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New Energy Efficiency Standards for Microwave Ovens Will Save Consumers Money

Learn more about the Department of Energy's new energy efficiency standards for microwaves and how to choose energy efficiency appliances for your home.

Household appliances – like refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions – are commonplace in our everyday lives, yet we rarely stop to think: how much energy are they using and at what cost?

Consider this: the average household in the United States spends more than $2,000 each year on energy bills, with appliances accounting for a significant percentage of that total. To illustrate this point, the chart below shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost.

How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?

Source: Energy Department

When we look at this chart, we see opportunity. We see great potential to reduce energy waste and lower utility bills for American families. That’s why President Obama has made energy efficiency a top priority for his Administration. For example, in his State of the Union Address this year, the President set a bold new goal: to cut in half the energy wasted in our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.

Part of how we will achieve that goal is by making appliances more energy efficient. Not only will that help Americans keep more money in their pockets, it will also curb pollution and spark innovation that creates jobs and ultimately brings better products to the marketplace.

That’s why we are proud to announce today that the Department of Energy has finalized new energy efficiency standards for microwaves, which will save consumers billions on their energy bills over the coming decades and prevent 38 million metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of taking 12 million new cars off the road for one year. These standards will go into effect starting in 2016.

Notably, the underlying analysis of these standards includes an update to the social cost of carbon values, which draw on the best available science to calculate the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as discussed in this year’s Economic Report of the President. The total net benefits of the new microwave standards, including the updated social cost of carbon, are up to $4.6 billion.

Of course, this is just our latest step forward. During the President’s first term, by partnering with manufacturers and forging bipartisan support, the Administration established new appliance standards for nearly 40 different products. Taken together, they will save consumers close to $400 billion and reduce carbon emissions by 1.7 billion metric tons by 2030.

Moving forward, we intend to build on this strong record of success. By advancing energy efficiency – in our homes, our businesses, and the transportation sector – we make real progress in promoting energy security and addressing global climate change.

To learn more about choosing energy efficiency appliances for your home, click here