California To Extend Carpool-Lane Access To 40,000 Plug-In Hybrids

california hov-lane photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
Should Access for Regular Hybrids be Phased Out?
In California, vehicles that meet certain fuel economy and tailpipe emission criteria are granted special access to the high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV, aka the carpool lane). In car-centric places like Los Angeles, it's a huge advantage. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill (SB 535) into law that extends HOV-lane access to 40,000 qualifying plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in 2012.
california hov-lane photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

But what happens when there are so many qualifying vehicles on the road that the carpool lane isn't so free from traffic anymore? According to CARB's list, cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrid qualify for a HOV sticker, and 85,000 of them have been given out. Should the addition of plug-in hybrids and more electric vehicle mean that regular hybrids are progressively phased out from the HOV lanes to maintain the level of incentive and make sure that it is truly the most fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles that are encouraged?

What do You Think?
I'm curious to know what you think about this. Should regular hybrids be progressively phased out from HOV lanes? Not right now, but maybe around 2015 when more PHEVs and EVs will be available. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

via GCC
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