WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced today that the Energy Department has finalized new energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens that will save consumers nearly $3 billion on their energy bills through 2030.  Over the next 30 years, it will dramatically reduce harmful carbon pollution, equivalent to taking over 12 million new cars off the road for one year.

“Appliance efficiency standards represent a huge opportunity to help families save money by saving energy, while still delivering high quality appliances for consumers,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “In fact, the commonsense appliance standards adopted over the last four years will save Americans about $400 billion on their utility bills through 2030.”

In his February 12, 2013, State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama set an ambitious energy efficiency goal: “Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.” The Department of Energy is helping to meet that target through higher energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens and other products, which will reduce both costs for families and carbon pollution while maintaining consumer choices.

The standards for microwave ovens will reduce energy consumption in standby mode by 75 percent in countertop microwave ovens and over-the-range microwave ovens without convection features, and by 51 percent for over-the-range microwave ovens with convection, preventing 38 million metric tons of carbon pollution over the next three decades. These standards will go into effect starting in 2016.  The present value of net financial savings to consumers are $3.4 billion over the next 30 years. 

The regulatory impact analysis associated with the rule also incorporates an update to the interagency “social cost of carbon” (SCC) values, based on the best available science, used to calculate the societal and health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as discussed in this year’s Economic Report of the President.  The present value of total net benefits from the microwave oven stand-by rule are projected to be $4.6 billion over the next 30 years with the new SCC estimates, up from $4.2 billion with the original estimates for SCC.

For more information and to read the final rule, visit the Office of Energy Effeciency and Renewable Energy's site.