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Ford hybrid at a car show - tax credits for green cars about to expireThere's a lot hype around electric and extended-range hybrid vehicles these days. One of the reasons people and companies are buying them, though, are the generous federal and state tax credits that bring down their costs.

But while 100% EVs like the Tesla EV roadster and Nissan Leaf, and extended-range EV Hybrids like the Chevy Volt, will continue to be eligible for $7,500 tax credits in the new year, government incentives for some hybrids, "clean diesel" and natural gas vehicles are expiring unless they get extended by Congress in the lame duck session.

The $4,000 tax credit for the CNG-powered Honda Civic GX, the $2,200 credit for many of GM's Chevrolet and GMC hybrid SUV's, the $1,550 tax break for some of BMW's hybrid SUV's and the $650 credit for many of the Volkswagen and Audi turbo diesels will go by the wayside on December 31 unless Congress acts.

Tax breaks for better-selling cars such the Toyota Prius hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid and Honda Insight hybrid previously expired because their sales exceeded federal quotas regarding how many cars can qualify for the credit.

Fueleconomy.gov has more information about the remaining tax credits on all "green" vehicles.
The Nat-Gas Honda Civic GX never caught on. But VW and Audi sell thousands of clean-diesel vehicles, which get between 25% and 35% better fuel economy than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel vehicles typically cost a few thousand dollars more than gas counterparts, though, and seasonal prices for diesel fuel can be 20 to 40 cents a gallon more than regular gas.

Attempts to decrease taxes on diesel to make it more attractive have gotten little traction in Congress. In Europe, almost half of new vehicles sold are clean-diesel, because countries have taxed regular gasoline higher, making diesel a deal.

New electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and those from Tesla, and plug-in Hybrids like the Chevy Volt, are eligible for credits of $7,500. [Click those links for reviews and information on the vehicles from AOL].

For the complete list of vehicles and the tax credits that will be expiring, as well as those that will continue (barring changes from Congress) go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxcenter.shtml.

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