California Out of Hybrid HOV Biz

Feb. 3, 2007: The San Jose Mercury News—Sorry, Hybrid Driver

California hybrid drivers who haven’t received their stickers yet won’t be allowed in HOV lanes.

Summary: If you don’t have it yet, you won’t get it. So says the DMV.

"The Department of Motor Vehicles announced Friday that it no longer will accept applications from qualified hybrid drivers — those who own a Toyota Prius, Honda Civic or the older Honda Insight — for permission to drive solo in the diamond lane."

"State law allowed the DMV to issue 85,000 stickers to certain hybrid drivers on a first-come, first-served basis. Spokesman Steve Haskins said his agency now has received 700 applications more than the limit and no longer wants motorists to send in carpool paperwork."

Should hybrids be allowed to drive solo in the carpool lanes? The answer depends on how you view those lanes. Is their primary function to reduce traffic congestion, or are they meant to clear the air?


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  • Tom from Lorain, Ohio

    I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I wish I could say more, but I don’t know much on the subject.

  • Dom

    If the lanes are not for carpoolers, then change the name. Otherwise, I agree with the statement “People that have hybrids should either form a carpool or get in line and suffer with the rest of us.”

  • John Hardy

    I am writing from the UK, but we are all in this together guys…

    1 person in a Prius is using less fuel per person per mile than a Hummer with 3 or 4 up. Why not make it a high efficiency lane regardless of packaging? Anything that works to bring down global fuel consumption and leave more fuel in the ground for our grandchildren has to be good.

  • bucktrust

    So you want Hybrid drivers out of the carpool lane? Where do you think we are going to go? Yep. Right in front of you in the regular lanes, making your commute even worse.

    I don’t know where you live, but the carpool lanes are anything but clogged where I drive in L.A. and Orange County. Allowing Hybrids in the carpool lanes reduces traffic for everyone.

  • domboy

    If that is the case Anthony, then why bother with a restricted lane? Change that lane back to general use… I don’t live in a city with carpool lanes so I really don’t care either way…

  • Anthony Souza

    The notion that a carpool lane reduces emmisons by encoraging people to carpool is a joke. Obviously, the thousands that don’t, won’t or can’t carpool are forced to burn more fuel and produce more emmisions in the stop and go of a daily commute. By restricting use a lane that is financed by the majority and used by the minority, we only worsen the effects we seek to correct, not to mention the health of those stuck in traffic.

  • Bill Teeple

    I think we are missing the point, here. The lane is meant to be for carpooling – all 5 of them (in the San Jose HW85 corridor).

    I see more people in there that are a parent with a child or hybrid than anything.

    I traded in my Acura TL for a Toyota Prius – not because of the Car Pool lane – I knew the stickers were not being issued any longer – but I needed to do something more environmentally sound. The CARPOOL effect doesn’t help any of the drivers, but I see a lot of hybrids out there – a lot of people wanting to make a difference – maybe the CARPOOL lane should be changed to the Environmental Lane or the Efficient lane or something. Let the government say that we are thankful that people care about our environment and here is a little reward for you. And for those of you stuck in traffic (where I am stuck too) – suck it up. You had a choice to purchase a car that meant a difference to the environment or a car that was an ego booster (that is why I bought the TL in the beginning).

    Everyone complains and moans about why they aren’t the ones singled out to get the benefits offered to the few who do choose to make a difference.

    I am happy knowing that every morning I climb into my Prius and commute with the rest of you gas guzzling fiends, that I am making a difference.

    BTW – I see more hybrids in the regular lanes than I do the carpool lanes – so it would make sense to single them out and offer them the usage of the HOV lane as a way to lessen traffic in the regular lanes and to offer an incentive to change.

  • Ashley

    Why save fule for our Grandchildren? The sooner we loose all the fule the sooner we really will start using an alternative source. The only way to change our ways is to loose what we depend on.