How would you like the U.S. government to send you a check that would pay for five years' worth of gasoline?

Well, it can be arranged.

Not everyone is eligible, of course. But if you use a vehicle 100 percent for business and purchase a vehicle, new or used, from a select list of big-time gas-guzzlers, Uncle Sam is ready to help you out.

Yes, I'm talking about the well-publicized special tax break for vehicles with a gross weight of at least 6,000 pounds. Gross weight is the weight of the vehicle including fuel, passengers, and payload. Because of this, gross weight can be a good deal more than the empty weight of the vehicle.

Forty-one domestic and fifteen foreign SUVs qualify for this tax break. The Porsche Cayenne, a notably business-like vehicle, is among them. As a consequence, while the depreciation write-off for any passenger car used for business is limited to only $2,960 in 2005, down from $10,610 in 2004, those claiming 100 percent business use of these SUVs could deduct 100 percent of the $89,665 price of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo during 2003 and until late October 2004. For those who bought in time, the write-off represented an immediate income tax savings of $31,383, provided the buyer was in the 35 percent tax bracket. Think of it as a bagatelle for the non-indigent from the Jobs and Growth Act of 2003.

One of the particularly compelling uses I've seen of this tax break was a bright parrot green Hummer2 parked at a luxury marina in Burnt Store Florida. A sign on the driver's door advertised a dress shop.

Many readers will note (some with sorrow) that this tax break brought so much well deserved excoriation to legislators that they closed it.

"Tightened" would be a better description.

If you failed to buy your Porsche Cayenne Turbo by last October, don't despair. Uncle Sam still wants to help. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 reduced the immediate deduction to $25,000. In addition, you can take normal depreciation on the remaining value. Normal depreciation is 20 percent. That would be about $13,000 for the Cayenne Turbo.

So your total tax deduction would be $38,000. For those in the 35 percent tax bracket that calculates to an immediate tax savings of $13,300.

That, of course is mere money. Suppose we measure the benefit in something of global importance, like gasoline.

According to www.fueleconomy.gov, the Cayenne Turbo gets 13 mpg in the city, 18 mpg on the highway. It has an estimated annual fuel cost of $2,241, assuming a premium fuel price of $2.24 a gallon.

Divide the immediate income tax savings by the annual cost of gasoline and you get the answer: Uncle Sam will pay for 14 years of gasoline, if you bought under the Jobs and Growth Act of 2003, or 5.9 years, if you bought under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. The table at the columns end shows the approximate years of fuel Uncle Sam paid for business guzzler buyers under both sets of rules. This assumes a typical annual gasoline cost of $2,000 and a 35 percent tax bracket buyer. The lowest subsidy covers over 4 years of gasoline.

It suggests that we should have a spelling-bee for legislators to determine how many can spell "counter productive."

Tax savings for guzzler buyers reduce government revenue, increase the federal deficit, increase our trade deficit, and send yet more money to the Middle East. If we were going to devise a formula for wrecking the country, it would be difficult to improve on this one. We might as well call this portion of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 the Osama Bin Laden Support Fund.

Next Sunday: A New Economic Indicator, the H2PRS
Years of fuel assume $2000 annual Cost. Investor in 35 percent Tax bracket.

Vehicle Model

Gross Wt.

MSRP

Jobs and Growth Act 2003

Years of Fuel Paid by Tax Savings

American Jobs Creation Act 2004

Years of Fuel Paid by Tax Savings

BMW
X5

6005

$53,845

$53,845

9.4

$30,769

5.4

Cadillac
Escalade

7000

$54,280

$54,280

9.5

$30,856

5.4

Escalade ESV

7200

$56,160

$56,160

9.8

$31,232

5.5

Escalade SRX

7000

$43,940

$43,940

7.7

$28,788

5.0

Chevrolet
Astro Passenger Van

6100

$27,620

$27,620

4.8

$25,524

4.5

Avalanche 1500

7000

$36,062

$36,062

6.3

$27,212

4.8

Avalanche 2500

8600

$36,545

$36,545

6.4

$27,309

4.8

Express Pass. Van 3500

9600

$30,525

$30,525

5.3

$26,105

4.6

Silverado 1500

6400

$28,600

$28,600

5.0

$25,720

4.5

Silverado 2500

8600

$31,999

$31,999

5.6

$26,400

4.6

Silverado 3500

11400

$34,200

$34,200

6.0

$26,840

4.7

Suburban 1500

7200

$41,907

$41,907

7.3

$28,381

5.0

Suburban 2500

8600

$41,280

$41,280

7.2

$28,256

4.9

Trailblazer

6400

$32,470

$32,470

5.7

$26,494

4.6

Tahoe

6800

$38,530

$38,530

6.7

$27,706

4.8

Dodge
Durango

6400

$33,280

$33,280

5.8

$26,656

4.7

Ram Cargo Van 3500

8700

$22,150

$22,150

3.9

$24,430

4.3

Ram MaxiVan 3500

8700

$22,010

$22,010

3.9

$24,402

4.3

Sprinter

8550

$32,391

$32,391

5.7

$26,478

4.6

Ram 1500

6650

$26,930

$26,930

4.7

$25,386

4.4

Ram 2500

11000

$29,160

$29,160

5.1

$25,832

4.5

Ram 3500

11000

$32,610

$32,610

5.7

$26,522

4.6

Ford
Econoline E350 Van

9500

$24,460

$24,460

4.3

$24,892

4.4

Econoline E350 Pass. Wagon

8700

$27,590

$27,590

4.8

$25,518

4.5

Excursion

8900

$43,650

$43,650

7.6

$28,730

5.0

Expedition

6650

$37,185

$37,185

6.5

$27,437

4.8

F150 Styleside

6500

$28,345

$28,345

5.0

$25,669

4.5

F250 Super Duty

9900

$28,950

$28,950

5.1

$25,790

4.5

F350 Super Duty

11,200

$30,110

$30,110

5.3

$26,022

4.6

GMC
Safari AWD Pass. Van

6100

$27,620

$27,620

4.8

$25,524

4.5

Savana Pass. Van 3500

9600

$30,525

$30,525

5.3

$26,105

4.6

Sierra 1500

6400

$31,170

$31,170

5.5

$26,234

4.6

Sierra 2500

8600

$32,161

$32,161

5.6

$26,432

4.6

Sierra 3500

11400

$33,270

$33,270

5.8

$26,654

4.7

Sierra Denali

7200

$44,255

$44,255

7.7

$28,851

5.0

Yukon Denali

7200

$44,695

$44,695

7.8

$28,939

5.1

Hummer
H1

10300

$111,845

$107,107

18.7

$42,369

7.4

H2

8600

$50,590

$50,590

8.9

$30,118

5.3

Isuzu
Ascender

6400

$34,197

$34,197

6.0

$26,839

4.7

Land Rover
Discovery

6064

$37,995

$37,995

6.6

$27,599

4.8

Range Rover

6724

$71,865

$71,865

12.6

$34,373

6.0

Lexus
GX470

6000

$45,700

$45,700

8.0

$29,140

5.1

LX470

6860

$64,800

$64,800

11.3

$32,960

5.8

Lincoln
Aviator

6210

$43,387

$43,387

7.6

$28,677

5.0

Navigator

7450

$51,960

$51,960

9.1

$30,392

5.3

Blackwood

6780

$52,500

$52,500

9.2

$30,500

5.3

Mercedes
G-Class

6834

$84,500

$84,500

14.8

$36,900

6.5

M-Class

6283

$51,970

$51,970

9.1

$30,394

5.3

Nissan
Pathfinder Armada

6800

$37,600

$37,600

6.6

$27,520

4.8

Titan

6486

$28,950

$28,950

5.1

$25,790

4.5

Porsche
Cayenne

6790

$73,165

$73,165

12.8

$34,633

6.1

Toyota
Land Cruiser

6860

$53,915

$53,915

9.4

$30,783

5.4

Sequoia

6600

$38,080

$38,080

6.7

$27,616

4.8

Tundra

6200

$23,835

$23,835

4.2

$24,767

4.3

Volkswagon
Touarag

6200

$38,415

$38,415

6.7

$27,683

4.8

Sources: www.taxpayer.net, www.fueleconomy.gov
More!

Learn about vehicle fuel economy here

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymake/Porsche2004.shtml

Learn about the SUV tax break here.

http://www.smartmoney.com/tax/workbusiness/index.cfm?story=equipment

http://www.taxpayer.net/greenscissors/SUVsplashpage.htm

http://www.detnews.com/2002/autosinsider/0212/18/c01-38875

http://www.taxpayer.net/TCS/whitepapers/SUVtaxbreak.htm