Tax credits for buying fuel efficient vehicles isn't
anything out of the ordinary in the United States. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid
and Ford Escape
Hybrid have qualified for tax credits (as much as $3,150 for the Prius)
from the Internal Revenue Service for a few years now.
Toyota, however, has become a victim of its own success when
it comes to tax credits for its hybrid vehicles. Due to restrictions implemented by the
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (based on the number of units sold), Toyota
hybrid buyers saw their tax credit drop from $3,150 in Q3 2006 to $1,575 in Q4
2006 and to $787 in Q2 2007 -- by Q4 2007, the tax credit will disappear.
While Toyota may be losing a key selling point in offloading
its hybrids to customers, Honda just earned a whopper of a credit from the IRS.
Its FCX hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has qualified
for a $12,000 tax credit from the IRS.
Honda Fuel Cell Marketing Manager Stephen Ellis remarked
that the $12,000 IRS credit was "further validation that the FCX is a real
vehicle" and proves that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are "another
step toward market viability."
"The consumer focus is where we need to put more
attention," said Ellis in May. "We started with fleets, added a few
consumers, now we're going to swing the pendulum."
Despite the fact that the IRS coughed up the tax credit and
Honda was quick to praise the recognition, the FCX is still not available to
the public. The vehicle will see limited consumer
trials in 2008. And there's also the issue of pricing -- Honda still hasn't
provided an estimate for the cost of the vehicle.
The FCX has a driving range of 270 miles and a top speed of
100 MPH. Its 0-60 acceleration of 9 seconds flat won't win many stoplight
races, but it should be enough for most buyers.