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July 9, 2024

Dear Members of Congress, 

On behalf of Independent Women’s Voice, I strongly applaud the introduction of the Refrigerator Freedom Act (H. R. 7637) by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and the Stop Unaffordable Dishwashers Act (H.R. 7700) by Rep. Nicholas Langworthy (R-NY), respectively. Independent Women’s Voice fights for women and their loved ones by effectively expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has crafted over 15 onerous regulations for household appliances that place net-zero climate goals above affordability and reliability. A common theme among these rules is they often result in higher upfront costs that outweigh any supposed projected savings. As a result, the average American household could pay over $9,000 to comply with these new standards. 

Regarding residential refrigerators, DOE finalized a rule in December 2023 that claims to reduce energy use in these appliances by 10–15%. Manufacturers must comply by January 2029 or January 2030. But in reality, consumers will only save an average of  $51 to $143 across the lifetime of their refrigerator under these new standards. With new refrigerators costing between $5000 to as much as $12,000—excluding installation costs—these savings are negligible at best. 

With respect to residential dishwashers, updated DOE efficiency standards will be adopted by 2027 and only generate 3% in energy savings compared to existing products on the market. Consumers who switch from existing dishwasher models to newer “green” ones will pay an additional $26. New dishwashers cost $500-$3,000—notwithstanding installation costs that average between $600-$1,700. Again, higher upfront costs far outweigh the purported savings and could discourage households from upgrading dishwashers, meaning that they will rely on lower-efficiency models for longer, which is counterproductive in terms of the environment.

Neither of these finalized efficiency standards are cost-effective nor do they result in any significant amount of energy conservation. Unchecked bureaucrats at DOE shouldn’t craft rules that raise costs on household appliances without any measurable positive impact on the environment. 

In January 2024, DOE was rebuked by a federal judge for lacking statutory authority to regulate water usage in dishwashers. In a post-Chevron world, rulemaking authority should rest primarily with Congress—not DOE or any federal agency.

For all these reasons, we urge the House and Senate to work toward the swift passage of these two appliance bills. IWV thanks Representatives Miller-Meeks and Langworthy for their leadership on this issue.


Gabriella Hoffman
Director, Center for Energy and Conservation
Independent Women’s Voice