The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

71° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Escape the Pumps

    The mood at Long Island gas stations lately is ugly. Not only is it tax season, but regular unleaded now sells for about $1.70 a gallon. The faces of those paying for the gas convey resignation and wonderment, as in, wonder how I*m gonna pay my taxes if these gas prices don*t come down. Those who might have seen this coming might already own smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Long Islanders ready to ditch their gas-guzzlers and receive up to $2,000 off their taxes in the process, take heart: vehicles are available right now that get as much as 61 city/68 highway miles per gallon for which that hefty tax credit is ready and waiting. Welcome to the era of the hybrid – and not a minute too soon.

    Hybrid vehicles are a cross between the fully electric cars of a few years ago and gasoline-powered engines. The good news is this newer version doesn*t have to be plugged in every few hours to charge. The Honda Civic Hybrid, for instance, runs half on electric power and half on gas – each time the foot is lifted off the gas pedal, the gas-driven motor imperceptibly shuts itself off, and the electric motor kicks in. Charging takes place during braking or standing. The Civic gets high marks for its 46 city and 51 highway miles per gallon. Honda uses the same technology for its ultra-modern Insight, a two-door coup for two offered with a manual-transmission only. It tops the Environmental Protection Agency*s list for fuel economy with 61 city and 64 highway mpg. Both Hondas are priced at about $20,000 and are in stock now at local dealers.

    Toyota first offered the Prius hybrid in the summer of 2000. Like the Honda, it has a continuously variable transmission, which operates more or less as an automatic tranny does, according to a local Honda salesman. Its fuel economy is 52 mpg city, and 45 mpg highway.

    Coming later in 2003 is the Ford Escape, a smaller SUV expected to travel 40 miles for every gallon of gas used. Of course, Chevrolet, GM and all the other usual suspects have their own plans for hybridization, including the Chevy Silverado and GM Sierra pick-ups. Dodge*s hybrid Durango is being worked on, although a market release date is not known. In 2005, a Saturn SUV will hit the hybrid market as well.

    What about that tax rebate? Hybrids purchased in 2003 qualify for a $2,000 tax credit on federal income taxes. Some models (like the Ford Escape, which is slightly less fuel efficient) will only be eligible for a portion of that amount, while the sedans produced by Honda and Toyota appear to be fully compliant with IRS regulations. The deduction is to be taken as an adjustment to income, but don*t wait too long: the tax incentive will decrease for hybrids bought in the years 2004-2006, with a maximum credit of $500.00 allowed in 2006.

    Get a hybrid, pollute less, save on gas, pay less taxes. Nuff said?

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *