"Clunkers" are gone. Is "Dollars for Dishwashers" next?

Nebraskans may soon be able to get new rebates on their old appliances. The Cash for Clunkers program, which offered government rebates to trade in old gas-guzzling cars for new vehicles, expired Monday. Now, a similar program is being developed for home appliances, from refrigerators and dishwashers to washers and driers.

Appliance store manger Lyle Bischof says it could bring a lot of customers into his business. “They’re going to get rid of those old appliances that might be sitting in the garage or the basement,” Bischof said.

The new government rebate program will give consumers cash when they trade out old appliances for certain “Energy Star” appliances. Instead of Cash for Clunkers, this program may be nicknamed Dollars for Dishwashers.

Bischof, pointing at a new washing machine, says people could also save about $150 on their annual energy bill. “It’s just so much more efficient…less water, less water softener, less gas to heat up the water,” Bischof said.

No one’s really sure yet how much the rebate will be or exactly which appliances will qualify. The program should begin either late this year or early next year. The government rebate will accompany rebates already offered from gas and electric companies and manufacturers.

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