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Hybrid Tax Credits
Federal And State Programs Combined Cost Billions In Credits
September 27, 2012

C L I C K   T O   P L A Y
Both Uncle Sam and state lawmakers want you to drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Whether it's the Toyota Prius, the Chevy Volt or some other set of wheels using alternative fuel, the government is offering tax breaks to help you go green on the highway.

With the stated purpose of reducing pollution, lessening the country's dependance on foreign oil and using our own abundant natural resources, there are federal and state tax breaks in place each offering up to 75-hundred dollars off of an electric or hybrid vehicle.

But these vehicles are expensive. Base Prius models cost about 25-grand. The sticker price on a Chevrolet Volt is about 38-thousand.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates federal tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles will cost the country about 7 and a half billion dollars by 2019.

On the state level, the cost isn't nearly so steep.

Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow/W.Va. Dept. of Revenue: To date for the '11 year which is reflected in returns that have been filed here in '12, not all returns have been filed, about a half a million dollars so far has come through.

West Virginia had a similar decade-long program starting in the mid 90's. The final bill for those tax credits was 1-point-3 million dollars.

Deputy Secretary Muchow says there's really no way of knowing what the current program will ultimately cost when it expires in ten years.

Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow/W.Va. Dept. Of Revenue: So it's going to depend upon the markets. Electric is probably right now the most popular car. Part of that has to do with the federal tax credit policy. So it depends on changes in federal policy. If the federal policy enhances the program at the federal level it has an impact on West Virginia. If the federal tax credit were to go away it would have an impact on West Virginia. Some of these electric cars are pretty pricey.

The current state tax credit program is set to be in effect for ten years.

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