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Old 12-14-2004, 06:56   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford Escape eligible for tax break

Ford Escape eligible for tax break

BY JEFF BENNETT
BLOOMBERG

Ford Motor Co.'s gasoline-electric Escape sport-utility vehicle became the first hybrid built by a U.S. automaker to qualify for a $2,000 U.S. tax deduction that encourages sales of low-pollution cars and trucks.

Buyers of new 2005 Escapes can claim the income-tax deduction for the year in which the vehicle is first used, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid car and Honda Motor Co.'s gasoline-electric Civic and Insight cars have qualified since 2002.

In 2002, the IRS expanded the deduction to hybrids from electric vehicles. Governments have been pushing automakers to boost fuel efficiency and reduce pollution emissions with technologies such as hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells.

Ford is "doing one of the right things with the Escape hybrid; it's appropriate that it qualifies for the federal tax credit," said Dan Becker, global-energy director for the Sierra Club in San Francisco. "We think they could be doing a lot more."

In June, Ford set a starting price of $26,380 for the gasoline-electric Escape and said the hybrids would cost at least $3,300, or 15 percent, more than comparable gasoline versions of the SUV.

The IRS said Monday the tax deduction for the Escape was set after Ford documented the additional costs related the hybrid technology.

The deduction is scheduled to drop to $500 in 2006 and end a year later.

Ford said it sold 1,130 Escape hybrids in the United States in October and 894 last month. The vehicle is built in Claycomo, Mo., near Kansas City.
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