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Cars.com Takes Guesswork Out of New-Car Tax Incentives

Stimulus Package and Hybrid Tax Credits Offer Consumers Many Tax-Saving Options

With the new stimulus package offering consumers the ability to deduct state and local taxes on new-car purchases, and a variety of tax credits available on hybrid and alternative-fuel cars, there have never been more ways for consumers to take advantage of tax benefits on new-car purchases.

According to a recent Cars.com survey, 58 percent of consumers who considered buying a new car in the past six months said they would be influenced to buy a new car because of the tax deductions outlined in the stimulus plan. The stimulus package allows any family making less than $250,000 or any individual making less than $125,000 to deduct the local sales and state taxes they paid on any new vehicle purchased after Feb. 17, 2009. The deduction is limited to new cars, light trucks, recreational vehicles and motorcycles that cost less than $49,500.

"With the stimulus plan offering sales deductions on new-car purchases, and a variety of good deals currently on the market, now is a good time for consumers to buy new," Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen said. "Add in the tax credits on many new hybrid and clean-diesel cars, and consumers can take advantage of these various tax incentives."

For consumers looking to buy a hybrid vehicle this year, or for those who purchased a new hybrid in 2008, there are still plenty of tax credits to take advantage of.

In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, certain cars purchased beginning in 2006 can earn credits of up to $4,000. To be eligible for these credits, vehicles have to fall into one of four categories: fuel cell, advance lean-burn technology, hybrid or alternative fuel. Certain diesel cars also qualify for a tax credit under this act, but most of the cars that qualify are hybrids. There is one alternative-fuel car, the Honda Civic GX, on the list as well.

For some cars, the credit you can claim depends on the exact date you bought the car. That's because the Energy Policy Act of 2005 says that when a manufacturer reaches 60,000 sales of eligible vehicles--as reported to the government each quarter--the credits will begin to be phased out. Full tax credits are still available for qualifying vehicles from several automakers, but other manufacturers' credits have been either reduced or completely phased out.

"Right now, the only vehicles you cannot get any tax credit for are hybrids from Toyota, Lexus and Honda," Olsen said.

A complete list of current tax credits for hybrid and alternative-fuel cars can be found below. Visit Cars.com for more answers to frequently asked questions about hybrid tax credits.

Tax Credits by Make, Model and Year:

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.

About Cars.com

Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).

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