The lights go out on 75-watt light bulbs

(NBC)   As 2012 becomes an afterthought, Americans can also add one other item to the past – the 75-watt incandescent light bulb.

As of Jan. 1, federal law dictates that 75-watt light bulbs can no longer be produced or imported in the United States. Retailers that still have them in stock can sell them until they run out.

By 2014, traditional 60- and 40-watt bulbs will also be phased out.

The reason for the Thomas Edison invention’s demise is energy based.

“90 percent of the energy the bulb uses is wasted,” said Celia Kuperzmid-Lehrman of Consumer Reports. “What they replaced them with are much more energy-efficient bulbs.”

Kuperzmid-Lehrman stated that the replacements for the incandescent bulb are also as bright and will save consumers more money over time.

Most screw-in bulbs must use at least 27 percent less energy by 2014.

The remaining options for consumers are Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diode bulbs (LEDs).

While a reason for consumer resistance to LED bulbs is cost, prices for are dropping.

When replacing a bulb, experts at Consumer Reports suggest choosing bulbs the same size or smaller to be sure it fits the fixture. Specialized fixtures, such as dimmers, have specific bulbs for those needs, so check bulb packaging for specific details.

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