U.S. pulls plug on incandescent light bulbs as new ban goes into effect
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U.S. pulls plug on incandescent light bulbs as new ban goes into effect

Jun 17, 2023

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The United States has pulled the plug on incandescent light bulbs as a new ban went into effect Tuesday, forcing Americans to buy more efficient LEDs to save energy and cut carbon emissions.

While the manufacture and sale of incandescent bulbs is banned starting Tuesday, under last year's rule passed by the Energy Department, the use of the traditional light bulb is not.

Consumers will be allowed to burn through their remaining incandescent bulbs, as manufacturers who violate the ban face a maximum penalty of $542 per bulb.

Incandescent appliance lamps, black lights, bug lamps, holiday lights, plant lights, flood lights and traffic signals will continue to be made.

The incandescent light bulb, which was patented by Thomas Edison in the 1800s, was first targeted for a ban in 2007. The new rule was rolled back during the Trump administration before being renewed last year by President Joe Biden.

Specifically, the rule states that light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. Incandescent bulbs emit only 15 lumens per watt, while most LED bulbs provide 75 lumens per watt or more.

The U.S. Energy Department estimates that switching to the more efficient and longer-lasting LEDs will cut carbon emissions over the next three decades by 222 million metric tons.

The Biden administration also estimates LED bulbs will save consumers close to $3 billion on their utility bills. While LED bulbs are more expensive, they last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescents and use 75% less energy.

"By raising energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, we're putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement, as the ban was finalized last year.

Not everyone is on board with the switch from incandescents, as some consumers argue LED bulbs lose their color and are not compatible with dimmer switches.

Former President Donald Trump famously criticized LEDs in 2019, saying "The bulb that we're being forced to use. Number one, to me, most importantly, the light's no good. I always look orange."

Last week, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., called the ban "Biden's regulatory assault" on home appliances, as National Resources Defense Council energy efficiency advocate Joe Vukovich called the ban "brilliant news for consumers and the climate."