Last week, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that hinders enforcement of federal light bulb efficiency standards that were signed into law by President Bush in 2007. Conservative media have repeatedly misled consumers about the standards, and now ABC's flagship nightly news program is adding to the misinformation.
On ABC World News, Diane Sawyer called the measure "a small victory ... for those who like their light bulbs the old-fashioned way." Jonathan Karl suggested that the "light bulb ban" would require consumers to buy "new bulbs [that] are funny looking, dimmer and more expensive."
- The standards will not limit consumer choice to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs will still be available, as long as they achieve a certain level of efficiency. Efficiency standards have also spurred innovation that has provided more choices for consumers - such as energy-efficient incandescents and LEDs.
- Energy efficient bulbs are not necessarily "dimmer" than traditional bulbs. In fact, CFLs are available in a range of lighting options, and have been scored higher than incandescents on overall light quality. Many businesses have also switched to high-quality LED lighting. A USA Today/Gallup poll found that 84% of Americans who have switched to CFLs or LEDs are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the alternatives.
- Energy-efficient bulbs save consumers money in the long-run because they last longer and use substantially less energy. While ABC reported that CFLs are "more expensive," ENERGY STAR estimates that consumers save an average of $40 over the lifetime of each CFL.
Furthermore, light bulb manufacturers have aligned their product offerings to meet the standards, and are "fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them," according to Politico.
Efficiency standards once enjoyed bipartisan support, including from Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. But as the New York Times explained, the conservative media has used scare tactics to generate a controversy about the new rules.
And unfortunately, ABC has now joined the misinformers.