Massachusetts is one of the many states that will still be offering incentives to purchase a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle well beyond the December 31, 2010 deadline when federal tax incentives will expire. Between rising gas prices, an increase in pollution issues, and Americans’ overall need to want to protect the environment and their bank accounts, sales of electric and alternative fuel vehicles is steadily on the rise. Purchasing a hybrid vehicle can be a win-win situation. Not only does it save money in the long run, but it also helps to boost an already slumping U.S. auto economy.

The first incentive being offered by the state of Massachusetts will actually be expiring at the same time as the federal incentives; so if you’re looking into buying a hybrid or electric vehicle, the next couple of weeks may be your best time. This bill states that anybody purchasing a hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicle (which includes vehicles being powered by ethanol, low-sulfur diesel, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and hydrogen) in the years 2006-2010 will register for a special placard and receive a number of incentives, including: an income tax deduction of $2000; a waiver for the initial $27.50 application fee for the Fast Lane Transponder; waiver of emissions inspections for hybrids getting at least an EPA-estimated 50 mpg city; right to travel in the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of passengers for three years following the enactment of the bill; and discounts or free parking in municipalities which choose to participate. Currently vehicles which qualify as being rated for 50 mpg or better in the city are the first generation Honda Insight (model years 2000-2006) and the Toyota Prius manufactured before the 2008 model year.

The town of Williamstown, Massachusetts has also instituted a program which seems to be growing some legs and may see an introduction into state legislation soon. This town launched a program which offers owners of hybrid vehicles in the 2003-2007 model years, and registered within the town, a reimbursement grant of a portion of the motor vehicle excise tax. For vehicles with an EPA-estimated rating of 50 mpg or better (city), the grant would be for a 75% reimbursement of the tax. Vehicles rated at 30 mpg (city) or better would qualify for a 50% reimbursement.

There are also still some bills currently in legislation which show some promise of passing soon. The first would be another advantage for hybrid vehicles which are rated at 50 mpg or better; that is SB 1380. This bill would provide exemptions from state emissions testing and inspections for these vehicles. Another bill currently in legislation is H 3044. This bill would exempt the sales tax on hybrid electric vehicles sold on Earth Day. This will take place on April 22, 2011, should the bill finally make its way through legislation. The final bill still in the legislative process is S 1920. This bill would allow hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle access to HOV lanes regardless the number of occupants.

For more information regarding current bills or bills still in legislation, you can visit either the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles at: Massachusetts DMV, or the Massachusetts Government website concerning vehicle transportation at: Mass. Cars & Transportation.

Be sure to also see if the vehicles you’re considering can qualify for a federal tax credit, deduction, or rebate.  Here’s  more info on new car tax credit, hybrid car tax credit, new diesel car tax credit, and electric car tax credit from the federal government.  Also, make sure to check out the list of year-end new car deals, new car lease deals, and certified used car deals being offered by the car makers.  Given the year-end and car manufacturers’ desire to sell more cars, there’s great deals to be had if you do your homework and are aware of all the incentives, discounts, rebates you can qualify for.  Here’s some tips on year-end car buying strategy.

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