The Trump administration had a policy of trying to get federal regulators out of our bathrooms and kitchens, and laundry rooms. One change they made: allowing companies to make, and customers to buy, so-called “short cycle” appliances that cleaned our dishes faster, even if they use slightly more water and power to do so.
But the dishwasher nanny is on the way back to the showroom, and America’s kitchens, thanks to the Biden administration. It’s not just a sop to the pieties of energy efficiency and water conservation. It’s a handout to Big Appliance:
In one regulatory filing, a coalition of environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice warned that the legalization of faster dishwashers “threatens to wipe out decades of progress” in energy efficiency.
Trade associations representing appliance manufacturers also came out against the new rule. They argued, paradoxically, that consumers weren’t demanding faster dishwashers, and if they were legal, companies would have to invest a lot of money in making the new machines (presumably because people would be interested in buying them).
“Not only would investments in efficiency innovation be stranded, but also new investments would be required in order to design dishwashers that could fall into the new product class,” wrote the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers in an October 2019 public comment.
Never let it be said that businesses are always against regulation. They are very much in favor of regulation, if it insulates them from competition, and supports their balances sheets.
It applies to computer chips, social media networks, cold rolled steel, and yes, dishwashers.