Laura K. Cowan

California Hybrids Will Lose Their HOV Status This Friday

by , 06/28/11

HOV lane, carpool lane, California HOV access, hybrid car, electric car, fuel cell, natural gas vehicle, plug-in hybrid, range-extended PHEV, Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, green automotive design, alternative transportation, green transportation, fuel efficiency

If you live in California, it’s time to trade in your Prius for a Tesla Model S. This Friday, July 1st, the state will strip hybrids of their HOV carpool lane access — six months after originally planned. But plug-in hybrids, fully electric cars such as the Tesla Roadster, fuel cells, natural gas vehicles, and electric cars with range-extending engines such as the Chevy Volt will still have access to these lanes even with one person in the car until 2015.

HOV lane, carpool lane, California HOV access, hybrid car, electric car, fuel cell, natural gas vehicle, plug-in hybrid, range-extended PHEV, Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, green automotive design, alternative transportation, green transportation, fuel efficiency

The change is likely to irritate 85,000 hybrid owners that purchased their cars not just for the fuel efficiency but also for the convenience of zipping through California’s famously heavy traffic, but it does encourage consumers to continue to buy more efficient vehicles. What do you think of this continuing encouragement for California drivers to go green? Will you be buying an electric car to stay in the carpool lane?

+ Tesla Motors

+ GM

Lead photo © Justin Cozart

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


2 Comments

  1. lazyreader June 28, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Letting hybrids use HOV lanes did not necessarily increase hybrid sales. The whole purpose of HOV lanes is to contribute to carpooling, not giving legal loopholes to drivers. But carpooling in general is fairly low. I think we should get rid of the lanes or turn them into HOT lanes (high occupancy toll), where single occupancy drivers pays a toll to ride these largely unused road lanes. Or hybrid HOV/HOT lanes (carpoolers use it free and single occupants have to pay). The money would go towards bringing the highway up to par in terms of ride quality and repairs. Improving fuel performance includes reducing congestion, since non congested roads move more vehicles per hour than congested ones. Some critics call them “Lexus lanes” because they assume only the rich can afford to use them, but remember this; In California, daycare centers can charge an additional 5 dollars per child, per minute if your late to pick them up! So a small toll (depending on traffic conditions) is worth it rather than you being ten minutes late pickup up your brats at daycare let alone a small toll compared to your hourly wage if your very late for work.

    Another thing to improve traffic has nothing to do with the roads. One of the reasons we have traffic congestion is simple, slow human reaction time. A lot of cars have an option called adaptive cruise control or ACC, which uses radar or laser sensors to measure what appropriate distances to keep. It also has software to apply the brakes or the gas pedal to follow behind other cars on the highway and do so at closer distance more safely and alerts you when to take needed action allowing more cars to be on the highway per hour. Right now the technology is found in luxury cars or higher end vehicles. Automakers should work to make the technology cheaper so it can be added to nearly any car whose typical cost is less than 15-20 thousand dollars; since it may only be a 1,500 dollar option, whats that for a 18,000 dollar sedan. Most of the advanced technology found in luxury cars eventually finds it’s way into generic models in as little as a few years such as original cruise control, automatic windows, dashboard navigation systems. It’ll be worth it. Once 15-20 percent of cars on the road use ACC on the highways regularly, congestion will be nearly cut in half and fuel savings will significantly improve because we wont idle on the highway so much. Interstate Highways only account for 4 percent of all our roads, but account for 25 percent of traffic and miles driven. De-congesting our major highways will lead to big fuel savings and money savings, and the cost would be transferred to the drivers (the ones responsible for making the roads congested) rather than the huge public costs associated with building additional roads.

  2. caeman June 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

    California’s new rule just tanked the resale value of the hybrids that no longer qualify. 85,000 cars that might have been purchased second hand for the benefit of the HOV lane will pray that someone might want them. Good job, California!

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?