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click for more images of the 2009 Toyota Prius

What's in a number? For hybrid buyers, the number 60,000 is an important one. As you might know, when Congress enacted the particular hybrid tax credit, they set a limit of 60,000 vehicles per manufacturer to get the discount, and the more popular hybrids now do not qualify for any government assistance. The Toyota bonus ran out a year ago and, as soon as 2008 is over, the Honda hybrids will no longer qualify, leaving just 16 models that can be used to claim the credit in 2009. Green Car Advisor put together a list of these models and the crazy thing is, only one gets more than 33 mpg (the 2007-08 Nissan Altima Hybrid). The rest of the government money will go towards encouraging people to buy the unwanted large hybrids from Ford and GM. Where is the sense in this?


[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      ltclloyd and frankbank,

      Most people do not need a SUV to go too and from work alone, so I would not say that SUVs save fuel.

      http://www.treehugger.com/galleries/ride_with_hitler.jpg

      In the uncommon case that someone actually needs a SUV then, yes SUV vs. HEV SUV does make a good % improvement, but the government should not have to give credits, they should sell themselves as lower life cycle cost, just like hybrid buses have a lower live cycle costs.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, I didn't see your "not" in that sentence. It's late, I'm tired, zzzzz.....

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yawn, not hard to tell what site this is... Do you really think in todays economy, people who don't have a valid use for them are still buying SUVs? GM wishes that were true.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Killroy: Most people do not need a SUV to go too and from work alone, so I would not say that SUVs save fuel.

        Sorry, when I look out my window ALL I see is One person in a TRUCK or SUV, except if the truck is towing lawnmowers. People make bad choices. They act as if these SUV's are like Diamond Rings.

      • 6 Years Ago
      My proposal to improve mpgs, eliminate the following because these are all things nobody really needs -

      tires wider than 185 section
      sound deadening
      a/c
      power windows/locks
      floor coverings
      radios
      nav systems
      headliners
      upholstery on anything but seats
      anything more than 4 cyl.
      and anything that isn't an absolute necessity to get from pt a to pt b.
      also lets ban boats, atvs, horses, lawns (no more lawnmowers to tow), etc... no need for vehicles to tow them with.

      I'm sure we can come up with lots of other good ideas for things other people don't need (or want).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't "need" an SUV. I like an SUV. I want an SUV. I like riding up high - I can see better, and it's more comfortable for me. I like the convenience of having tremendous cargo space whenever I may need it at a moments notice. I am a solo commuter. I pay for the gas. It's much more expensive than a smaller more efficient car, but I don't mind paying the difference - you know, with my money.

      And the fact that my personal choice of vehicle annoys smug, fascistic busybodies certainly doesn't make it any less attractive, I can tell you that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      *toyota pruis :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, I'd say that the word "unwanted" should be changed to "unwarranted." Hybrid SUVs may save fuel, but they also sidestep the issue of promoting more appropriate vehicle choices. Sure, there are uses for SUVs, but predominantly, they're needless, wasteful, and actually don't offer anywhere near the safety or cargo capacity that so many consumers perceive them to have.

      Our family of 5 was sufficiently able to go on multi-day road trips in a sedan when I was a kid, but now you've gotta have a 3 ton vehicle to haul a single 30lb child to school? Crazy!

      Both the automakers and our government have a responsibility to help consumers reshape their notions - Lord knows they've all profited handsomely by convincing the public that we need hulking 8-cylinder behemoths to navigate the dicey grocery store parking lot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      frankbank ......you've got a point there...with the Big SUV hybrids saving fuel...but you've got to realise...the point of the government is to promote lower fuel usage...... havign a special benefit for SUV;s with hybrids only encourages people to buy them.

      And Tankdog...I think it's a very common thing...even in todays economy that people want bigger things....and things they dont really need......take a look at few months back...when the oil prices in the US went down....the first thing that happened were higher sales of Trucks and SUV's.......proof that people are not thinking long term.....

      • 6 Years Ago
      Perhaps I'll get the hybrid RAM 1500 instead of the diesel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The fact SUV sales have hit the bottom shows the number of people who actually "need" them isn't very significant.

      However I'm fine with them getting credits since it is true you save more gas moving from a SUV to a hybrid SUV than moving from a car to a hybrid if you really need one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ltclloyd has it exactly right. The big hybrids actually save more fuel than the small ones. The tax credit comes from the gov't so it totally makes sense that the credit is congruent with the gov't regulations and the US national interest.

      1) CAFE - is consumption based
      2) CO2 (soon to be regulated) which is consumption based.
      3) The government's energy security issue is a consumption issue.

      So as a reporter, Sebastian, you need to do just a little analysis and homework before broadcasting you first auto-poser thought.

      On the other hand, if you dislike US branded products, because of some kind of and Iraq guilt thing or maybe an unresolved father-son relationship, you can always cough up the extra $ and buy a perfectly good and smaller car conceived, developed, and financed in another country.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm sure Sebastian's well aware of the % gains issue but the fact stands that even a hybrid SUV is still a gas guzzler and it's crazy to subsidise these monsters.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here is the sense:

      those big hybrids save more fuel then a prius ever will. A yaris will get close to 40mpg under normal driving. where a prius might get 50. 25% savings. drive 20,000 miles a year. or a savings of 100 gallons.

      If someone needs a big vehicle for towing etc. and gets to choose a hybrid which gets 35% better mileage then it's normal model. it gets 50% better mileage 'round town and 10% on the highway so the number is close at 26% gain.. the same 20,000 miles in the tahoe hybrid saves. 246 gallons a year.

      while people may still be gun shy on buying big SUV's it's nice to have this option for those that need one. and the tax credit might take a bit of the sting out of the $10,000 price premium.

      while I'm still a fan of choosing a smaller vehicle over getting a hybrid. the whole reason the Prius works is because it gives the buyer a mid size car with micro car mileage.

      Lets start getting angry at the government for not allowing the Car makers to sell the awesome 50-60mpg diesels the rest of the world gets. there is no reason we can't align with euro-5+ we are talking fractions of a gram of co2 per mile difference between Tier2 bin 5 and Euro-6.

      you Exhale 900 Grams of C02 a day.. these regulations are just getting crazy. where the driver of the car is putting out more Carbon then the car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not all of us can use a prius as a daily vehicle. I happen to be a disabled person who lives in the country and need the extra space of a "large" vehicle. Our "trucks" are frequently in 4-wheel drive out of need to get us from point A to point B.

        At this time we get to use Cellulosic Ethanol (less CO2 and oil than a prius) to do our part for the environment, however it would be nice if I could have the best of both worlds.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Diesel's trouble in the US is NOx more than anything else now. The real trouble is the inflexibility of our emission regulation that does not allow advanced technology because it's not perfect yet. For the reason American market does not see lean operating mode for gasoline direct injection engines (lean burning increases NOx-- the same reason diesel combustion has high NOx). Audi has lean mode in their GDI cars in Europe, but has to disable it in the US market to meet the emission law.

        For this reason I think the government should share the blame for not helping us to see better fuel economy vehicles on the road. When we ask automakers for better fuel economy, we have to give them hands where we can.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Of course, going from a 15 mpg SUV to a 50 mpg Prius would save 933 gallons over 20,000 miles, about 3.8 times more gas saved than with the Tahoe hybrid...

        The problem with Diesels isn't the CO2, it is the NOx, CO, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulates. Only recently has diesel technology improved enough to make diesels marginally acceptable - but those improvements carry a high price.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's another thing to consider... Why should the government renew the rebates for the Prius when Toyota is currently selling them as fast as they can build them? Sounds like it would be an unnecessary subsidy to me.

      Also, I believe the '10 Fusion (~38 mpg city) will qualify for the rebates when it is launched in 2 months. This article fails to mention that as well.

      Personally, I wish the government would get rid of the rebates all together. If you greenies really want to encourage fuel efficiency you should be intellectually honest and implement the only solution that will work ... a heavy (regressive, economy-killing) gas tax.
      • 6 Years Ago
      you guys dont have diesel's in your passenger cars? (im from australia) Hyundai's new I30 with its 1.6 diesel 4 beats the hyundai pruis hands down in the economy department.. and thats a hyundai :)
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