One of every five taxpayers who filed for a $7,500 federal tax credit for buying a plug-in electric or alternative fuel vehicle such as the Chevrolet Volt (which, by the way, isn't really an EV, but is rather a hybrid that employs both a gas engine and electric batteries) and Nissan Leaf did so for non-qualifying cars, acording to an audit by the Treasury Department's Inspector-General.
Curiously, the most frequently purchased ineligible vehicles were the Buick Enclave, a large crossover utility vehicle, and the Hyundai Sonata, a mid-size family sedan that has become immensely popular in the last 18 months.
The 20 percent error rate means approximately $33 million was claimed improperly. The tax credit is considered crucial to propping up demand for the Volt and Leaf as part of the federal government's efforts to somehow persuade a million Americans to buy EVs by 2015.
That effort comes as the domestic auto industry is still in the throes of recoveryfrom the Great Recession of 2008. Ford, which did not accept a federal bailout, has seen its sales rebound so strongly in the past six months that it is considering bringing on a third production shift.
Bloomberg has more here.