Tim Haab is hopping mad about bans on non-deadly goods:

…and I slam my head against the wall screaming “Why, Why…WHHHHHYYYYY!?”

Bans on non-deadly goods are bad economic policy.  Period. 

[…]

I’m starting a new campaign:  Ban bans.

I’ll join his campaign, but part of the proposal he is criticizing is this:

A new labeling requirement could be introduced to inform consumers of products’ annual energy consumption compared with other similar appliances.

I actually like this part; it sounds like a good idea. At least, I think an on-appliance labeling requirement explaining the power costs of the appliance is a good idea. If the government wants the public to reduce its energy usage, the first step is to make it easier for individuals to know what the energy margin looks like. We already require nutrition labeling, and the analogy between these two situations is strong; like unhealthy food, without labeling, the costs of power hungry appliances are not immediately apparent.

I am curious why such labeling is not already common. The most efficient appliances, at least, should have an incentive to label themselves. I’m sure there’s some research out there on this type of thing.