Lights out

The most popular lightbulb in America will be banned on Jan. 1

December 26, 2013
December 26, 2013

Come Jan. 1, US businesses will no longer be able to import or manufacture 40 and 60 Watt incandescent bulbs—the most popular lightbulbs in America. The regulation follows the phaseout of the 75W incandescent bulb last year and the 100W incandescent bulb the year before.

The cutoff is a result of a 2007 law (pdf) which set energy standards for everything from refrigerator power consumption to the definition of “standby mode.” This year’s bans are the final step of the phaseout.

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The law does not prevent the sale of inefficient bulbs. USA Today reports that North American home goods and hardware retailer Home Depot expects to run out of incandescent bulbs by mid-2014.

According to a 300-person telephone survey by Sylvania of 300 people in the US, 64% of Americans are aware of the phaseout of incandescent bulbs, but only 41% know that the 40W and 60W bulbs will be cutoff in the new year. The survey had a margin of error of ±5.7%.

Since the bill passed the US House of Representatives in Jan. 2007, US imports of compact florescent lightbulbs (CFL)—which comply with the energy standard—have grown 90% from 193 million bulbs to 366 million bulbs in the 12 months preceding October 2013. Incandescent bulbs imports, while still more popular than CFLs, have only grown 34% over the same period. Since May 2012 incandescent bulb imports are down by 134 million units.

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