auto

Gas savers still getting fed tax credit

Tara Baukus MelloThe federal tax credits for Americans who buy a hybrid, clean diesel or compressed natural gas, or CNG, car are set to expire at the end of the year -- and it doesn't look like the Feds will extend them.

Car shoppers who are considering buying one of these cars can get tax credits, ranging from $500 to $4,000 on qualifying vehicles, if they make that purchase before Dec. 31. The savings can be even greater if they take advantage of some of the rebates and incentives that are being offered on select models.

While some of the most popular alternative fuel vehicles already have been phased out, there are still 25 models from the 2010 or 2011 model years that carry the tax credit. Here are a few of the qualifying cars that also have great incentives currently, giving shoppers a terrific opportunity for substantial savings.

Federal tax credits on 2010 or 2011 model year hybrid cars range from $900 to $2,350. The top credit of $2,350 is on the Nissan Altima Hybrid, which also has a $750 cash rebate or a zero percent interest rate.

The sport utility vehicles and pickups from General Motors are also eligible for a tax credit. The hybrid versions of its Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and Chevrolet Silverado pickup have a $2,200 tax credit. In addition, on 2011 models, Chevrolet's year-end promotion features a $1,500 cash rebate and a zero percent interest rate. From the 2010 model year, the Tahoe also has a $3,000 cash allowance or a zero percent interest rate, while the Silverado has the zero percent interest offer or a $4,500 or $5,000 cash rebate, depending on the model.

Clean diesels also have some great savings. There's a $1,800 federal tax credit on the diesel version of the BMW X5, and BMW is currently offering a $2,500 rebate or 0.9 percent financing. While Volkswagen's clean diesels offer smaller tax credits, ranging from $575 to $850 depending on the model and year, the company is offering some zero percent loans on its 2010 Golf, Jetta and Touareg diesel models, and low interest rates on its 2011 models.

Finally, the Honda Civic GX, a compressed natural gas car, currently has a $4,000 federal tax credit. Honda also is offering the low interest rate of 0.9 percent.

Tax credits can only be used by the original owner who buys a new, qualifying vehicle. Used cars do not qualify. The complete list of cars that currently qualify for federal tax credits can be found on the Internal Revenue Service's website.

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If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories.
 

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