I bought my new Prius on Thursday evening, September 28, 2006. Since I purchased it before October 1, I will receive a $3,150 tax credit off of my 2006 income tax. This is a nice benefit, since it doesn't reduce my taxable income -- it actually comes right off my tax bill. Had I purchased after September 30, the tax credit for the Prius would have dropped in half (still nice, but not quite as nice!). Great article at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Another benefit to buying a Prius now was that I could apply for the California Hybrid car stickers that would give me access to the carpool lanes. However, that program was limited to 75,000 cars and at the time I bought the car, the expectation was that I was too late. No worries. The car is still worth it.
So, the morning after I purchased the car, I called the DMV at 916-657-6560 and asked how many stickers remain. Still 1,500 to hand out was the response, but they were going fast -- probably gone within the next 4 business days. To try to get one of the last ones, I:
- Went to the Toyota dealer and asked them to expedite my license plate registration. They were very helpful and agreed to do so immediately. However, it takes 48 hours for all the computers to talk to each other, even with an electronic submission. Time was running short.
- I drove my new Hybrid up to San Francisco to get a FasTrak transponder that allows my hybrid to use the carpool lanes (if I get the stickers) when going across one of the 8 Bay Area bridges. This is a required step for Bay Area residents applying to the Hybrid sticker program.
- Prepared a FedEx envelope for delivery of the Hybrid sticker application (and supporting documents) for delivery to the DMV in hopes of getting one of the last stickers.
However, all my last-minute running around may not have mattered...
On Friday, September 29, California Assembly Bill No. 2600 (aka AB 2600) was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It allows for 10,000 more stickers to be added to the program and for the Hybrid HOV stickers to be valid until January 1, 2011. Nice.
I will still send in my application as soon as I hear from the dealer about my license plate number. And, of course, will keep you all informed.