Gary Knight, 48, sits in his golf cart with his mother, Joann Hall, at their home in Sweet Springs, Mo. For the last six years Knight, who has cerebral palsy, has used a golf cart as a way to get around in the small town.

AP Photo/Kelley McCall

Electric Golf Cart Tax Credit

By now you know that the usefulness of golf carts actually goes far beyond the golf course. They can be used almost anywhere a car can't -- and even in some places where cars can. Many communities have begun building golf-cart paths. These communities aren't just built around golf courses, either. Instead, golf cart paths are used to promote a car-free lifestyle for the residents. Instead of hopping in their cars to go wherever they need to go, residents in these areas jump into their own personal golf carts. When used this way, golf carts are called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).

Peachtree City, Ga., a community south of Atlanta, is one area that has encouraged NEV use among its residents. Peachtree City has more than 90 miles (144.8 kilometers) of golf cart paths, and residents use them to travel between the five villages in the community. Many high school students within the community take golf carts to school, and the golf cart usage has not only helped to lower traffic -- it's also helped Peachtree City make CNN/Money's list of the Best Places to Live [source: CNN/Money].

But, people in Peachtree City and other NEV-friendly communities may have another reason to get a golf cart: a new tax credit for NEVs. The Obama administration's economic stimulus bill provides a provision for a $2,500 tax credit for people who purchase a NEV in 2009. Of course, not all golf carts qualify for NEV status, but many do.

With all the available accessories for personalization, an increase in the number of communities embracing golf carts over cars and now a tax credit, maybe the better way of thinking about them isn't to wonder how they work, but instead to wonder at how they work so well in a variety of applications.

For more information about golf carts and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.