While doing my morning online perusal of the major metropolitan daily newspapers, I came across an Associated Press report that says the U.S. Energy Department has decided to increase the minimum-efficiency levels of furnaces by about 3 percent by 2015.

Residential gas units will have to increase efficiency from 78 percent to 80 percent, with oil-using furnaces having to meet an 83 percent efficiency level.

The story noted that at least one-third of new furnaces meet or exceed the new standards. It also included criticism from environmental groups, who were pushing for 90 percent efficiency ratings or regional standards that would allow cold-weather states to set even higher efficiency levels.

Snips has reported that Congress is considering a bill to allow such regional standards.

It was appropriate that the AP story included criticism of the new rules, but I was surprised that it didn't include any comments from the major equipment makers. Obviously they had a stake in the debate and presumably were consulted. Every story on higher fuel-economy standards for cars includes comments from automakers. What gives?

Let me know what you think.

I found the story on the Detroit News' Web site:

www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071120/POLITICS/711200390/1022.