Monday, December 26, 2005

Politics and Gas are Inseparable

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pummeled by increasing energy costs. The “raise” that Randi and co. “negotiated” for us will pretty much be swallowed by them, and future increases will have me dipping into my old salary, the one that didn’t involve permanent building assignments and six classes for most high school teachers.

I just opened up my Keyspan bill and barely averted a massive coronary. As a result, I’m seated, catching my breath, and seriously looking into buying a Prius, or some other hybrid vehicle. Here’s an interesting site, for those contemplating the same.

Now you’ve probably heard that the US government grants tax breaks to buyers of Hummers and other gas-guzzling SUVs. (The logic behind that eludes me, but GW Bush is president, and I don’t understand that either.) Nonetheless, there are also tax breaks available to folks buying cars that do less, as opposed to more damage to our environment. The regulations are somewhat complicated, though.

The energy policy bill passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush earlier this year is destined to create a frustrating and idiotic situation for many buyers of popular, gas-saving hybrids next year. The problem is the unnecessarily complicated limits that federal lawmakers imposed on the new tax credits for hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles…

To get the maximum estimated tax credit amount of about $3,000 for a Toyota Prius next year, buyers will have to take delivery of their new, fuel-efficient car between Jan. 1 and -- stick with me now -- the end of the quarter that follows the quarter in which Toyota sells and delivers its 60,000th hybrid. Let me repeat this: A buyer must buy, take possession and put into service his or her Prius during the correct calendar period, timing it to get the top tax credit.

Can you figure that out? It sounds as though you’ll be safe if you buy in the first quarter of January. But who knows?

Update: From USA Today:

Toyota forecasts that Priuses sold the first three quarters of 2006 will qualify for the full credit. Automakers who sell fewer hybrids will be able to entice buyers with the credit into 2007 or beyond.

Diesel cars, though many get great mileage, are not eligible for these credits. (Sorry, Instructivist.)

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