There is obviously no area of life that can't be regulated
. The point here is that there is no externality even if what the government claims about energy use is true.
Of the many microscopic issues in which the Department of Energy (DOE) involves itself, one of the most ridiculous could be showerhead flow-capacity limits. In the name of conservation, a federal law limits the amount of water that can pass through a nozzle to 2.5 gallons per minute. The law was designed to limit both water and energy use related to pumping the water.
Until recently, a loophole that allowed multi-nozzled showerheads (with each individual nozzle meeting the flow-capacity limit) put this personal choice where it belongs: in the hands of consumers. Showerheads with three or even eight nozzles could be purchased by homebuilders to equip luxury bathrooms as long as the per-nozzle water-flow limit was followed. Regrettably, the DOE decided that alternatives to the standard showerhead could no longer be allowed and, in May, sought to close the legal gap. A redefinition of showerheads is expected.
Dictating the amount of water that is to be used in a shower has little bearing on energy policy and opens the door to far more invasive measures. If the DOE can limit the energy used in showering, it could just as easily involve itself in legislating how much energy any appliance can use, how long it can be used each day, or what kind of electronics can be sold.
This may already be a reality in some states. For example, the California Energy Commission adopted a law last November that makes more than three-fourths of televisions illegal for exceeding stringent energy use standards. The list of appliances that are currently under national or state energy standards includes microwaves, clothes dryers, audio systems—even dehumidifiers. . . .
Labels: Energy, Regulation