California Hybrid Drivers Lose Special Privileges

For the past six years, drivers of hybrid cars in California had the luxury of life in the fast lane:  permission to drive in the carpooling lane normally reserved for carpoolers with 2 or more passengers, completely alone.  Now hybrid drivers of California are facing the loss of that privilege, coloring their once green faces red with anger. 

Hybrid HOV stickers

The stickers issued to drivers of hybrids and luxury hybrid vehicles, allowing them to roll freely through carpooling lanes, are about to expire, and will not be renewed.  The right to drive in the carpooling lanes began as an incentive to buy vehicles that used less fuel and were kinder to the environment.  Now the road is being cleared for a generation of even cleaner smart cars, with 40,000 green bumper sticker decals soon available to owners of “partial zero-emission” vehicles.

In seriously populated places like California, the right to drive alone in the carpooling lane is priceless because it can typically turn a 3-hour commute into a 45-minute joy ride.  But beginning soon, around 85,000 hybrid auto owners in Cali will reluctantly grip their wheels and rejoin their fellow commuters in the clogged, smogged lanes of their past.

California HOV lane

California HOV lanes are appealing

Here are some fun facts about the hybrid incentive program in California:

•    There were around 57,000 registered hybrids prior to the program, and all 85,000 decals were quickly purchased once word spread 
•    Only the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and Honda Insight were eligible for the program because they were the only models to meet the 45 mpg criteria
•    Hybrid cars now make up 425,000 of nearly 32 million registered vehicles in California
•    The stickers became the target of thieves as well as a status symbol
•    The stickers even raised the resale value of the hybrid
•    People would approach others and offer thousands more than the value of the hybrid car if it had a coveted sticker.  Time is a valuable commodity!

Prius with HOV sticker

Prius with HOV sticker

Honda Civic with HOV sticker

Honda Civic with HOV sticker

Honda Insight with HOV sticker

Honda Insight with HOV sticker

The many that felt slighted and jealous of the special privileges bestowed upon the hybrid drivers of Cali, will now be sharing the already-jammed commuting lanes with 85,000 more vehicles…minus the 40,000 who bust their asses to snag the new status stickers (symbols)!

Hybrid HOV stickers California


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