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Hybrid Tax Credits for 2010 New Cars

by Jeff Wysaski
April 15, 2010

If you're looking to take advantage of hybrid tax credits, then you better start shopping for 2010 new cars soon. The Energy Policy Act, which was enacted by the U.S. government in 2005, states that only qualified hybrid vehicles purchased before December 31, 2010 are eligible for tax breaks. Additionally, tax savings for many popular hybrid vehicles have already expired. Keep reading to learn more about hybrid tax credits and which 2010 new vehicles can save you the most money come tax season.

The Energy Policy Act states that tax credits are only available to the first 60,000 eligible vehicles per auto manufacturer. Once this benchmark is reached, the amount of tax credits is halved by 50 percent. Shortly thereafter, this figure is again dropped to 25 percent, and then eliminated altogether.

As a result of this structure, automakers that have been producing and selling qualified hybrid vehicles for a long time reached their 60,000 cap a couple years ago. Toyota was the first to reach this cap in 2007, and Honda followed a year later. As of April 1, 2010, all Ford vehicles are also no longer eligible for tax credits.

The 60,000-vehicle cap applies to all nameplates across an automaker's business. As such, Toyota's 2010 Lexus hybrids and Ford's 2010 Mercury hybrids are also no longer options when it comes to receiving government tax credits.

Individuals looking to save the most in tax credits for the 2010 year should look into the 2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid or 2010 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. These popular hybrid models still offer full tax savings. The amount of savings available until the year's end for each eligible vehicle is listed below:

The Energy Policy Act stipulates several other caveats for hybrid tax eligibility. However, these requirements are typically not difficult to meet for the average driver. For example, alternative fuel tax credits are only extended to the original owner of a vehicle. As such, if you were to purchase a used 2010 model vehicle, then you would not be able to claim a tax credit.

Additionally, the 2010 new car must be purchased or leased for personal use by the individual claiming the tax credit. The vehicle must also be driven primarily in the United States.

Hybrid vehicles are not the only 2010 new cars eligible for tax savings. Some light-duty diesel and electric vehicles may also qualify. These vehicles include:


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