WASHINGTON, D.C. – Toyota North American President Jim Press has urged Congress to extend federal tax credits for hybrid vehicles and accelerate its buying of hybrids and alternative-fleet vehicles to help address energy concerns, according to the Associated Press. A 2005 federal energy bill provided up to $3,600 in tax credits to U.S. consumers who buy hybrids, but Toyota Motor Corp. this summer hit the legal production limit — 60,000 vehicles — that are eligible for the full tax credit. Press said there was a drop in demand for hybrids after the full tax credit expired for Toyota. Toyota officials said the automaker’s U.S. hybrid sales in October dropped to its lowest levels since March, attributing the decline in demand in part to the reduced tax credits. The automaker also shifted production of some hybrids from Japan to the United States, according to the report. Federal tax credits for Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles were cut in half beginning in October. The $3,150 credit for the Toyota Prius, the largest hybrid tax credit available, shrank to $1,575 on Oct 1. Credits for other hybrids made by Toyota, including certain Camry, Highlander, and Lexus vehicles, were reduced to between $775 to $1,300.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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