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Cash for Things Other Than Clunkers

You may remember the government's "cash for clunkers" program. It burned fast and bright last July. Now the EPA is planning to use some of that...

You may remember the government's "cash for clunkers" program. It burned fast and bright last July. Now the EPA is planning to use some of that same stimulus money to launch a similar cash incentive scheme for household appliances in November.

The rebate program ... provides $300 million in federal funds to encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances. But it is unclear how much the appliance program will save in terms of energy consumption-and whether these appliances will be recycled or just end up in a landfill.... Consumers will be eligible for a rebate only if they buy products that meet federal Energy Star qualifications for appliance efficiency. Rebates under the program could range from $50 to $250, depending on the type of appliance.


The critical differences between this program and cash for clunkers: This time each state will come up with the details of the rebate program on its own, and the amount of rebate money each states gets will depend on its population. One concern, however, is what happens with people's old refrigerators and driers when they get a new one. Should they be forced to get rid of them?If you're curious how much energy these efficient appliances might save, check out this Greenpeace post. It estimates that "energy efficient appliances" use two to 10 times less energy, and gives them partial credit for the differences in residential energy use in the chart below (OECD just refers to free-market democracies).

And, if you were curious, residential energy use accounts for just over 11 percent of total energy use in the United States.Anyway, if you're in the market for a better fridge, wait until November.Image of Fridgehenge via
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