(WBIR-Knoxville) The new year marks the beginning of the end for America's most popular light bulb.

Starting Jan. 1, the U.S. will stop manufacturing and importing incandescent light bulbs in favor of ones more energy-efficient.

The phase out started with 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent light bulbs in 2012 and 2013. The last phase out will include the 60-watt and 40-watt.

When 2014 comes, stores will still be able to sell them.

All the Ace Hardware stores in Knoxville buy from the same warehouse.

"So as long as they have them, we can get them. When they run out, we run out," said Eric Dunn, assistant manager at the Ace Hardware of Halls.

American Lighting Inc says 60W light bulbs are not going away, they have just been reincarnated into 43W halogen bulbs.

"It's a halogen filament instead of an incandescent filament. What that means is they're able to reduce the energy efficiency by 27% but keep the same output as the 60W bulb," said Stacy Gray, sales manager for American Lighting Inc.

The 43W halogen light bulb can be up to three times more expensive, but it uses less energy.

Dunn said instead of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the most expensive option, customers are buying compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and halogens. Sales have been up on both at Ace Hardware of Halls for the past six months.

"Instead of doing it all at one time, they're coming in and buying five or 10 at a time and replacing them as they go. So eventually all their light bulbs will be a CFL or a halogen, something that's more efficient," Dunn said.

Dunn and Gray both agree that consumers should not panic and buy large loads of the 60W and 40W incandescents.

Both American Lighting Inc and Ace Hardware of Halls said they are still stocked with both.

When President George W. Bush signed the federal energy bill, it was estimated the phase out would eventually save Americans $13 billion on their annual energy bills.

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