to be found at the CFA website (http://consumerfed.org/issues/energy/). See most recently: https://consumerfed.org/press_release/consumers-support-appliance-efficiency-but-trump-administration-delays-and-seeks-to-weaken-standards/