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As more information about the UK's £5,000 ultra-low carbon vehicle incentive ($7,800 U.S. at the current exchange rate) filters in, the grim truth is starting to seep out. The UK's Labour party drafted the initial plans for the incentive and earmarked nearly $360 million to subsidize the purchase of ultra-low carbon vehicles. Earlier this year, a new coalition government took over and reworked the entire program. Now, it's got less money and won't help as many buyers.

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Would-be buyers, both individuals and businesses, of certain low emission vehicles in the UK will be offered a sweet incentive starting in 2011. How does 25 percent off the purchase price, up to £5,000 ($7,618 at today's rates), sound to you? The fiscal inducement will be available for purchases of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), hydrogen-fueled vehicles and battery-powered electrics (BEVs) that meet emissions, performance and safety criteria. The barriers to the bounty include a CO2 output of no