Every year the government and a variety of other non-profit and private organizations dedicated to environmental sustainability provide monetary or special privileges for owning a hybrid vehicle. These incentives offset the higher price tag for the purchase of hybrids in addition to the savings on gas expenses.
Special incentives for hybrid vehicles purchases often consist of parking discounts, priority parking, free carpool lanes, insurance discounts, and tax credits. For example, in Chicago , the South Loop Home Depot located at 1300 Clinton Street is the only Home Depot location that currently provides priority parking to hybrid vehicles.
Other retail chains such as the Green Exchange and Ikea also provide priority parking to hybrid vehicles. The Green Exchange’s main location for hybrid parking is 2545 W. Diversey Avenue , Chicago , Illinois 60647 , which is the first location approved by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for full sustainability standards.
The Green Exchange is also the first Chicago location that provides over 100 square feet of leasing space for sustainable business ventures. Local Chicago Ikea stores allot at least two green parking spaces at each location specifically for hybrid vehicles.
In addition, some Chicago corporations and law firms, such as Bank of America and DLA Piper, LLP, provide employees with reimbursement subsidies of up to $5,000 for switching to hybrid vehicles. However, the corporate vehicle reimbursements are subject to tax regulations.
The latest development in hybrid vehicle technology is the plug-in electric component that permits cars to charge their electric batteries with the use of a 3-pronged outlet or a charging station. The new Plug-In hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) include the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, and the 2008 -2010 Tesla Roadster models.
Unlike regular hybrid vehicles, the PHEVs are fully powered by electricity and they can average the equivalent of up to 100 mpg on electric power. Since Chicago , like many areas, has not yet established public charging stations, PHEV owners would have to charge their vehicles in their homes.
The federal government recently introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for PHEVs, which is a tax credit effective between 12/31/09 to 12/31/11 . The tax credits ranging from a minimum of $2500 and a maximum of $7500, based on battery capacity of the vehicle and the claiming period prior to government phase out of the tax credit. Currently, anyone who purchases a vehicle during the month of January 2011 is eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit.
In addition, the Federal Plug-in Hybrid Conversion Tax Credit provides a maximum of $4,000 to drivers who convert their regular hybrid vehicles into fully electric powered vehicles. This tax credit is effective until December 31, 2011 . The traditional hybrid tax credit expires on December 31, 2010 for non-PHEV hybrids.
Aside from saving the environment from further pollution, buying a hybrid vehicle can save both time and money. As the price of gas in Chicago continues to increase during this recession, the perks of having a hybrid vehicle may become more appealing to average Chicago consumers, who still wish to own cars in the city.
Internal Revenue Services. “Federal Tax Credits for Hybrids,” U.S. Dept. of Energy.
Web Admin.”Corporate Incentives for Hybrids and Alternative Cars,” HybridCars.com.
Web Admin.”State and Federal Hybrid Incentives,” Hybridcenter.org.