Bill AB266 could extend HOV lane access for green cars by 10 years in California

One of the most sought after incentives for green(er) cars in California are the white, green and yellow stickers that give access to the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane even if you don't have the required number of passengers. The yellow sticks (shown above) that were once given to the most fuel-efficient hybrids expired in 2011, but the white stickers for electric, natural gas, and hydrogen vehicles are still offered, though time is running out. If nothing is done, the program will expire on January 1, 2015, and then it's "bye bye" carpool lane.

California Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield doesn't want to see that happen. He introduced a bill called AB266 that would extend by 10 years the duration of the HOV sticker program to January 1, 2025.

Green Car Reports writes:

Under the current program, "white" stickers are given to zero-emission vehicles that include all battery electric vehicles as well as natural-gas and hydrogen powered vehicles, while "green" stickers are given to plug-in hybrids and range-extended electric cars that have both battery propulsion and a gasoline engine.

This extension would be a relatively low-cost way for California to not only improve the state's vehicle fleet, but also to help the development of green(er) vehicles. The hardest thing with a new technology is to get through the early low-volume high-price phase; once that's over, you get economies of scale and incremental technological improvements to help you reduce cost, which means that a lot more people can afford to buy your products. By making plug-ins more attractive to Californians, this would help the whole industry keep moving toward EV and PHEVs that are more affordable and better -- battery technology will no doubt keep improving, as will power electronics and software, and fast-charging stations will pop all over, making even long trips easy.


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