From a New York Times article on Wal-Mart's (yes, Wal-Mart's) efforts to increase sales of compact fluorescent lightbulbs:
A compact fluorescent has clear advantages over the widely used incandescent light -- it uses 75 percent less electricity, lasts 10 times longer, produces 450 pounds fewer greenhouse gases from power plants and saves consumers $30 over the life of each bulb. But it is eight times as expensive as a traditional bulb, gives off a harsher light and has a peculiar appearance.Having lived with these bulbs for four days, I can't agree that the light is harsh. Nor am I bothered by the bulbs' resemblance to soft-serve cones. (Don't people usually keep their lightbulbs under shades or enclosed in fixtures anyway?) Compact fluorescent bulbs take a bit of time to reach their full brightness, but their advantages make that slight delay easy to accept. I can remember as a kid having to wait for the radio and television to warm up.
As a result, the bulbs have languished on store shelves for a quarter century; only 6 percent of households use the bulbs today.
Which is what makes Wal-Mart’s goal so wildly ambitious. If it succeeds in selling 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs a year by 2008, total sales in the United States would increase by 50 percent, saving Americans $3 billion in electricity costs and avoiding the need to build additional power plants for the equivalent of 450,000 new homes.
Power-Sipping Bulbs Get Backing From Wal-Mart (New York Times)
An Inconvenient Truth