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Lights Out: Government Pulls Plug on 75-Watt Incandescent Light Bulb

New regulations pull the plug on the 75-watt incandescent light bulb.

As we say goodbye to 2012, we're also saying goodbye to a fixture in America's lighting fixtures:  The 75-watt incandescent light bulb.

Under federal law, 75-watt bulbs can no longer be produced or imported as of January 1st, though retailers can still clear remaining stock.

There's a green reason behind flipping the switch on incandescent bulbs.

"90 percent of the energy the bulb uses is wasted, so what they replaced them with are much more energy-efficient bulbs which as just as bright, just as good and will actually save you money over the long run," explains Consumer Reports' Celia Kuperzmid-Lehrman. 

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

Two options for consumers are Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diode bulbs, or LEDs.

LED bulbs are expensive, but prices are dropping.

The future is dim for incandescent bulbs.

Traditional 60 and 40 watt bulbs will be phased out in 2014.

When replacing a bulb, the experts at Consumer Reports say to choose a new one that's the same size or smaller to be sure it fits the fixture. 

Dimmers require dimmable bulbs and lights used outdoors must be designed for exterior use. 

Be sure to check the bulb package for specific details.
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