US to phase out incandescent bulbs on 2 January

It is the end of the road for 40 and 60-watt in candescent light bulbs in the US, as their manufacture would be discontinued at the start of 2014.

This follows the 75 and 100-watt light bulb phase out at the beginning of 2013.

Their place would be taken by halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs and high-efficiency incandescents, that are regular incandescents with their filament wrapped in gas.

All are somewhat more expensive than the conventional light bulbs but offer significant energy and costs savings over the long run.

Availability of some incandescent such as three-way bulbs, would not be affected.

Some consumers who are already faced with higher prices for a variety of goods, are not likely to take kindly to the change.

The development is also expected to raise the hackles of Tea Party Republicans since the ban was the result of the final phase of government-mandated efficiency standards.

The rules that were signed into law by president George W Bush in 2007 have been designed to address gross inefficiencies with old light bulbs.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 10 per cent of the energy used by the conventional bulbs is converted to light, while the rest is wasted as heat.

Meanwhile, retail chain Home Depot is urging consumers to buy the bulbs while they still can.

''Get them while you still can,'' the nation's largest bulb retailer urges on its website. ''Stock up on incandescent light bulbs before they are completely discontinued.''

That is, however, incorrect say commentators. The law does not require that manufacturers discontinue their bulbs, just their improvement, with 40W bulbs required to draw 10.5W, and 60W bulbs 11W.

The result would be the same though, with incandescents simply unable to keep up with the twisty compact fluorescent (CFLs) and newer LED bulbs, and even retailers as the end date nears.

Fox News quoted Mark Voykovic, the store's national light bulb merchant as saying the retailer anticipated running out of their stock of 40W to 60W bulbs six months into 2014.

According to the retail giant, it had made ''a concerted effort'' to educate employees and customers about the phaseout before then.