Plan Would Divvy up $1 Million to Hybrid Buyers

By dancurranjr On May 6th, 2009

irsPurchasers of hybrid vehicles wouldn’t have to pay their first year’s state registration fee under a plan being pursued by the Office of Energy Conservation.

Energy Office officials want to use $1 million in federal funding to offer the incentive to purchase the fuel-saving cars over the next three years.

Marty Ramirez, a spokesman for the Energy Office, told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday that he expects the request to be approved by the federal Energy Department.

Under the proposal, the buyer of a hybrid car would receive from the automobile dealer a certificate to present at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV would accept the certificate as payment and bill the Energy Office for the registration fee.

“It will be on a first come, first served basis because there is no way to allocate it out to the dealers,” Ramirez said.

The average cost of the first year of registration for hybrid vehicles is about $500. The program would cover about 20,000 vehicles, Ramirez said.

The state should know by mid-June whether it can implement the program.

SOURCE: Las Vegas Sun

What are the Hybrid Car Credits Offered for the 2008 Tax Year?

By dancurranjr On March 28th, 2009

Washington Prius PHEVThe IRS offers credits on a number of hybrid nameplates, one alternative-fuel vehicle and four light-duty diesel models.

The credits range from $250 to $4,000 and vary according to make and model year.

Listed below are the available credits on qualifying models; if you purchased any of these models in 2008, these credits can be claimed on your 2008 tax return.
BMW
2009 335d: $900
2009 X5 xDrive35d: $1,800
Cadillac
2009 Escalade Hybrid: $2,200 (2WD) or $1,800 (4WD)
Chevrolet
2009 Malibu Hybrid: $1,550
2009 Tahoe Hybrid 2WD and 4WD: $2,200
2008 Malibu Hybrid: $1,300
2008 Tahoe Hybrid 2WD and 4WD: $2,200
2007 Silverado Hybrid: $250 (2WD) or $650 (4WD)
Chrysler
2009 Aspen Hybrid: $2,200
Dodge
2009 Durango Hybrid: $2,200
Ford
2009 Escape Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $1,950 (4WD)
2008 Escape Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $2,200 (4WD)
2007 Escape Hybrid: $2,600 (2WD) or $1,950 (4WD)
GMC
2009 Yukon Hybrid 2WD and 4WD: $2,200
2008 Yukon Hybrid 2WD and 4WD: $2,200
2007 Sierra Hybrid: $250 (2WD) or $650 (4WD)
Honda
2008 Civic Hybrid: $1,050†, $525‡
2008 Civic GX: $4,000**
2007 Accord Hybrid: $650†, $325‡
2007 Civic Hybrid: $1,050†, $525‡
Mazda
2009 Tribute Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $1,950 (4WD)
2008 Tribute Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $2,200 (4WD)
Mercedes-Benz
2009 GL320 Blutec Diesel: $1,800
2009 ML320 Blutec Diesel: $900
2009 R320 Blutec Diesel: $1,550
Mercury
2009 Mariner Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $1,950 (4WD)
2008 Mariner Hybrid: $3,000 (2WD) or $2,200 (4WD)
2007 Mariner Hybrid 4WD: $1,950
Nissan
2009 Altima Hybrid: $2,350
2008 Altima Hybrid: $2,350
2007 Altima Hybrid: $2,350
Saturn
2009 Aura Hybrid: $1,550
2009 Vue Hybrid: $1,550
2008 Aura Green Line: $1,300
2008 Vue Green Line: $1,550
2007 Aura Green Line: $1,300
2007 Vue Green Line: $650
Volkswagen
2009 Jetta TDI (sedan and wagon): $1,300

**Natural-gas powered Civic GX available in California and New York.
†If purchased from 1/1/08 to 6/30/08.
‡If purchased from 7/1/08 to 12/31/08. There is no credit for models bought on or after 1/1/09.

President Obama Announces Hybrid Tax Credit Plan

By dancurranjr On March 24th, 2009

Washington Prius PHEVPresident Barack Obama on Thursday said his administration’s plans to investment heavily in energy research during hard times will create the kinds of jobs and technology the United States needs to survive economically.

“I know it’s not easy,” Obama told employees at an electric-car plant here in California, home of a giant and hurting economy. “There are days I’m sure when progress seems fleeting and days when it feels like you’re making no progress at all. That’s how it feels in the White House sometimes, too.”

The president defended pumping billions of dollars into energy research, saying that sometimes great discoveries don’t happen in a flash of brilliance, but rather as the result of a deliberate effort over time.

His economic message had the twin aim of touting the $787 billion economic stimulus plan and building support for his $3.6 trillion budget plan. Both put an emphasis on so-called green enterprises, like plug-in electric cars that are designed to be fuel efficient and kinder to the environment.

“Even as our American automakers are undergoing some painful adjustments, they are also retooling and remaking themselves into an industry that can compete and win,” Obama said. “And millions of jobs depend on it.”

Back in Washington — which Obama was glad to escape for a couple of days — Republican leaders remain in vocal opposition to Obama’s budget plan.

The president is playing a bit of divide-and-conquer this week, pitting his Republican critics against GOP governors and mayors eager for the federal money that his hard-fought stimulus plan will bring.

Next on the list of Republican notables to embrace the president is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was to join Obama at a town hall meeting later on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Obama will tape an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” before flying back to Washington.

Congress recently enacted Obama’s stimulus bill without a single House Republican’s vote, and with only three GOP senators’ votes.

Republican governors have had mixed reactions to the massive measure. Some hardline conservatives, such as Mark Sanford of South Carolina, have rejected portions of the economic bounty.

Other GOP governors, including Charlie Crist of Florida, have welcomed Obama and the stimulus money. Schwarzenegger is casting his lot with that group.

The California governor also planned to meet with Obama in Washington on Friday, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat.

In Pomona, at the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, Obama got a look at its Garage of the Future, with a solar panel roof and a Ford Escape hybrid parked inside. Later, Obama toured a testing bay where white-coated technicians evaluate battery designs for electric cards.

“It’s spotless,” he marveled. “Where’s the grime? Where’s the dirt?”

Obama looked at an LCD displaying test results for batteries, was briefed on an environmental chamber where life cycle testing takes place and talked to technicians running tests on another Escape and a golf-cart-sized electric vehicle with its chassis open.

As Obama began his two-day Southern California visit Wednesday in Costa Mesa, the White House released a list of projects to be funded with stimulus money. They include adding an eastbound lane to the Riverside Freeway/SR91 in Orange County. Obama’s mention of the project drew cheers from a crowd of 1,300 that greeted him in Costa Mesa.

When a recently laid-off school teacher told Obama of her plight, he said the stimulus will help thousands of teachers nationwide keep their jobs.

Throughout the trip, Obama is playing the role of the embattled populist crusader, helping average Americans fight entrenched interests on Capitol Hill and Wall Street.

He said Southern California’s weather and conversations are much nicer than in Washington. The conversation Wednesday was more one-sided, to be sure, as the Costa Mesa crowd cheered, 2,500 miles from the Capitol’s shadow.

He defended his ambitious plan to overhaul health care, energy, education, taxes and spending policies in the coming months, against unidentified forces aligned against him.

“I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should focus on only one problem at a time: ‘our problem,”‘ Obama said. “But that’s just not the way it works.”

“You don’t get to choose between paying your mortgage bills or your medical bills,” he said, adding that the government also must tackle multiple challenges at the same time.

SOURCE: FOX LA

Form For Hybrid Car Tax Credit

By dancurranjr On March 10th, 2009

escalade-hybridWe’ve heard from some of you who purchased new hybrid cars this year and you’re looking to collect on a tax credit — but when you try to file, you’re told the proper form is not yet available.

The IRS tells us the form you need is the 8910, and it was delayed because of the new stimulus bill.

They’re working on getting everything together, and say it should be available no later than March 13. If you already filed without claiming this credit, you can make an amendment to your return after that date.

Seeking More Federal Money, GM and Chrysler Promise Greener Vehicles

By dancurranjr On February 23rd, 2009

gm-chrysler-general-motorsBoth General Motors and Chrysler made green vehicles a key part of their respective restructuring plan presented to federal officials this week, as the struggling U.S. car makers again asked for billions more in taxpayer funding.

Chrysler, which is requesting another $5 billion on top of the $4 billion it received in late 2008, plans to merge with Fiat. Chrysler says these steps will “leverage the advanced powertrain and small car technology that has made Fiat number one in Europe in ‘low’ CO2 [Carbon Dioxide] emissions.” (See Chrysler Restructuring Plan)

In addition to the $5 billion from the Treasury Department, the Chrysler plan further says it will need $6 billion from a Department of Energy program to help car companies make more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“To be viable on a long-term basis, we believe it is critical that Chrysler continues to pursue strategic partnerships/consolidation to be both operationally viable, i.e. meet energy and environmental regulation, and financially viable, i.e., create an acceptable ROI [return on investment] to shareholders,” the plan reads.

The GM proposal talks about the firm’s “commitment to high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles and advanced propulsion technologies.” (See GM Restructuring Plan)

General Motors already received $13.4 billion in federal loans and is asking for an additional $16.6 billion from the Department of Treasury. It is also seeking $7.7 billion in loans from the Department of Energy for fuel-efficient vehicles.

“The company is investing significantly in alternative fuel and advanced propulsion technologies in 2009-2012 timeframe, supporting the expansion of GM’s hybrid offerings and development of the Chevrolet Volt’s extended-range electric vehicle technology,” the GM plan states.

The Volt is a lithium-ion battery car, explains the GM plan, which will be an advanced hybrid vehicle.

“GM has also committed to increasing its number of hybrid models to 14 by 2012, and to making more than 60 percent of its fleet alternative-fuel capable,” the plan says.

Ford has said it does not need federal money at this time but is leaving the option open for the future.

Chrysler and GM delivered the restructuring plans to the Department of Treasury on Tuesday. A task force headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary, will review the proposals and determine how much – if any – additional tax dollars the car companies will receive, as well as what strings will be attached – if any.

“I have received restructuring reports from both General Motors and Chrysler, and they have been posted on the Treasury website. NEC Director Summers and I will be convening the President’s Task Force on Autos later this week to analyze the companies’ plans and to solicit the full range of input from across the Administration on the restructuring necessary for these companies to achieve viability,” Geithner said in a statement.

The Obama administration and the Democratic majority in Congress have called for more environmentally friendly vehicles. Already, President Obama signed an executive order to make it easier for states – such as California and others that have expressed a desire to do so – to set more restrictive fuel-efficiency standards than the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules.

The CAFE standards are a big part of the problem regarding why the American auto industry has fallen on hard times, said Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market group. He said the government’s professed goal of saving the auto industry could ruin it.

“Detroit is being forced to reinvent itself to produce more environmentally friendly cars,” Kazman told CNSNews.com. “Toyota and Honda are best at the fuel-efficient cars. This deprives American companies of what they’re best at, which is trucks and SUVs.”

As long as these two companies are eager to get federal money, they will likely have to abide by Democrats in Congress demanding more green cars, Kazman said. He also expects the companies to get a second phase of federal money because Congress will not want to admit its mistake in allocating the first phase of funding.

“Politicians should never design or engineer cars,” Kazman said. “I would rather they try to do brain surgery. At least then we’ll know whether they were successful or a failure right away and they probably wouldn’t try it again. They will keep trying to engineer cars.”

Thus far, both the Treasury and the White House are reserving any substantial comment on the auto plans.

“We appreciate the effort that these companies and their stakeholders have made, and the President’s team will be reviewing these reports closely in the days ahead,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. “It is clear that, going forward, more will be required from everyone involved – creditors, suppliers, dealers, labor and auto executives themselves – to ensure the viability of these companies going forward.”

In other parts of the plan, GM said it will sell or phase-out the large Hummer vehicles by March 31 and either close Saturn or allow it to spin off into a separate corporation by 2011. The GM plan also left open the possibility of bankruptcy, a notion it rejected last year.

The Chrysler plan seemed to rely on the Fiat merger and the federal bailout money for survival and issued a warning.

“If Chrysler is unable to restructure its liabilities and if further government funding is not forthcoming, the ‘Orderly Wind Down’ alternative would be pursued,” the plan said. “However, it may have severe social and economic consequences for both Chrysler and the broader U.S. economy.”

Source: CNS News