My guess is that part of the reason consumers buy more TVs, dishwashers and laptops is because those purchases tend to be planned and budgeted. The cost of upgrading to Energy Star for those products also tends to be measured in tens — not hundreds — of dollars.
When the dryer goes out unexpectedly and you're forced to replace it, spending an extra few hundred dollars more for the Energy Star model may be much harder.
My wife and I are still using the inefficient washer and dryer we bought 12 years ago when we were newlyweds and still in college. I've dismantled and rebuilt both to replace key parts, but they're still running.
My wife already has picked out the energy-efficient, front-loading model she wants when our current appliances have spun their last spin.
But until then, we unfortunately will be like the more than 40 percent of Americans still using the old, inefficient models.