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Live Green; Save Green!


Have you seen the recent article on a new "green" residential high rise in Battery Park? It's called The Solaire. For a look at the hopeful future of architectural efficiency, check out the myriad of cost saving and environmentally-friendly features of the building:

http://www.batteryparkcity.org/concept/green

The article got me thinking of ways to help you personally benefit from being environmentally-friendly, without having to re-locate! I've come up with two areas worth consideration.

(1) Tax Credit for the Purchase of a Hybrid Vehicle

New owners may write off $2,000 of the purchase price of the following models:

Ford Escape Hybrid ('05)
Honda Accord Hybrid ('05)
Honda Insight ('00 to '05)
Honda Civic Hybrid ('03 to '05)
Toyota Prius ('01 to '05)

Initially, the amount was scheduled to be reduced in 2004, but new tax law allows the full $2K deduction until the end of 2005, at which point it drops to just $500. That gives you about four months to take action, but only if you're in the market for a car.

One further benefit is that the deduction may be claimed directly on Form 1040 long-form, line 35 (it does not require Schedule A). Additionally, there are no income thresholds. There are, however, a few limitations. (a) It's a one-time deduction. (b) Only the original owner can claim the tax break. (c) You must take the deduction in the year you put it on the road, or file an amended tax return within three years of original intended filing date.

(2) Conserve Your Gasoline!

At nearly $3/gallon, filling up 20% less often could save the average commuter $400/year:

(a) Use a sunshade. A cooler car requires less air conditioning.

(b) Don't top off your tank-The excess is lost as fumes, and make sure your gas cap is tight.

(c) Combine trips-Cold engines use more gas than warm ones.

(d) Avoid peak traffic times-Idling uses unneeded fuel, and unnecessary time.

(e) Optimal efficiency for most cars is 55-60mph. Speeding may cost you more than a ticket!

(f) Clear your car of junk. Extra weight uses up gas.

(g) Keep your tires properly inflated and rotated. Check them every 2 weeks.

(h) Get regular oil changes, and check your air and fuel filters while you're there.

(i) Finally, in your home, a programmable thermostat can save you an additional $150/year.

2005, Matthew S. Clement, All rights reserved.

Matthew S. Clement is a financial planner and investment advisor representative with Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. He provides holistic wealth management and retirement planning to individuals and businesses. He can be reached in New York at (845) 942-8578, or by email: ClementM@FinancialNetwork.com.

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