Arlington County is debating the special rebate set up for clean fuel vehicles, which includes hybrid cars. Under the rebate, up to $20,000 in the assessed value of their personal property tax is eligible for a 100 percent rebate. That's around $500 in tax savings for those who buy hybrid cars.
Source: Fuming Over Tax Break for Hybrids - washingtonpost.com
Partly because of the popularity of the tax incentive, the number of hybrids on the road in Arlington has increased dramatically. There are now 2,100 hybrids registered in the county, up from about half that number two years ago.That's a significant amount of growth in just two years.
But some people are complaining about the tax incentive. Because hybrid cars are more expensive, some feel that only people who are above average in wealth are buying them (and that is actually born out when hybrid car buyers are surveyed). Which means the tax incentive is going to those who can afford the property tax.
But since the county still has to pay the bills, the tax rebate is being 'made up' by those who don't drive hybrid cars.
As one driver put it, "Everybody else's car tax bill is going up. That big a credit for hybrids seems silly to me."
County officials have decided to keep the rebate, because they want to encourage the adoption of more fuel efficient vehicles. And based on the registration numbers, that is certainly what they are getting.