Incandescent Light Bulbs Are Officially Banned in the United States

Scott Norris Photography /
Scott Norris Photography /

Americans shopping for a replacement light bulb for their desk lamps are in for an unexpected, and unwelcomed, surprise. With all the attention on the Biden administration’s attempts to ban gas stoves and other appliances, one ban slipped through with little fanfare. The Department of Energy has banned incandescent light bulbs starting August 1, 2023.

The ban doesn’t affect lightbulbs already purchased by consumers, but retailers nationwide will be unable to sell them, and manufacturing companies are no longer allowed to make them. All older bulbs are now banned for sale, including halogen and compact fluorescent lighting. Manufacturers who violate the ban face fines of up to $542 per forbidden bulb.

The ban is intended to save the environment and allegedly to help Americans save money. But because LED lights are more expensive to purchase, the blow is the latest to hit consumers in the wallet.

Per the DOE, LED bulbs last twenty-five times longer than incandescent and can save families $100 a year in energy costs. But the cost of converting burned out incandescent bulbs with LED alternatives may give consumers sticker shock at the register. The price for LED lighting is $5 to $7 per bulb, compared to $2 to $3 per bulb for the traditional counterpart.

The DOE claims that discontinuing incandescent light will save Americans $3 billion per year and reduce carbon emissions over a thirty-year span.

“I’m happy the Department of Energy is out here, making sure that we can all save money because we’re too dumb to figure out how to do it ourselves,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, (R- PA) observed.

But for a nation struggling to make ends meet under so many disastrous Biden policies, cost matters. And for Americans tired of governmental overreach, the ban is just the latest assault on freedoms.

“The Biden administration is trying to make Americans’ lives even more expensive. The Biden administration doesn’t seem to understand it’s supposed to be of, by and for the people,” Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) noted in response to growing governmental overreach.

Unsurprisingly, LEDs are the popular choice for higher-income households. As with every Biden administration policy, the ban on affordable light bulbs will adversely affect low-income Americans. Per a survey, 54% of households with an income of more than $100,000 per year prefer LEDs, while only 39% of households with an income of $20,000 or less used them.

In June, the House passed a bill to thwart the banning of gas stoves and other appliances and in mid-July, the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs (Committee on Oversight and Accountability) held a hearing called “Cancelling Consumer Choice: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Home Appliances” discussing the government’s role in dictating consumer choice.

And Americans are already feeling the pinch of governmental overreach in their homes. As summer heats up, millions of Americans may not realize they are already impacted by the EPA.

The Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) proudly announced a 40% production cut for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) for 2024. HFCs is the most widely used class of refrigerants in HVAC systems and window units, and the current cut of 10% has already caused the price of the refrigerant to triple.

The current cost of replacing leaking refrigerant now costs between $150-$200 more. Starting next summer, however, the prices of HFCs will skyrocket, alongside repair costs.

The assault doesn’t end there, however. The EPA is attempting to pass a rule outlawing the installation of new central air conditioners that are not “climate friendly” by 2025. It’s a decision supported by manufacturers looking to force consumers to purchase the most expensive models of air conditioning units.

The incandescent bulb ban is facing harsh criticism. One free market coalition commented, “We believe that further regulatory interference in the marketplace is unwarranted given that more energy efficient lighting choices, namely light-emitting diode bulbs, are already available for those consumers who prefer them over incandescent bulbs.” The group went on to note that the climate benefits of the ban are “speculative, assumption-driven, and prone to bias in the hands of agencies with a regulatory agenda.”

The administration is not showing signs of slowing or stopping its overreach. The DOE has proposed new standards for clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, and other appliances. and air conditioners. 

But they aren’t stopping there. Within the next year, according to a government-wide list highlighting regulations that agencies are proposing or finalizing, the Biden administration is coming for furnaces, battery chargers, dehumidifiers, ceiling fans, and pool pumps.

The bulb ban shines the light on the depths of governmental overreach and how far elected officials will go in the name of “climate change.”