Eben Burnham-Snyder, 202-513-6254 or 202-277-1045 (cell)
Years Behind on Energy Efficiency Standards, Energy Department Gives
Fine Advice but Delivers No Action of Its Own
Washington, DC (October 3, 2005) -- Today the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new public awareness campaign to encourage consumers to reduce their energy use in the wake of soaring prices. But at the very same time, the agency is up to 13 years behind a congressionally-mandated schedule to set energy efficiency standards for furnaces, air conditioners, and 20 other types of power-thirsty equipment that business and consumers depend on.
In fact, DOE has not issued a single energy efficiency standard since President Bush took office.
Last month the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, and fourteen other states filed a suit demanding that DOE comply with the law and deliver the standards. According to NRDC, the new rules could save enough energy each year to meet the needs of up to 12 million American households, and avoid the need for dozens of new electric power plants.
"The administration owes Americans more than good advice. Giving consumers advice on smart energy choices is important, but the Energy Department has to hold up its end of the bargain too," said Dr. Dan Lashof, Senior Scientist at NRDC. "So far, they've done a pretty good job of dropping the ball."
While the first President Bush issued five strengthened energy efficiency standards, and President Clinton issued nine, the current administration has issued zero. As a result, DOE is 11 years behind on standards for residential furnaces and boilers that would save consumers money during the winter ahead.
"While the President would like us to turn the thermostat down by two degrees, he hasn't taken the steps to make our furnaces more efficient," continued Lashof.
With the winter months approaching, and analysts expecting higher home heating oil prices, furnace efficiency standards could help reduce our use and save consumers money, especially lower-income Americans with little flexible income.
The administration has also opposed stronger fuel economy performance standards for our cars, trucks and SUVs. If we improved gas mileage by one mile per gallon per year, we would soon be saving more than a million barrels of oil a day.