The incandescent lightbulb has been on its deathbed since 2007 and officially breathed its last breath on August 1. The rule was initially issued under the George W. Bush administration, sparking plenty of controversies to merit several postponements. Donald Trump rolled it back. But thanks to an administration focused on climate change, President Biden made it official. It is now illegal to manufacture and/or sell standard incandescent bulbs, which have been used since 1879.
The Department of Energy contends the standards would save consumers $3 billion each year in utility costs and cut planet-warming carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next 30 years, equivalent to emissions generated by 28 million homes in one year. The LED (light-emitting diode) bulb will now reign supreme.
Sure, there are ample benefits to LED lights. They are more energy efficient, last much longer, emit less heat, and don’t attract bugs or insects. They already constitute 54 percent of the market share in lighting. But they aren’t without drawbacks.
The upfront cost of an LED lightbulb is substantially more than the incandescent counterpart. One bulb can cost $5 to $10, or more, whereas the incandescent will cost $1 or $2. If you have to buy 10 LED lightbulbs at once, that’s a hefty price tag.
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Kristen Walker is a policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit www.theamericanconsumer.org or follow us on Twitter @ConsumerPal