Y'all heard about the latest GAO investigation? Seems like the entire Energy Star program is a shuck, and the blue star labels are meaningless. The program---administered jointly by EPA and the Energy Department---supposedly identifies appliances that are energy saving. By definition, in order to earn a blue star, the appliance must operate on at least 25% less energy than the established minimums. I noticed, when we recently bought a new refrigerator, that energy-starred products were all slightly more expensive. But with that kind of lower energy use they should, in theory, pay for themselves pretty quickly. So, again in theory, it should be a great program. Uh, huh! Turns out, there is no independent testing to establish how much energy is used, and the Energy Star people merely take the manufacturer's word for it. Some appliences tested as part of the investigation actually used more energy, rather than less. So you'd wind up paying a premium for the item, and incur higher operating costs as well. Meanwhile, GAO applied for, and recieved, Energy Star certification on several phony appliances and companies. Among the telling blows: 1. A gasolene operated alarm clock. No kidding. 2. A room freshioner that was merely a space heater with a feather duster attached to it. 3. Four, count 'em four, non-existent companies who earned the right to affix blue stars to their non-existent products. So, if anyone is in the market for a new stove, or fridge, or other kitchen appliance, just ignore the blue stars and choose based on features and pricetag. You'll probably come out ahead in the end.