Legislation was approved Monday permitting an extension to the soon-to-be-reached cap on California’s “green” stickers which allow solo HOV lane access to plug-in hybrids.

The state spending plan legislation, AB 95, includes provision for raising the upper limit from 70,000 stickers to 85,000. It is now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature by July 1.

It’s believed he will sign the bill, and the move follows a last-minute push to buy some time for a cap which had already been raised twice from an original 40,000 stickers.

Source: California ARB.

Source: California ARB which also provides a list of eligible cars.

On June 8, the California Air Resources Board announced the end was drawing near, as the program due to expire Jan. 1, 2019 or at 70,000 – whichever comes first – saw the number 70,000 coming first with 68,343 stickers accounted for.

Temporary Reprieve

A reprieve has effectively been put in motion, if maybe only for a finite time longer, for buyers of cars like the BMW REx, Ford C-Max Energi, and – importantly – the 2016 Chevy Volt.

Chevrolet depends on this perk to its consumers to move 40-50 percent of its extended-range EV, and the new car is pending with buyers lined up. Now they can have their stickers.

How long the new stickers may last, and whether they will increase the limit again is uncertain.


Will They Raise It Again?

You may notice from ARB’s statement above that legislators keep raising the limit by 15,000 more green stickers at a time. First the state raised it from the original 40,000 to 55,000; then from 55,000 to 70,000. Now it’s being raised to 85,000.

The rule remains that the program is to run through Jan. 1, 2019 – with new limit of 85,000, or whichever comes first (assuming governor’s signature). However, the political will to keep the DMV’s green stickers coming and put more plug-in hybrids on California roads remains as well.

It would appear certain the cap of 85,000 stickers will come first again, so will they again raise it? Maybe, if the current sentiment prevails as voiced by State Sen. Fran Pavley who sponsored similar legislation, SB 39, that was not approved.

“The supply of ‘green stickers’ for plug-in hybrids has not kept up with the demand,” said Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. “To make sure this incentive remains effective, the supply of green stickers needs to be increased.”

This issue of supply is true, but there may also be a demand for free lunches, and the legislature did not also grant those. In fact, the issue is California wants to electrify its fleet, so it has raised the limit yet again.

This does not guaranty that California will continue to raise the cap – and then maybe also the date of Jan 1, 2019 if needs be – but if past behavior is an indicator of future performance …

Meanwhile, get them while they’re hot.

Thanks to Mario R. Duran for the tip.