American Honda Motor Co. Inc. says the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has determined the Honda FCX fuel-cell vehicle is eligible for the Qualified Fuel Cell Motor Vehicle Credit program.

According to the IRS, the credit amount for the ’05 and ’06 model FCXs is $12,000.

“This tax credit helps offset the higher costs associated with the early development of advanced technology vehicles that reduce (carbon dioxide) emissions and dependence on oil,” says Stephen Ellis, fuel cell vehicle marketing manager-American Honda.

“It is a further validation that the FCX is a real vehicle and another step towards market viability.”

Honda puts the cost of hand-building one current-generation FCX at $1 million. In 2008, Honda plans to begin retailing the next-generation FCX in both Japan and the U.S.

Honda is leasing two FCXs to individual customers in the U.S., with 15 total vehicles on the road at this time.

The current FCX, which debuted in 2002, is powered by Honda’s fuel-cell stack and can run in temperatures as low as –4° F (–20° C).