Happy fiscal year 2009, everyone! From an IRS perspective, the new year is looking to be the best of times for home energy efficiency... and a washout for small hybrid cars.
Hybrids? A washout? How can that be? Well, you may want to check Forbes magazine, of all places, which has the best compilation we've seen of the feds' green tax breaks for the new year - including a 30% unlimited tax credit for solar systems, a $500 credit for some energy-saving home improvements and a new $20-a-week commuter bike credit that will trickle down to workers through their employers.
Forbes also notes the dwindling selection of hybrids that still qualify buyers for a tax break. You may recall that Uncle Sam's 2005 hybrid car tax credit was structured to create a quick buzz for hybrids with a $3,150 tax credit to each carmaker's first 60,000 buyers—but only those 60,000. Toyota and Honda have both maxed out their credits, so as of 2009 there are no hybrids with Prius-class mileage that still qualify.
The Edmunds.com Green Car Advisor has the full list of vehicles that can still earn tax credits, the most fuel-efficient being the 2007-08 Nissan Altima Hybrid (34 mpg). The bottom dweller is the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, at 21 mpg.