Since 1975 the Department of Energy (DOE) has been required to update energy efficiency standards for consumer products. Yet the agency has failed to set new regulations since 2001. As a result, the DOE was successfully sued by 15 states, the Natural Resources Defense Council and several consumer groups. So from now until 2011, the DOE will evaluate 22 appliances, such as air conditioners, stoves and lamps, to determine new efficiency standards. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer says these “common sense standards will lower our dependence on foreign oil and improve public health and our environment.” Energy experts predict the new policies could save enough energy to meet the needs of millions of households while avoiding the need for new power plants.
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