Energy & Environment

Green groups sue over Trump rule exempting quick dishwashers from efficiency standards

A coalition of environmental and consumer groups is suing the Department of Energy after it exempted quick-wash dishwashers from energy efficiency requirements.

The October rule creates a new category of dishwashers, one that lets companies meet less efficient water and energy standards if the machines wash and dry within an hour.

“This was a senseless Trump administration action that hurts consumers and all who’ve benefited from the significant efficiency gains in dishwashers over more than 30 years. It also sets an appalling precedent that the agency could abuse by picking any trivial feature of an appliance and exempting it from all efficiency standards,” Joe Vukovich, energy efficiency advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in a release.

The NRDC and Earthjustice filed the suit alongside the Consumer Federation of America and Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants. 

Consumer groups have argued the rule will shortchange consumers, who could see increased water and electric bills from using the new set of dishwashers. Americans buy about 8 million dishwashers each year, many of which include a quick-wash setting that already meets the stronger efficiency requirements.

“At best this rule is unnecessary because most consumers already have access to 1-hour or quick-wash cycles on their dishwashers,” David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports, said when the new category of dishwashers was first proposed.

The Energy Department did not immediately respond to request for comment. But President Trump has complained about existing dishwashers and the level of water they used.

“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,” Trump said in October.

“We freed it up. Now you can buy a dishwasher, and it comes out. It’s beautiful. Go buy a dishwasher.”

The department has finalized other similar rules this year, including ones that create a new category of clothes washers and dryers that also don’t need to meet existing efficiency requirements as long as their cycle time is within one hour.

Tags dishwasher Donald Trump energy efficiency

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