Making Dishwashers Great Again

POSTED: September 20, 2019

Hiroko Tabuchi has written a long and detailed article for the New York Times that raises several interesting questions. Firstly it notes that the US government has weakened the rules governing the energy use and efficiency of dishwashers. Then it adds that

blockquote>The administration is also preparing to loosen proposed Obama-era standards for tailpipe emissions on cars and light trucks, even though automakers say the move would cause them “untenable” instability and hurt their profits. It also plans to eliminate rules that restrict methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure even though some companies have argued for continued regulation.

The article gets really interesting when Tabuchi probes into why this has happened.

“Dishwashers used to clean a full load of filthy dishes in under an hour. But now they take an average of two and a half hours and STILL leave dishes dirty!” reads one online petition promoted by FreedomWorks, a libertarian offshoot of a group co-founded by the late David H. Koch and his brother Charles Koch, who made their fortune in fossil fuels. The decline of American dishwashers, the site says, is “all thanks to crazy environmentalist rules.”

Dishwasher manufacturers don’t want the rules changed. They don’t want the EnergyStar badge weakened or removed. They do not believe that they will benefit from either.

The rules have been changed because the end result will see the energy companies making more money, or more able to make more money in a less rule-bound world.

You should read the full story. You really should. It points to the major fallacy in much “consumer action”: the villains are not necessarily who you think, and not necessarily the people you choose to target.

More likely you need to round up the usual suspects, and you probably won’t find them manufacturing dishwashers.