Appliance version of Cash for Clunkers

Appliance dealers in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California are gearing up for potentially robust business when the state's new Cash for Appliances rebate program kicks off Thursday.

If Illinois is any indication, the $35.2 million - a portion of $300 million in federal stimulus funds available nationwide - allocated to California could expire quickly. The $6.5 million available in Illinois ran out in only 11 hours.

Some Valley stores say they plan to open extra early to cash in, according to The Fresno Bee.

The goal is to get families to replace energy-guzzling washers, air conditioners and other appliances with new efficient models. The program coincides with Earth Day.