HOV Lane Stickers Limit Lifted for Calif. PHEVs

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Plug-in hybrid shoppers in California won’t have to worry until 2019 about getting HOV lane stickers enabling them to drive without passengers in the state’s carpool, or high-occupancy vehicle, lanes.

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The state’s legislature has voted to allow an unlimited number of those carpool lane stickers – green for plug-in hybrids – to be California's green HOV lane stickerawarded through Dec. 31, 2018. Until recently, the state wasn’t issuing any single-occupant HOV lane stickers to new PHEV owners. That’s because the old limit of 85,000 had been hit and the legislature was tied up debating whether and how to extend it.

Battery-electric vehicles, fuel-cell electrics and dedicated natural gas vehicles get white HOV lane stickers, which have never been limited.

The new legislation, part of a measure called Senate Bill 838, says the California Department of Motor Vehicles can now issue an unlimited number of green HOV lane stickers to qualified PHEVs.

The caveats:
1) The stickers will expire on Jan. 1, 2019 unless the legislature acts by then to extend the program;
2) In some parts of the state, most notably the LA Basin, the car pool lanes already are so crowded they often appear to be moving more slowly than the regular lanes during high-traffic periods. So having a green sticker may not be such a great benefit for some PHEV owners.