Briefly Noted: The Disappearing Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Briefly Noted

by Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

April 14, 2016

Download the full article in Regulation Magazine

In the past decade, federal agencies have greatly increased the number of regulations establishing energy efficiency standards for household and commercial appliances. Because these rules affect nearly all Americans, it is important to examine the rationale that regulators use to justify them. Regulators have increasingly cited behavioral economics and “consumer irrationality” to justify standards that restrict the products that consumers can buy. However, this raises the question: why do consumers need government protection from their own purchase choices? This article examines whether consumers truly benefit from efficiency standards that restrict their options.