OPED: Why Are We Subsidizing Luxury Instead of Efficiency?

Editorial by Tampa Bay Tribune questions tax credits for government-approved technology.

Published: 09-Jan-2011

Federal incentives to promote purchase of efficient, mainstream vehicles are flawed. It's no surprise they are losing traction in accomplishing their goal of reducing oil consumption. The giveaways should either be reformed or dropped.

Like many laws that come out of Congress, the tax credits for buying a gas-saving hybrid or electric car are complex to the point they defy common sense. While one might think the goal would be to reward efficiency, the tax break instead rewards new models employing politically approved technology, whether they are efficient or not and whether they are affordable or not.

In a year in which sales of passenger vehicles jumped 11 percent, sales of gas-electric hybrids fell 8 percent. Truck sales last year were up nearly 15 percent, and SUV sales were up more than 21 percent.


Toyota FT-CH Concept hybrid.

Compact Hybrid will extend Toyota's family of hybrid-electric drive vehicles, though no indication has yet been given as to its powertrain, presumably a version of the company's Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The New Compact Coupe presages a new VW model that will be built in Mexico for sale in North America; an option being a new hybrid drive system.

Honda CR-Z hybrid will go on sale in 2010.

The Honda CR-Z is slated to go on sale the summer of 2010 with an estimated fuel economy of 36 city/38 highway miles per gallon in the CVT model.


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