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The Great Debate Over Incandescent Light Bulbs

We all know that energy saving light bulbs are important for protecting the environment as well as our wallets. But should the government legislate determined the type of light bulbs we use? In 2007, President Bush signed an energy bill with a provision that would phase out the traditional incandescent light bulb over the course of 4 to 12 years. While we should be currently phasing these out, members of Congress disagree with the government mandating that the public buy more expensive, energy saving light bulbs. Read more to learn about the great debate over incandescent light bulbs. The Great Debate

The 2007 Energy Bill

The original intention of this provision to the energy bill was to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs over the next 4 to 12 years. By 2012 to 2014, light bulbs would be required to use 25%-30% less energy, and by 2020, they would be 70% more efficient. New light bulbs that would be available included compact fluorescents, halogens, LEDs, and energy-saving incandescent light bulbs.

While compact fluorescents already meet the 70% standard of efficiency, they and the other products are significantly more costly than traditional incandescent bulbs. On the plus side, they also last longer and save you money in the long run. The bill proposed large savings in terms of energy and the environment: it would save $40 billion in energy costs from 2012 to 2030 as well as 51 million tons of carbon from global warming emissions.

Current Debate in the House

Although this law has been in effect since 2007, enforcement of the bill is currently being fought over in the House. Rep. Michael Burgess from Texas believes that the Department of Energy should not enforce light bulb standards because it is unfair to force consumers to buy more expensive products. While more energy efficient bulbs were expected to drop in price, they have not decreased as much as expected. In addition, politicians in the House believe that consumers should be trusted to make the right choice about energy saving light bulbs rather than being mandated to spend more money.

Are Traditional Incandescent Light Bulbs Gone?

Despite the struggle in Congress, many are seeing a lack of incandescent bulbs in stores. One consumer notes that in searching many local drug stores and hardware stores, he was unable to find a single incandescent bulb. Instead, he found signs stating that incandescent bulbs were being phased out. Whatever the situation in Congress, it seems that traditional incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming obsolete. Consumers can hope for more affordable alternatives in the near future.


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