My bliss arrived on a FedEx truck
Hybrids 'til you heave

Pace accelerating for tax-saving autos

I was going to take down the hybrid vehicle poll results yesterday, but two things stopped me.

First, TypePad crashed. OK, it only partially crashed. You still could read the blog, but when I went to update it Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't.

And, secondly, by the time I was able to get around to tweaking the blog, more hybrid data had come down the pike. Specifically, the IRS announced additional vehicles that could help you save gas and cut your 2006 tax bill.

So with the IRS starting to resemble an auto dealership, releasing yet more data on vehicles that could help you save gas and cut your 2006 tax bill, the related poll results stay up. And now, here's the latest tax motoring news.

General Motors has finally entered the hybrid tax credit sweepstakes, with nine vehicles now certified for credits ranging from $250 to $650.

Honda has upped the credit currency competition, placing two cars that run on compressed natural gas on the on the tax-favored list. These vehicles offer breaks greater than that those given to hybrid buyers.

Time running out for Toyota tax savings: I don't mean to sound like one of those late-night cable TV auto ads, but fans of Toyota hybrids, including Lexus luxury models, need to get to a dealer ASAP. The tax credit for these vehicles will be reduced on those bought after Sept. 30.

Last year's energy legislation that created the new tax credit for hybrids also set limits on them, discussed in the "60,000 countdown clock" section of this earlier post.

Basically, once a car maker sells 60,000 hybrids, the tax benefits to buyers starts shrinking. Since Toyota has met that limit, buyers will face the first cuts beginning Oct. 1. So if you want one of the eight eligible Toyota/Lexus hybrids and the maximum tax break, too, get to the dealer now.

Gm_logo_small GM goes green: General Motors finally has some, nine to be precise, hybrids on the approved list.
They are:

  • 2006 GMC Sierra (4WD) hybrid pickup truck, $650 
  • 2007 GMC Sierra (4WD) hybrid pickup truck, $650 
  • 2006 Chevrolet Silverado (4WD) hybrid pickup truck, $650 
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado (4WD) hybrid pickup truck, $650 
  • 2006 GMC Sierra (2WD) hybrid pickup truck, $250 
  • 2007 GMC Sierra (2WD) hybrid pickup truck, $250 
  • 2006 Chevrolet Silverado (2WD) hybrid pickup truck, $250 
  • 2007 Chevrolet Silverado (2WD) hybrid pickup truck, $250 
  • 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line, $650

While I'm sure many of my fellow Texans will be thrilled to see pickups on the tax credit list, judging from the amounts, they obviously aren't the most fuel-saving members of the hybrid family.

To see the previously approved hybrids GM is competing against, check out my earlier post listing IRS-certified Ford, Honda and Toyota vehicles.

Fill 'er up with compressed gas: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 that created the credit for hybrids also offers tax breaks for three other types of energy-efficient vehicles: fuel cell vehicles, advanced lean burn technology vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles.

Honda is the first to take advantage of the other possibilities, with its 2005 and 2006 Civic GX models qualifying in the alternative fuel category. Each of these will get you a $4,000 tax credit.

Cng_tanks_in_auto_2 The CNG goes into pressure tanks which, in this pictured but not yet tax-credit eligible Daimler-Chrysler car, are located behind the trunk lining.

A primary concern many have about such vehicles is access to the fuel. You can find options in your area at this alternative fuels search page operated by the Department of Energy.

Judging from the fueling instructions offered by this filling station, though, it sounds like you might need to take an F1 pit crew along with you!

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