A Jolt For Small Businesses: Using Tax Credits For Hybrid Cars

Written by on April 14, 2011 in Business Guidance, Managing Your Business - 1 Comment
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If hybrid cars and businesses big and small seem like an unlikely marriage to you, read on. Actually, read on even if it doesn’t, because I’m going to keep writing.

On the heels of the recent announcement that the Chevrolet Volt hybrid—price tag a cool $41,000 or so—will come with an even cooler $7,500 tax credit, businesses and the public alike are exploring the implications. The fight across America when it comes to hybrid vehicles has long been one of cost, pitting those in favor of environmental benefits these cars promise against those who argue against price and the possibility of running out of juice in the middle of nowhere. Hybrids, of course, neatly toe the line with a little bit of electricity and a little bit of gasoline in the tank.

Loaded with features and clocking in at a price comparable to many other new vehicles, albeit with the help of the tax credit, the Volt and other hybrids are picking up significant interest. Admittedly those sweet tax credits won’t be around forever, but that short duration coupled with the meteoric rise of gas prices means the time to strike is right now. Especially if you’re going after a lease, which current gas prices can make prohibitively expensive in a hurry.

If your business offers company cars for executives, maintains a fleet of vehicles for delivery or anything in between, I’ll give you three good reasons why leasing or purchasing these vehicles is a smart idea.

  1. It could save you money. One colleague of mine who explored the Volt for himself calculated that leasing a hybrid like the Volt—which does not have range limits, unlike purely electric cars—would save him almost $350 per month in costs. Add that up over the course of the year and you’re talking about roughly $4,200 per vehicle. With gas prices hovering around $3.80 and not showing signs of slowing, it would be tough to argue against the idea that those savings might actually go up.
  2. It’s no bare-bones vehicle. In an effort to snag as many consumers as possible, Chevy went aggressive with the Volt, loading on such perks as their OnStar emergency system and smart phone compatability. That makes an attractive car for those conducting business on the go and does not force you to pony up extra money to get the features you want, unless you really want that gold-plated steering wheel and that set of spinning rims.
  3. Perception and timing. Let’s face it, every business wants to be viewed favorably. Leasing an American-made car with a green lean cannot possibly hurt your business, and it gives you a chance to be seen as embracing the cutting edge. I feel obligated to repeat that these tax cuts will dry up sooner or later, so exploring the option now is a bright idea.

I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say this is a brilliant move for every small business out there. I will say that it is worth exploring for anyone who uses cars as a part of their business model, which I suspect is a large percentage of readers.

Would you consider buying or leasing a Volt or other hybrid vehicle for business use? Sound off!

Photo credit to shortsands at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/359696

About the Author

Dave Choate is the lead writer for BizEngine, longtime blogger and voracious reader of all things business and news. Dedicated to delivering small business news, information and analysis that matters.

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