Call it "Cash for Clunkers" for washing machines. Appliance rebates are coming this fall, aimed at spurring the economy and helping consumers saving on energy costs. Rebates, probably in the neighborhood of $50 to $200, will be available for Energy Star washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and more.
This is something to keep in mind if some of your appliances are on their last legs. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the program will work. Instead of being administered by the government, $300 million has been distributed to states, which will decide which appliances will be eligible, and how much of a rebate you're entitled to.
States have until October 15 to present their plan of attack to the government, which includes not only the roster of eligible Energy Star appliances, but also a recycling plan for old washers, dryers and fridges. That means each state will have different rules and restrictions, and each state will have to publicize it's program. That's throwing a wrench in the plans of national stores and manufacturers, who'd like to be able to advertise that their appliances are eligible for rebates. Instead, publicity will vary state by state.
If you need a new appliance right now, be sure to check with your utility companies. Many states already offer some kind of rebate for buying Energy Star appliances. And the Energy Star website has a handy rebate finder to help you look for discounts by zip code.