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Steve Chiotakis: We’re gonna hear in the next few days about Uncle Sam’s plans to phase out the Cash for Clunkers program. But it doesn’t mean government rebates are going away. If you’re going appliance shopping, you might want to hold out until the fall. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth is here to tell us about the government’s latest economy-stimulating rebate program. She joins us from our New York bureau. Good morning Alisa.
Alisa Roth: Good morning.
Chiotakis: So tell us a little about this plan.
Roth: Well when Congress approved the stimulus package this year, it included $300 million to be used as rebates to get consumers to buy new, more energy-efficient appliances. This is something the appliances industry has been pushing for, for a couple of years now, but it’s only this last round Congress approved it.
Chiotakis: So I trade in my old dishwasher and get some money back? How does this work?
Roth: Well it’s only one place where the plan is actually different from the Cash for Clunkers. You don’t have to turn in your old dishwasher or washing machine or whatever to get the money. You just buy a new appliance with an Energy Star rating — so that means they meet the EPA and the Energy Department’s highest rating standards — and then you can get as much as $200 back.
Chiotakis: So is this an environmental program, Alisa? Or is this an economic one?
Roth: Well it’s both, just like Cash for Clunkers. So one part is getting people to upgrade to more energy-efficient machines. And the other is to stimulate the economy by encouraging people to buy expensive stuff.
Chiotakis: And I guess the biggest question folks want to know: When does it start?
Roth: No official date yet, but probably sometime in the late fall.
Chiotakis: All right, Marketplace’s Alisa Roth joining us from New York. Alisa, thanks.
Roth: You’re welcome.
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