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.

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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?

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Lead photo © Justin Cozart