The early bird may get the worm, but early buyers of either the new 2010 Ford Fusion or Mercury Milan Hybrids will get a good deal more -- $3,400 more to be exact -- in the form of a federal income tax credit. These new and super-efficient sedans qualify for the largest bit of tax relief ever offered on any hybrids purchased or put into service after December 31, 2005. Early is the operative term here. Because Ford Motor Company reached the 60,000 hybrid-vehicle threshold limit in the 4th quarter of 2008, the value of the tax credit amounts on these yet-to-be-released hybrids will go down over time. That $3,400 figure drops to $1,700 on any vehicles purchased after April 1, 2009, and declines by another 50 percent, to $850, between October 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, when it expires completely.
While not quite as lofty, the existing 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUVs also still qualify for federal tax credits of their own. Front-drive models earn a $3,000 credit and buyers of all-wheel drive versions can take a $1,950 write-off against what they end up owing Uncle Sam.