The Future is About to Get a Little Darker for California as 100-Watt Light Bulb Ban Kicks in


Come January 1, 2011, California will begin phasing out the legal sale and purchase of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs.

Due to federal legislation proudly signed by George W. Bush in 2007, the rest of the country will face the same issue starting in 2012, as per the Energy Independence and Security Act, which phases out the use of traditional light bulbs between 40 watts and 150 watts over a two-year period.

The Golden State is starting a year early to comply with its own energy-reduction mandates.

Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote about the coming ban back in 2007 and here's a video on why "compact fluorescent lightbulbs" (CFLs), the favored replacement for Thomas Edison's most iconic invention are not all that.

Hat tip: ginthegin's Twitter feed.

NEXT: Frank Rich's Selective Nostalgianomics for Disneyland

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  1. Of course, the fact that the compact incandescents have mercury in them will just give us an excuse to take control of what you are allowed to put in the garbage.

    1. Or an excuse to dig through your trash. On the upside, that's a lot of jobs created/saved.

      1. And while they're digging through your trash, might as well do some more snooping, because only an Eric Rudolph wanna-be would use incandescent bulbs.

        1. I saw that girl in the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street use lightbulbs as weapons, so.....TERRORISM!!!!111oneoneone!

          1. The TSA should be alerted that you watched that movie and came to that conclusion, wylie.

            1. Alerted to my kickass antiterrorism skillz, right?

              1. The SPLC told us to look out for libertarian-minded people, and they're NEVER wrong.

                Obviously, you are all the next Timothy McVeigh, and we will treat you accordingly.

  2. The CFL's in my house do not work properly when the thermostat is set below 62 degrees. They fail to reach their full illumination.

    So if they make me buy all CFL's, I'm just going to use more fuel oil.

    1. Or....

      Just buy 4x as many 25watt incandescents to get to the same brightness level, thereby using more glass and metal (which require energy to refine.) Oh, more packaging too.

      All around, it's a big win for the environment.

    2. D'oh!

      Too bad the politicians and greenies forgot about this 'inconvenient truth' when they damned us to darkness.

      1. You are a dumb ass

  3. LOL, only in California, thats just too funny dude.

    1. Unfortunately, anon-bot, where California goes, so goes the nation.

  4. I've been pleased with the operation of some of my CFL's, but their tendency to flicker is annoying me greatly.

    1. I've found that not all CFLs are created equal.

    2. Try one in an Easy-Bake Oven and see how much more you hate it. California is being sexist against girls with this ban, forcing young women to cross state lines to smuggle 100w bulbs in for their ovens.

  5. "compact fluorescent lightbulbs" (CFLs), the favored replacement for Thomas Edison's most iconic invention are not all that.

    I was thinking politicians's heads stuck on the ends of pikes, dipped in oil, and lit might make good replacements.

    1. Just the heads? That's wasteful!

    2. Isn't adding extra oil to any part of a politician sort of redundant?

  6. Just the heads? That's wasteful!

    Nonsense; you keep the head, and send the remainder to the rendering plant, to be made into carbon neutral organic fuel oil.


    1. Precisely. You don't want the bowels loosing up on the pike, really ruins the Luau atmosphere.

      1. I was thinking the headless bodies could be fed to pigs, thereby increasing the bacon supply our country desperately needs.

        1. Slow down. You're getting close to having ME support a taboo against pork.

          Eating scraps and feces is fine, but feeding them politicians? Talk about an unclean source of food.

          1. Good point.

          2. Eating scraps and feces is fine, but feeding them politicians? Talk about an unclean source of food.

            The ground-up brains in particular could be dangerous, possibly resulting in an epidemic of "Mad-CongressCritter" disease.

            1. an epidemic of "Mad-CongressCritter" disease.

              So we all get to vote for our own pay-increases, what's the problem?

    2. Charlton Heston: Soylent Green is people!

      Police Chief: Actually, Soylent Green is politicians, so we're OK.

      1. If I'm not going to eat pork that was fed politicians, I'm not sure how you're going to convince me to eat the politicians straight-up.

  7. Now how the hell can I power my easy bake oven?

    1. Jeez, next your going to tell us you use wood for cooking fuel. Why do you hate Gaia?

      1. She's a cold bitch.

    2. I'd best stock up on bulbs for my lava-lamp collection...

      1. Oh SHIT!

        "Only druggies use incandescants."

        Should work like gangbusters.

        1. You know who else used incandescents...

          1. Except Goebbles had limited success with the Easy Bake Oven: Holocaust Edition.

            1. That would take a long time. Economies of scale and whatnot.

    3. Don't use a 75W bulb in an EZ Bake unless you plan to have your daughter eat the cake with a spoon! Recent experience!

      1. *insert disappointed anecdote from user who misunderstood the "Same Performance as 100W Incandescent" labeling on his 45W CFL.*

        1. excerpt from that Customer Review:

          "...and the bulb wouldn't even fit, I had to smash it up a little bit to get it in the oven."

  8. On the subject of Easy-Bake Ovens:

    Hasbro started putting heating elements in them in 2006. Someone read the winds-of-change well that day.


      Here it still requires the 100 watt bulb.

      1. The "Easy Bake Oven" model with the element was apparently discontinued and recalled pretty fast. So much for their prescient business sense.

        Though, there's also the "Easy Bake Real Meal Oven", which has run off an element since it was released in 2003. Apparently also discontinued since then.

        Poor Hasbro, light bulbs are dangerous to the environment (*chortle*) but other heat sources are too dangerous to children (*more laughter*, fucking noobs).

        1. Oh, and thx Leigh, for making me do research on the Easy Bake Oven to clarify the incomplete information I got from wikipedia.

  9. I sense a market opportunity for foor to door sales of 151 watt light bulbs.

    1. door to door

      1. Four to the Floor, Door to Door, 151Watt Bulbs And 151 Proof Rum.

        Wylie's Kickass Delivery Service

    2. actually, on a serious note, this might really be a market opportunity for glass blowers. From one illicit product to another.

  10. Just wait 'til the Mexican counterfeit light bulb cartel start shooting up the aisles at Home Depot.

  11. Presenting... Heatball!
    The most original invention since the electric light bulb! Although a heatball is technically very similar to a light bulb, it is a heater rather than a source of light.

    Heatballs fit into commonly found E27 and E14 sockets. Its efficiency [more...] is unprecedented.

    1. Its efficiency [more...] is unprecedented.

      Yeah, no precedent like that has been set since the 1st time someone ran current through a nichrome wire. Nobody tell Sunbeam (or whoever makes your toaster).

    2. I can't quite tell exactly how much sarcasm is being used on that site. Is the Heatball just an incandescent light bulb?

  12. Great opportunity for the Kennedy Clan, which apparently is running out of juice: 200 proof light bulbs...

  13. why would anyone still run incandescent? if you're concerned about mercury go buy led bulbs instead, they last 50 times longer than compact fluorescents without any of the "negative" side effects.

    the government comes up with stuff like this for the public good. how is this a "bad" thing again? gee, smoking kills, trans fat kills, and using less energy is a good thing.

    wah! wah! nanny state! nanny state!

  14. - Most fully warm up in seconds
    - the light is the same color temperature as an incandescent and has only 15% less color rendering
    - more mercury pollutes the environment from burning coal to power 100-yr old technology than throwing away a CFL
    -Lifetime...I still have CFLs in my house that I date with a sharpie when I installed them - One is still dated 2003 and works fine.
    - under $2.00 a lamp is what you call costing nearly 10x as much - what are you drinking
    - Dimmable CFL's have been available for YEARS
    - There is no interference issues, CFL's operate at over 20kHz

    Try to 'reason' with these FACTS, bozo

  15. Has anyone heard of Thorium? Carlos Rubbia came up with the ADS Thorium nuclear reactor, which is sub-critical, spelled "SAFE" nuclear waste to speak of and abundant safe fuel...

  16. There were many claims in this opinion piece that either were false or were also true for incandescent bulb, like the bulb's life is diminished if it is turned on and off more frequently. The claims don't add because they lack substnace. At some point these guys need to stop using the freedom argument to continue being wasteful and stupid. There has to be a point where the really stupid stuff, especially the stuff that impacts the rest of us when enough idiots do it, gets banned for the sake of the greater good. It's part of growing up.

  17. Creativity should be celebrated, not Destruction.

    Celebrating creativity is about recognizing the advantages that different products have.
    That is why they exist for people to choose.
    And it includes ordinary incandescent light bulbs compared to Halogens, CFLs, LEDs?.

    President Obama, State of the Union Address 25 January 2011:
    What we can do - what America does better than anyone - is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.
    We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices,
    the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers..

    Yes Mr President, Creative America, the nation of Edison:
    Would you not have allowed him to create his popular light bulb?

    And so it came to pass, in the autumn of 1879, after tireless effort working with different materials, Thomas Edison finally arrived at the ingenious invention we still see today, the Edison light bulb, the world's single most popular electrical appliance and the oldest electrical invention in widespread common use:
    A beautifully simple, safe, cheap, bright light delivering construction.

    Maybe the time will come when, like its cousin the gleaming radio tube, it gradually fades away, the passing of old technology.

    But let it be a democratic passing by the will of the people,
    not a passing by committee dictats and decrees.

    How many American, European or other officials should it take to change a light bulb?
    How many citizens should be allowed to choose?
    Everyone. compares free markets, taxation and regulation on light bulbs

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