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HOV - Mileage - Tax Incentives - GA

6867 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Henry
Having a great time in the first 1000 miles with my new Prius, but have some questions.

1. Does GA allow the purchase of an AFV license plate for the Prius so it can be driven in Atlanta's HOV lanes with only the driver in the car? It may be reserved for vehicles that operate on 100% AF instead of the hybrid.

2. Atlanta has a lot of hills. This seems to have a negative effect on the fuel economy. Are the reports of high city mileage coming from folks living in areas where the terrain is flat? My highway mileage is higher. Driving technique really makes a difference and the cruise control helps, too. Any hints in this area would be appreciated.

3. GA offers purchase tax incentives on all AFV's, but again it seems to be reserved for only those that use 100% AF. Does anyone have more information on this? Is the only tax incentive the $2,000 reduction in reported income available from the IRS?

Thanks! I love this car.
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I can't speak to the GA law queries, but I can address the 2nd question about hills and city mileage. Hills in general usually don't hurt mileage, in fact some people report better mileage with hills. Hills with stop signs at the bottom are troublesome though since you're forced to dump all the energy of the hill by the time you reach the bottom and the battery can't take it fast enough (so the brakes handle the majority of the hill energy).

The type of city mileage the EPA measures (and reported higher than highway mileage) is a pair of long (about 20 min.) trips, one with a cold engine start and one with a warm engine start. The average speed is around 40 MPH with a few well spaced stops in between. And the A/C is turned off. The kind of city mileage you may be experiencing (short trips, stop & creep, A/C running) may not be so ideal, so you can easily get worse mileage. This is true of most cars, but more noticeable in the Prius since it's presented in your face instead of just getting buried in the highway mileage between fill-ups.

You should also check your tire pressure. The recommended 35 psi front and 33 psi back should be considered a minimum. The tires are rated to handle 50 psi, and will get better mileage if you increase the pressure. But you might not like the ride and/or handling, so find a pressure that suits your needs.

Good luck with your fun new car.
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Thanks for the info. I have increased the tire pressure to 42psi. I hope that gives my tires a little more wear. The car is a lot of fun . . . Hope I get the ok to get a special AFV tag so I can travel in the HOV lanes.

Jim Buckler
Hills - good or bad for mileage?

Jim, yes, driving technique makes a difference. I think it is possible for hills to improve mileage, traffic and safety permitting. What I do is this: apply power to the car on the upslope and maintain speed or lose a bit on the downslope. On the upslope, the engine is going to run hard and is efficient at this time, so power is "cheap" and by using more you increase efficiency and it actually gets cheaper. On the downslope, you ideally want to free-wheel with the engine off and use no power at all (this would be pure "pulse driving"). But the Prius allows you to let the engine go off and then bring back enough pedal pressure to maintain speed using battery power. Although this power is not "free", as some people think, it will be replaced "cheaply" when the engine starts on the next upslope.

After a while, you can learn how to apply a similar strategy in traffic surging between stop lights. I have a 13 mile commute in traffic with speed limits from 30 to 50 m.p.h. and about a dozen stops. This morning when I pulled in to work, the consumption display reads 55.1 m.p.g., which I believe to be 52.6 m.p.g. actual.
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I answered one of my own questions (with a little help from the GA State DOT).

NO! The Prius does not qualify for the new GA AFV (Alternative Fuel Vehicle) license plate, which allows single occupant use of Georgia's HOV lanes. Only cars that use 85% or more from the "non-gasoline" power source qualify for this very nice perk. Maybe there's hope in the GA Legislature someday, but it's not right now. Bummer!

Here's the web page with the details . . .

and here's the link to download the application form for those cars that qualify. . .
I am researching this for my state, and I don't agree with your interpretation. The 85% rule applies to vehicles using alternative FUEL, not energy. There is a separate box for hybrid vehicles right on the application for an HOV tag. Wow, wish they did that in Washington State! :x
Wish you were correct but GA DOT doesn't agree . . .

Here's the quote from the GA DOT's website, ... -afv.shtml . ..

"Hybrid cars DO NOT classify as clean fuel vehicles under EPA standards because their engines use conventional gasoline as well as electricity and in so doing generate fuel vapor emissions. Therefore they are not allowed to access the HOV lanes unless there is more than one occupant in the vehicle. "

I wish GA rewarded the purchase of a Prius because the air quality in and around Atlanta has really worsened over my years here.
GA Tax deductions

I have been going around the loop with the GA Tax office. Did you determine how to claim your deduction?

Any help would be better than what I am getting from GA DOR!

Gary Johnson - Lilburn GA :)
GA Tax Credit for Prius

It is my understanding that the only tax credit available for Prius owners in GA is the $2,000 credit on your Federal income taxes. That's available for new car purchases only. GA does not offer state income tax credit, special AFV tags, or any other type of incentive. If you discover differently, please post something here!

Re: GA Tax Credit for Prius

gs12jwb said:
It is my understanding that the only tax credit available for Prius owners in GA is the $2,000 credit on your Federal income taxes. That's available for new car purchases only. GA does not offer state income tax credit, special AFV tags, or any other type of incentive. If you discover differently, please post something here!

If you feel like risking it and taking the $2000 federal income tax CREDIT for Electric Vehicles, that is...

You are much safer taking the approved $2000 federal income tax DEDUCTION for clean-fueled vehicles.

Some states let you carry over federal deductions onto your state income taxes. (carry over your AGI or something like that). Is GA one of them?

You may also want to check the georgia-prius yahoogroup...
Sorry to quibble, but the $2,000 is neither a CREDIT nor a DEDUCTION, but an ADJUSTMENT to gross income taken on line 32 at the bottom of page one of Form 1040, in the section labelled "Adjusted Gross Income." See Publ. 535 for details on how to enter the adjustment.
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