The Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday said it has finalized rules on window air conditioners and air cleaners that it says will make the common household items more efficient, coming as the federal government has signaled it would further regulate gas stoves.

The agency said it has “finalized new energy efficiency standards for room air conditioners—commonly known as window air conditioners—and portable air cleaners that will reduce household energy costs and significantly cut pollution,” according to a news release, adding that it will “save American families and consumers approximately $1.5 billion per year on their electrity bills.”

The rules for air cleaners are slated to be implemented starting next year, while the rules for air conditioners will come in 2026, said the DOE. With the rules, the agency said that it will eliminate some 106 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over three decades.

With the latest round of regulations in combination with proposed rules for gas stoves, critics have said they’re tantamount to federal overreach. During the comments period for the DOE’s rule proposal, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers issued a comment saying the standards are “too stringent and will have a negative, disproportionate impact on low-income households and historically marginalized communities.”

The group then urged the DOE to “reassess parts of its analysis with respect to proposed standards levels … and some of the assumptions upon which the analysis is based,” it said in its 2022 comment to the agency. “As discussed further below, DOE must conduct further analysis to determine how increasingly stringent standards disproportionately affect low-income households and historically marginalized communities, as required under” another executive order.

The rules are reportedly expected to cost manufacturers a total of about $82.1 million to implement after they go into effect. Other appliances that have seen more regulations include washing machines, light bulbs, dryers, and gas stoves, while some states and municipalities banning gas stoves in new buildings in recent months.

Other Rules

“What these mandates, what these standards, do is enforce a level of efficiency that doesn’t make sense,” Ben Lieberman, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News. “And they compromise product quality. We’ve already seen this to an extent with cost of clothes washer standards.”

“That’s another problem—this is a regulatory program that’s very long in the tooth and you’re getting to the point where clothes washers—this might be the fifth time they’ve been regulated,” he added. “So we’re really chasing after diminishing or nonexistent marginal returns.”

With the latest regulatory blitz, rulemaking around gas stoves has been targeted by Republicans and industry groups as overreach, while some have speculated that it will force American consumers and homeowners to implement costly retrofits. House Republicans this week proposed legislation to block gas stove bans or restrictions, coming as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made a formal request for information about the alleged health impacts of the stoves.

Reports have indicated that the agency wants more information about the stoves after a study funded by a progressive environmental group suggested that there is an increased risk of childhood asthma associated with natural gas stoves and ovens. A manager with the group, Rocky Mountain Institute, told news outlets in January that the study “does not assume or estimate a causal relationship” and instead, “only reports on a population-level reflection of the relative risk given what we know about exposure to the risk factor.”

Meanwhile, the CPSC chair, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, stated in January that he is “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” walking back a comment from another top CPSC official.

But in a Thursday congressional hearing, DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that gas stove regulation is coming and that about half the gas stoves that are currently on the market won’t be impacted. Granholm also criticized what she described as “misinformation about” bans on gas stoves, although she did not specify what that is.

Granholm also said “high-end gas stoves” were the ones that could be regulated because of their oval-shaped burners and heavier grates. “It certainly doesn’t say that anybody who has a gas stove would have their gas stove taken away,” she remarked.

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