Auto Tax Credits For Eco-Friendly Hybrid Cars

By dancurranjr On May 25th, 2009

irsAuto tax incentives for Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are being phased out later in 2009. However, there could be new tax credits for these eco-friendly cars. The whole purpose of these tax deductions is to reduce the amount of carbon emissions, which provide cleaner air quality.

The tax incentives started with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which replaces the clean-fuel burning deduction with a tax credit. A tax credit is subtracted directly from the total amount of federal tax owed, thus reducing or even eliminating the taxpayer’s tax obligation. The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to electric vehicles purchased or placed in service on or after January 1, 2006.

The credit is only available to the original purchaser of a new qualifying vehicle. If a qualifying vehicle is leased to a consumer, the leasing company may claim the credit. The Hybrid vehicle must also have a drive train powered by both an internal combustion engine and a rechargeable battery.

This is a list of some of the models, which qualify, including the amount for the tax credit:

  • Chrysler Aspen Hybrid – $2,200
  • Dodge Durango Hybrid – $2,200
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Nissan Altima Hybrid – $2,350

This is not a complete list and there might be another wave of tax credits for all-electric vehicles. Most automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota are already building new prototypes. These prototypes will enter the market in late 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Critics of the Energy Policy Act and the recent tax credits say the government should do more to help convert gasoline powered automobiles to Hybrid and electric solutions. For example, the government is already phasing out the tax credits during the economic recession. The critics feel that the tax credits should be extended for at least another 24 months.

The tax credits started with a $7,500 deduction which actually helped the new Hybrids gain respect and awareness. However, consumers can still save fuel costs as most of the new Hybrids can travel up to 50 miles without using a single drop of gasoline. As gas prices rise, drivers can switch the vehicle from gas to electric power for shorter travel rides.

Chrysler Begins Production of Hybrid SUVs

By dancurranjr On August 26th, 2008

Chrysler LLC’s new Hybrid Electric Vehicles began rolling off the assembly line last week at its Newark, Del. assembly plant.

Chrysler is offering the two-mode hybrid powertrain on both vehicles built at the plant, Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. Both offer substantially improved MPG over their conventional counterparts.

In order to smoothly add one of the automotive industry’s most advanced technologies into their established build process, cross-functional launch teams conducted highly accurate, cost-effective computer simulation of new assembly processes. Similar efforts were conducted at tooling suppliers.

“The implementation of this new manufacturing process was done intelligently, with both quality and cost in mind,” said Joe Ozdowy, plant manager of Newark Assembly. “I’d like to congratulate and thank the team for their dedication while bringing these important new products to market to help satisfy the changing needs of our Dodge and Chrysler customers.”

“The members of UAW Local 1183 continue to prove that they have the expertise, the experience, the training and the professionalism to successfully accomplish the most demanding and complex work,” said Larry Dixon, President of UAW Local 1183. “This demonstration of excellence is something the men and women of UAW 1183 and UAW 1212 should be proud of.”

The production of early pilot vehicles was done on the plant’s assembly line which helped to root out anomalies early in the pre-production process, helping to ensure a higher quality launch.

Production of vehicles with the hybrid powertrain differs in several ways from production of those with conventional powertrains. New processes were implemented to accommodate HEV production, including a unique powertrain assembly process, and ergonomic-assist systems to aid in new functions, such as HEV battery installation.

There are several unique components associated with HEV production that are installed at the plant, including:

* 300-volt battery
* Two-mode transmission
* Torque power inverter module (TPIM)
* Electric air conditioning
* Auxiliary power module
* High-voltage cables (AC and DC)
* Hydro-electric power steering pump
* Hybrid gate way module
* Cooling module

The patented hybrid-electric drive system was developed at a Troy laboratory in partnership with General Motors, Daimler and BMW. It offers all-electic operations at low speeds and modest loads, and elecric assist plus cylinder deactivation during straight-and-level high-speed cruising. It also uses regenerative braking to use the energy normally dissipated as heat during braking to recharge the vehicle’s battery pack.

Pricing for the full-size 4×4 sport-utility hybrid electric vehicles is nearly $8,000 below the competition introduced earlier this year by GM. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the new 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI(R) Hybrid is $45,340, including $800 for destination. The MSRP for the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid is $45,570, including $800 for destination. Additionally, customers are expected to receive an estimated tax credit of $1,800.


Many Trading in Gas Guzzlers for Better Fuel Efficiency

By dancurranjr On August 24th, 2008

Belinda Lafferty of Monticello has joined the many drivers who are buying smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles because of the high price of gasoline.”I was on this almost two years ago when I got rid of my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited for a brand new Toyota Yaris-S, which gets about 40 miles per gallon,” she said earlier this week.

“I commute from Monticello to Lafayette five days a week, so this has been a great investment for me. I will never go back.”Lafferty participated in an informal reader survey that asked people if they have bought a more fuel-efficient vehicle or are thinking about buying one.

Going For Groceries!

Going For Groceries!

In June, overall car sales in the United States fell 18.3 percent, according to Autodata Corp. — the worst June in 17 years.However, sales of the smaller, fuel-efficient models were up for GM, Ford, Honda and Toyota. Kia reported a 7.6 percent increase in June, according to Autodata Corp.

Consumer Reports magazine tested and rated smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles in June. The Toyota Prius base hybrid model the magazine’s staff tested led in overall miles per gallon with 44.The U.S. Department of Energy’s fuel efficiency site,, rates the Prius hybrid at 48 miles per gallon in the city and 45 miles per gallon on the highway.

Consumer Reports also gave high ratings to models offered by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Mini Cooper and Mazda.Nate Barrett of Twin City Dodge Chrysler said people visit his showroom and start asking about gas mileage first.

“It is on people’s minds,” he said. “Even as gas comes down, people don’t feel it will get significantly lower.”They ask what our best offering is for fuel efficiency and ask about how they can maximize their gas mileage.”He said Chrysler and Dodge offer several cars that get at least 30 mpg on the highway. He said the 2009 models will include two hybrid SUVs — a Dodge Durango and a Chrysler Aspen.

Caterpillar engineer Robert Fultz said he has checked out two hybrids — a Toyota Prius and a Honda Civic. He is seriously considering buying one of them.He drives a full-size Toyota Tundra pickup, and his wife drives a Mazda minivan. They have two children.

“The technology behind the hybrid vehicles is phenomenal, and not many other cars can compete yet,” he said.”It is a real interesting time in the automotive world. People are moving away from the internal combustion engine and getting in tune with electric and hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles.”

David Hucks of Newtown said he recently traded a Ford F150 pickup truck for a Toyota Camry.”I have driven a truck for over 20 years, but no more,” he said.”Now I’m just looking for a junky truck to haul stuff around for my property, but driving a nice truck on a daily basis is in the past.”

Romney resident Butch Corbin said he is not buying a new, smaller car.

However, he is fixing up a 1990 Toyota truck to commute to work, instead of a gas-guzzling minivan. He estimated that he saves about $120 to $140 per month.”When gas hit the highs it did this summer, my old, beat-up, rusty truck started to look pretty good,” he said. “See, it gets much better gas mileage than the minivan — 35 mpg versus 20 mpg.

“Needless to say, the old truck has been cleaned up, new brakes, new shocks, tuned up, and it now gets driven daily, while the minivan goes for a spin once or twice a month.”John Taylor of Oxford said he traded his Z06 Corvette in on a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt.

“I don’t really want to drive it much myself, but as it gets an average of 29 mpg, it’s great for my daughter. The Z06 did get 30 down the highway, by the way,” he said.Lafayette’s Jimmy and Tish Golmicz said they traded in a 2006 Ford Expedition SUV for a 2008 Escape Hybrid. They said they now get 28 miles per gallon, instead of 12 miles per gallon.

“Although I miss the luxury of the Expedition, I love being able to pass a gas station,” she said.”In May, we also traded in my husband’s (Ford) E-250 work van, and he now drives a Ford Focus. He went from getting 9 mpg to getting 36 mpg.”

Source: JC Online

Chrysler’s 1st Hybrid SUV, The 2009 Aspen

By dancurranjr On August 19th, 2008

You can have your cake and eat it too with the roomy, luxurious Chrysler Aspen SUV gasoline-electric all-wheel-drive hybrid.

Well, most of the cake, anyway. Forget 30 mpg highway fuel economy in this truck-based SUV. But, hey, an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway on regular-grade fuel isn’t half bad — especially since the Aspen has a mighty 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. An Aspen non-hybrid all-wheel-drive model with the 5.7 Hemi delivers 13 city and 18 highway.

That Aspen hybrid system produces 385 horsepower and features the V-8’s seamless four-cylinder deactivation feature for better fuel economy while cruising. There are 380 pound-feet of torque for towing the boat to the lake.

A high point is the battery part of the Aspen hybrid system that lets you start it in dead silence and drive with the same ghostly quiet in congested city/suburban traffic at, say, 30 mph on battery power alone. The V-8 cuts in for added power when needed.

Many want a mid-size SUV such as the Aspen not because it’s a trendy fashion statement (those days are gone), but because they need lots of room and strong towing abilities. It seats up to eight with its fairly roomy third-row seat area.

Something like a Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid sedan won’t cut it for such folks, despite increased gasoline prices.

The 2009 Aspen I tested is Chrysler’s first production hybrid SUV, along with the similar 2009 Dodge Durango, which is a less luxurious version of the Aspen. The Aspen costs $44,770, or about $3,600 more than the gas version.

“But Aspen hybrid buyers get an $1,800 tax credit. And it comes fully equipped with all-wheel drive and such things as power heated leather upholstered front seats and a power tailgate because Chrysler feels it shouldn’t stint on features with this innovative vehicle,” said Chrysler central region spokesperson Wendy Orthman.

Other Aspen items include automatic climate control with front/rear air conditioning, navigation system, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3, power pedals, tilt wheel with radio controls, back-up camera, split/folding third seat — you name it.

In a way, the Aspen hybrid reminds me of the great old Chrysler luxury cars, which competed favorably with Cadillacs and Lincolns.

The few options include a sunroof, second-row DVD system, metallic paint and a trailer towing package.

Standard safety features include front- and curtain-side air bags, an electronic anti-skid system and anti-lock brakes.

The Aspen is very fast and generally drives like a big, fairly nimble car. The steering is nicely geared for quick moves, easy maneuvering in traffic and when getting into parking spots. Handling is good, and the well-controlled ride is comfortable, especially for a rugged truck-based vehicle. The brake pedal has a linear action for consistently smooth stops.

Door handles are large, as are door openings. But it calls for extra effort to get in and out of the Aspen’s quiet, upscale interior. Running boards help, especially for those with smaller shoe sizes.

The second-row seat flips forward to allow fairly easy entry to the third-seat area. That seat doesn’t allow much cargo area with its seatbacks in their normal position. But there’s plenty of cargo room with the second- and third-row seats flipped forward.

The large front seats are supportive, and controls are nicely placed — although sound system and climate controls should be larger. The nicely positioned front cupholders have a cover when not in use, but second-row cupholders are a stretch because they’re behind the front console at floor level.

The power tailgate is handy when your arms are full of groceries and such, but it moves up slowly and has no button for a power close. However, there are two deep indented areas to help manually yank it closed.

Yes, Chrysler is late to the SUV hybrid market, but the Aspen should make the wait worthwhile to those who need such a vehicle.

Source: Search Chicago

The Least and Most Fuel Efficient Hybrid Vehicles

By dancurranjr On August 18th, 2008

The 2000 Honda Insight - Hybrid gas mileage king.Nothing has come close to the Godfather of American-sold hybrid cars; the 73mpg 2000 Honda Insight.

It’s been 8 years since the Insight went on sale and the closest gas mileage any hybrid on the road today gets to the Insight is 46mpg – a 27mpg DECREASE. So much for “improving” technologies over time . . .

Here’s what passes as a hybrid today – the 11 least efficient hybrid vehicles:

1-2) (tie) Chrysler Aspen Hybrid & Dodge Durango Hybrid 19 MPG
3-5) (tie) Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Lexus LS 600h L, GMC Yukon Hybrid 21 MPG
6) Lexus GS 450h 23 MPG
7-8) (tie) Lexus RX 400h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid 26 MPG
9-11) (tie) Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 32 MPG

Consumerist, via Hybrid Cars [HybridCars]

The Most Efficient?

1) Toyota Prius: 46 MPG
2) Honda Civic: 42 MPG
3) Toyota Camry: 34 MPG
4) Nissan Altima: 34 MPG
5) Ford Escape / Mercury Mariner / Mazda Tribute (2wd): 32 MPG