Officials from the Energy Department adopted a new final rule last year that requires single-section and multi-section mobile homes to meet new climate-dependent energy conservation measures. The new standards are estimated to raise the cost of large mobile homes between $4,100 and $4,500, marking a significant increase from the $81,400 average costs for newly manufactured mobile homes, according to data from the Census Bureau.
Scott, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote in a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that the new policy will continue to “raise costs for families” seeking affordable homeownership opportunities in a constrained housing market. He added that the standards are “overly broad, unduly burdensome, and undermine commonsense efforts to increase supply and assist families looking for affordable housing opportunities” even as they ask consumers to “bear the costs imposed by climate alarmists.”
Energy Department officials have meanwhile asserted that the final rule will save mobile home residents over time as they pay less for power. The standards call for more stringent duct and air sealing, insulation, and hot water system specifications.
“Manufactured housing is truly one of the best opportunities for helping families realize the dream of homeownership, accounting for roughly six percent of housing stock and being the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the country,” Scott continued. “I ask that you immediately delay implementation of this rule to provide hard-working families relief from this costly and misguided regulation.”
The Biden administration, which has established a “whole-of-government effort” to reduce carbon emissions and incentivize green energy production, drafted a number of similar regulations over the past two years. Officials have introduced new emissions rules for household appliances such as gas stoves; Granholm nevertheless admitted that she personally owns one of the popular appliances.
Controversy over the potential regulations on gas stoves emerged earlier this year when Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in an interview that the products constitute a “hidden hazard” and declared that “any option is on the table” for a nationwide prohibition. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later posted a statement asserting that neither he nor the agency planned to outlaw gas stoves.
The new standards for mobile homes come after residential real estate prices increased substantially in the years following the lockdown-induced recession, which caused supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages that increased the cost of properties. Home sale prices increased from $322,600 in the second quarter of 2020 to $467,700 in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Elevated mortgage rates induced by actions from the Federal Reserve to combat inflation, on the other hand, recently caused the first year-over-year decline in median home prices in more than a decade even as properties become less affordable. Apartment rental markets are meanwhile seeing decreases in typical unit sizes, indicating pressure from the cost constraints and a reversal from the desire for larger properties that corresponded with lockdowns as households spent more time in their homes and breadwinners relied more on remote work.