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Saturday, January 17, 2009

IRS Has No Love for Plug-In Conversions... It Should

For all the hype about hybrids and electric cars, the best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to make the cars we're already driving more efficient. But switching a vehicle to alternative fuels or getting a plug-in hybrid conversion is expensive, and the IRS, foolishly, doesn't cut you any slack for it.

Although the government provides tax breaks for hybrids and alt-fuel vehicles produced by major automakers, it doesn't provide any relief to those who make their existing cars greener. "There are no incentives for the 248 million vehicle owners in the United States to convert their vehicles into cleaner, greener plug-in hybrids," says Frank Kuchinski of Poulsen Hybrid, one of a growing number of companies doing such conversions.


IRS Has No Love for Plug-In Conversions. It Should | Autopia from Wired.com

It's these kinds of incentives that will make green auto technology more available to the masses. The first one to make a conversion really cheap will become extremely wealthy. In the meantime, we need a faster track to making substantial gains against global warming. There is a huge segment of the population that would love to be doing more to protect the environment, but they simply can't afford it. The cost of entry is too high. They aren't in the position to buy a brand new green vehicle. The already own, or are paying on, their existing vehicle. These folks are also not likely to plunk down, what would amount to a years college tuition for their kids, just to convert their existing vehicle. I'm betting a lot of these people would stomach a moderate rise in the gas tax if would go directly to covering conversion subsidies. I realize the capitalist in us all thinks we should get greener by everyone purchasing new vehicles, but it's not likely to happen any time soon. Applied for a loan lately?
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