Energy Dept. exempts quick dishwashers from existing efficiency standards

Energy Dept. exempts quick dishwashers from existing efficiency standards

The Energy Department on Friday finalized a rule that exempts dishwashers that clean and dry in an hour or less from existing energy and water efficiency standards.

The rule places quick-cleaning dishwashers in a separate category from dishwashers with a “normal” cleaning time.

The final rule doesn’t set efficiency standards for the new class of dishwashers, saying instead that the agency will carry out a separate rulemaking to set them. 

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The finalized rule comes days after President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE appeared to tout his administration’s dishwasher efficiency rollback during a campaign stop in Nevada. 

“The dishwashers, they tend to have a little problem, they didn't get enough water, so people would run them 10 times, so people end up using more water, and the thing’s no damn good,” he said last weekend.

“We freed it up. Now you can buy a dishwasher, and it comes out. It's beautiful, go buy a dishwasher,” he added. 

Both energy efficiency advocates and some consumer groups have expressed opposition to the change. 

“At best this rule is unnecessary because most consumers already have access to 1-hour or quick-wash cycles on their dishwashers,” said a statement from David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports. 

“What this rule really does is adds unnecessary regulations and undermines existing rules that have been providing consumers with well-performing and efficient dishwashers,” added Friedman, who also served as acting assistant secretary at the Energy Department under the Obama administration. 

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The move follows a request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative group whose members include Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic who advised the Trump Environmental Protection Agency transition team.

The group argued that under the efficiency standard, dishwasher cycles have become longer and consumer satisfaction has dropped. 

CEI general counsel Sam Kazman celebrated the new rule, which was first proposed last year, in a statement. 

​​"Dishwashers have long been recognized as one of the most disastrous examples of overregulated appliances,” Kazman said. “We are glad to see the Dept. of Energy grant CEI's petition over environmentalist and industry opposition so that consumers can once again make their own choices about what is and isn't important in their daily lives."