Energy efficiency standards should be crafted with consumers in mind. But the Biden administration’s net-zero energy agenda is already driving up the costs of common household appliances. 

Some estimates suggest Americans are paying 34% more for appliances compared to 15 years ago. Recent Department of Energy rulemaking targeting more than 15 consumer appliances under the guise of updating the Energy Policy and Conservation Act standards could drive costs even higher. 

Equally alarming is a recent revelation that DOE is outsourcing rulemaking authority to “stakeholders,” including radical environmentalists and liberal billionaires eager to dictate what appliances people should own.

Back in April, the DOE announced its new rule on residential water heaters, effective May 2029. The agency claims pivoting from models using electric resistance technology to electric heat pump water heaters will save consumers $1,800 on bills through the lifetime of the appliance and reportedly slash “332 million metric tons” of carbon dioxide. 

But the White House is being dishonest about the higher upfront costs associated with these alternative models. Electric varieties typically range in cost from $1,500 to $3,000 on the low end to $7,000 to $33,000 on the high end, respectively — excluding installation costs. In comparison, conventional models are less expensive, with a comparable $500 to $1,000 price range

The DOE also failed to mention in its final rule that these supposedly green models don’t work well, or at all, in temperatures below 40 degrees. At best, analysis suggests Americans will only save a paltry $170 annually on utility bills under these new standards. The exorbitant costs far outweigh the touted benefits of going electric.

Similarly, newly finalized standards for clothes washers and dryers were heavily scrutinized, resulting in a compromise between stakeholders and regulators. Unfortunately for consumers, details on individual costs aren’t widely available — which is perhaps intentional. Yet, the finalized rules claim washers and dryers will conserve a reported 3% and 11% of “energy use,” respectively. One estimate, however, claims households using both appliances will save a mere $67 annually on utility bills. 

This Biden directive is on shaky ground because the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that the DOE lacks “statutory authority” to regulate water usage in clothes washers and dishwashers. Because of the questionable nature of this rule, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a lawsuit to block the rule from going into effect last month.

Most Americans also overlooked regulations on gas furnaces finalized earlier this year. Under new guidelines, existing conventional non-condensing gas furnaces will be replaced by condensing furnaces. The DOE’s preferred model, on average, costs about $500 more, while installation services are estimated to top $2,200. The American Gas Association says the regulation will increase costs for “30% of senior-only households, 26% of low-income households, and 27% of small business consumers.” Overall, 55% of U.S. households will be adversely affected by this particular rule.

The Biden administration’s war on household appliances must be challenged. The average household is expected to pay an additional $9,000 to retrofit their homes with so-called climate-friendly alternatives despite the many negative economic and environmental trade-offs. 

Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s dismantling of the Chevron doctrine could course-correct these agencies to ensure future rulemaking prioritizes affordability and functionality above lofty net-zero climate goals. An economic agenda that prioritizes hard-working Americans will use the court’s decision to shut down these costly and counterproductive policies for good.