New Tax Credits for Hybrid Owners

People who buy a hybrid car or truck this year could get a bigger tax credit. The IRS has issued new tax credit guidelines for the purchase of hybrids. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Celeste Headlee reports:

Transcript

People who buy a hybrid car or truck this year could get a bigger tax credit. The IRS has issued
new tax credit guidelines for the purchase of hybrids. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Celeste Headlee reports:


Beginning this month, hybrid owners will be eligible for a tax credit of up to 3,400 dollars. That
money will be subtracted directly from what the taxpayer owes the IRS. Under previous tax law,
hybrid owners could only claim a 2,000 dollar tax deduction.


Don McKenzie is a Vehicles Engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says the new
law is a step forward because it’s performance based… vehicles with better fuel economy are
eligible for a higher tax credit.


But he says the credit is phased out after a company builds about 60,000 eligible vehicles… and
there’s another important component missing as well.


“It doesn’t require an increase in overall fleet fuel economy and it is possible that some
automakers could use increased sales of hybrid vehicles to offset increased sales of gas guzzlers.”


Automakers are responsible for getting their vehicles certified as eligible vehicles. They hope to
have vehicles certified beginning this summer.


For the GLRC, I’m Celeste Headlee.

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Epa Reviewing Car Fuel Economy Tests

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at whether the gas mileage estimates that appear on the window stickers of new cars are over-inflated. The agency responded to a petition from a California environmental group. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bill Poorman reports:

Transcript

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at whether the gas
mileage estimates that appear on the window stickers of new cars are
over-inflated. The agency responded to a petition from a California
environmental group. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bill Poorman
reports:


The Bluewater Network says that cars and trucks actually get as much as
twenty percent fewer miles per gallon than EPA window stickers suggest.
Spokesperson Elisa Lynch says that’s because driving patterns have changed
since the current testing system was set up in the mid ’80s.


“There’s been increased urbanization, there are higher speed limits, and more
traffic congestion, and all of these are factors that affect your fuel
economy when you’re out there driving in the real world.”


The EPA is seeking public comment on its testing procedure. EPA
spokesperson John Millet says that part of the process will wrap up in late
July.


“After that period, EPA will go through what we anticipate will be
quite a lot of information, and that’s going to take some time.”


Millet says the EPA might decide its current testing system is just fine.
But if that’s not the case, it could still be up to three years before
another system is in place.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Bill Poorman.

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Traffic Jams Waste Billions of Gallons of Fuel

Drivers are spending more time and burning more fuel stuck in traffic. An annual study found the upward trend of more traffic congestion continues. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:

Transcript

Drivers are spending more time and burning more fuel stuck in traffic. An annual study found the
upward trend of more traffic congestion continues. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester
Graham reports:


The latest report looks at 2001. It found that about half of the time we spend in traffic jams is due
to delays caused by accidents, vehicle breakdowns, weather and construction. But researchers at
the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A and M University found that people are driving
farther to work and they’re also making more trips. Instead of combining trips to the bank, the
grocery store and the cleaners, more and more drivers tend to make separate trips, putting more
cars on the road at a time. David Schrank is one of the researchers. He says it ends up being a
huge waste of fuel.


“In 2001, almost five-point-seven billion gallons of fuel — that’s with a ‘b’– were wasted in
traffic congestion in 75 urban areas in the United States.”


And the study estimates we all spent more time, three-and-a-half billion hours, stuck in traffic
during the year.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.

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