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As a quick review, there is a credit available starting in 2006 for purchasers of hybrid (and some other alternative fuel) cars. The hybrid credit is limited to the first 60,000 cars sold by each manufacturer. Sort of. There's a phase out of the credit once a manufacturer gets to 60,000 cars.

Well, the IRS has released the first of the scorecards. In the first quarter of 2006, Ford (and Mercury) sold 6,192 qualifying vehicles. Toyota (and Lexus) sold 41,779 hybrid cars. I haven't seen numbers for Honda yet. I'll post an update once I do.

Based on those figures, Toyota will blow through their 60,000 cars in the current quarter of this year.

So the full credit for Toyota/Lexus hybrids will only be available through September 30. Hybrid Toyota/Lexus cars purchased from 10/1/06 through 3/31/07 would only get half of the credit, then cars purchased from 4/1/07 through 9/30/07 would get 25% of the credit. And no credit would be available for Toyota/Lexus hybrids sold after 10/1/07.

The upshot of all of this - Buy that Toyota or Lexus hybrid before Sept 30.

You can read the IRS press releases at: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/index.html

--Peter
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