Honda Preparing New Hybrid Models for '09

Honda is preparing to introduce several new hybrid models into their fleet of automobiles. Currently, Honda has the highest fleet fuel efficiency of any other carmaker in the United States. The new hybrid models will be sold in the US, Japan and Europe.

The new models Honda plans to release include a hyrid-only model that will compete directly with Toyota's Prius and a hybrid version of the Honda Fit. In addition, Honda is planning to release a re-vamped hybrid Civic and a "sportier" hybrid CR-V.

If you are thinking of buying a hybrid, it might be worth it to you to wait for these new models. The federal hybrid tax credit can be as high as $3,000 for a new hybrid. Unfortunately, the tax credit is phased out when a particular hybrid model sells 60,000 vehicles. As time passes, the tax credit drops until the IRS ends it completely. Already, all of the Toyota hybrid models have passed the 60,000 vehicle threshold and no longer qualify for the federal hybrid tax credit.

In other words, get your name on the waiting list at your local Honda dealership so you can get the highest level of the tax credit. Honda claims the mark-up for the new hybrids will be about $1,900.

If you want to compute the difference in cost between a hybrid and a non-hybrid over the course of a year or 10 years, THIS website has a great hybrid calculator. From my calculations, without the federal tax credit, you will begin saving money on gasoline for the hybrid after about 3 years.

And if you want to learn more about the federal hybrid tax credit, go to the IRS site HERE.

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