Incentives running out for hybrid car buyers

The end of the year is coming fast for buyers of hybrid cars, as tax incentives run out when the new year arrives, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The tax credit for the Honda Civic hybrid ends at the end of the year, just like it did about a year ago for Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius, a strong-selling hybrid that gets about 46 miles per gallon. The federal government is phasing out the same incentives for Honda Motor Co.'s Civic hybrid, which gets 42 miles a gallon.

According to the Journal, hybrid tax incentives start to go away when a car maker sells its 60,000th alternative-fuel vehicle, a level Toyota reached in mid-2006 and Honda hit in the third quarter of 2007. The amount of the tax credit is first reduced by 50% before disappearing altogether over several months. Honda's $525 tax credit will be phased out by Dec. 31, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The Civic credit had been as high as $2,100 before the phase-out began in January 2008.