Buyers interested in purchasing a 2010 Ford Fusion or Mercury Milan hybrid should act quickly if they want to get the best deal on Ford's redesigned mid-sized sedan: anyone buying the vehicle before March 31, 2009 is eligible for the full $3,400 federal tax credit.
The tax credit is also available on the Fusion's twin, the 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid. $3,400 is the highest tax credit available under the government's alternative motor vehicle tax credit program for hybrid vehicles, and no other vehicles are eligible for the full amount. After March 31, the tax credit drops to $1,700 until September 30th. From October 1 to March 31, 2010 the credit will be $850, and after that no tax credit will be available.
The tax credit extends to Ford's hybrid SUVs as well, although the amounts are lesser. The 2009 Ford Escape hybrid with front-wheel drive and 2009 Mercury Mariner hybrid with front-wheel drive are eligible for $3,000, while their four-wheel drive counterparts can get up to $1,850. If purchased after March 31, 2009, the credits decrease to $1,500 and $975, after September 30 they drop again to $750 and $487.50 and after March 31, 2010 they are no longer available.
The 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid and 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid achieve 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, beating the 2009 Toyota Camry hybrid by 8 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway. After the tax credit is applied to the Fusion hybrid and the Camry hybrid (the 2008 Camry was eligible for a maximum of $2,600 in credits), the roughly $1,100 premium commanded by the Fusion over the Camry ($27,270 vs. $26,150, both without destination charges) is lowered to a more palatable $300-$400.
Tax credit amounts for the 2009 Camry hybrid and 2010 Toyota Prius are not yet available.