Cash for Kitchen Clunkers

The wait for the federal appliance rebate program -- nicknamed Cash for Kitchen Clunkers -- is finally over.  States across the country have begun rolling out individual plans for spending their portion of the $300 million government attempt to reduce household energy usage.

The program (which varies by state) covers most major household appliances and encourages families to replace power-hungry machines with energy efficient models that meet the Energy Star requirements. Energy Star appliances currently account for 55 percent of all new appliances sold.

Participants in the program will receive $50 to $200 in rebates when they purchase energy efficient appliances. Additionally they will save about 10-15 percent on their monthly utility bills and buyers of Energy Star appliances will receive a federal tax credit of 30 percent on up to $1,500 in purchases.

Early evidence suggests that these rebates have been successful at stimulating appliance manufacturers, retailers and the economy. Kansas, one of the first states to offer the rebate in January, dispersed its entire $2.7 million allotment within the first month of the program.

New York and Georgia residents were among those eligible for rebates last Friday; Texas and Oklahoma will launch their programs in April.

When can you get in on the savings? Check to see when your state's appliance rebate program begins, and which appliances qualify.

Are you planning to participate?  Do you have an old, energy-hogging appliance just begging to be wheeled to the curb?  Tell us how you plan to take advantage of this new program. 

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