California reduces HOV lane access for EVs
04.26.2018 - by Katherine Stainken
California reduces HOV lane access for EVs

Access to HOV lanes in California has been a powerful non-financial incentive that helps drivers make the switch to a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). Nevertheless, California amended its HOV lane policy so that decals are now only eligible to remain on the PEVs for three years, after which the PEV is no longer eligible for the HOV lane.

This policy change is to the detriment of many Californians, particularly early adopters of PEVs. Drivers who purchased a car before January 1, 2017 will be kicked out of HOV lanes starting in January 2019. Any driver who is issued a decal between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2019 will be able to access the HOV lane until January 1, 2022, though the driver will need to be sure the proper decals are displayed for the time between 2017-2019 and 2019-2022.

Despite the fact that CalTrans stated they are not concerned with PEV drivers congesting the HOV lanes and despite the hard work of Plug In America to amend this bill, the automakers shoved it through the Legislature.

Plug In America is working hard to grandfather in early adopters who have the HOV decal into the new policy, so that early adopters can access the HOV lane until January 1, 2022. Early adopters shouldn’t be punished for having purchased a vehicle more expensive than a regular gas vehicle, while providing clean air benefits to all Californians.

This policy change is also harmful to those in disadvantaged communities who often have longer commutes to work and would benefit from HOV lane access. Consumers in disadvantaged communities are also more likely to buy a used PEV, usually after the car’s HOV decal has expired. A new bill proposes that low-income drivers be able to apply for a HOV decal, even if the PEV already had one; Plug In America is advocating that this policy also be amended to allow all drivers of a used PEV to apply for an HOV decal.

For more information on the current HOV lane policy for PEV drivers, visit the California Air Resources Board website.

20 comments on “California reduces HOV lane access for EVs”
  1. Johnny says:

    This is great! I commute with co-workers in a regular vehicle. We go to the hassle of picking each other up, and by doing so there is only one car on the road instead of four! The original purpose of CARPOOL lanes was to ease congestion and clean the air. Well, at 7am in L.A. On the 405 we are now stuck driving slower than “normal” traffic! The carpool lane is filled with entitled, whiny, brats who think they own the freeways. Hahahaaaaa. Not after 1/19! Life is beautiful.

  2. Dave says:
    Find your representatives and tell them.

  3. James Nailor says:

    Also when they made the express lanes and you have to buy a transponder they allowed RVs and gas goes leaders who have money to use those lanes what part of the clean air act are they referring to are concerned about

  4. James Nailor says:

    I heard that there are close to 30% illegal drivers in the carpool lane’s and nobody’s giving them tickets or any consequences to it so right there they have a monetary incentive to enforce the law and reduce the amount of traffic in the carpool lane’s if this is the reason? I heard that there are close to 30% illegal drivers in the carpool lane and nobody’s giving them tickets or any consequences to it so right there they have a monetary incentive to enforce the law and reduce the amount of traffic in the car pull names if this is the reason

  5. Barry says:

    So just who are these publicly elected prostitutes, so that named, we can fire them?

  6. FT says:

    Trump people have infiltrated California

  7. Timmy says:

    You think this is going to slow down the adoption rate of EVs? If so, think again. Three years is plenty, just deal with it, fgs.

  8. Timmy says:

    I’m an EV-owner, and I say just deal with it. Three years is still “plenty of a perq” — almost unnecessary given how many other benefits EVs provide… They are probably wisely looking ahead: in three years there will (hopefully) be so many EVs riding around that some of you may be GLAD that they did this. i.e., STOP WHINING. You too, PIA.

  9. Robert says:

    > How come automakers are able to influence policy on PHEV like this?

    Because corruption is legal in the US. It’s as simple as that.

  10. Mary McCulley says:

    How do we fight this? Is the legislature able to do something??

  11. Michael Will says:

    The other negative change is that if you got your first short range EV in 2015, then replaced your other car with a long range one in 2016 and now want to replace the short range one in 2018, they refuse to give you the $2500 rebate because of a new limit on how many in three years you are allowed to buy. This feels very unexpected and unfair.

  12. Michael Will says:

    In fact today going over the bay bridge at 9:30 I was amazed how empty the carpool lane was, the recent police work enforcing occupancy/decals must have worked wonders. How come automakers are able to influence policy on PHEV like this?

  13. Karen the Wiiseone says:

    Well then, hey lawmakers … why would I buy one … no incentive there for [quote] the average person [unquote]!

  14. Bill Tracy says:

    Important inaccuracy above is that the date of plug-in purchase is apparently meaningless. The only thing that matters is if the HOV sticker is dated 2017+. Because auto dealers are allowed to purchase HOV stickers ahead of sale, there are a number of folks out-of-luck because their 2017 purchased plug-in sadly has 2016 dated HOV stickers.

    This probably is one small inequity Plug-In America might help revolve.

  15. Ed Hutchinson says:

    I guess the EV owners may need to find a buddy to carpool with. The more people that ride in the EV the more potential owners of EV’s. They are addictive.

  16. Pam dutch says:

    California is just giving us the squeeze. Too bad. I for one am glad to give California some needed to clean air ! If the air was cleaner in Sacramento they might be able to think straighter .

  17. Steve Linthicum says:

    I’m thankful I did not get purchase my 2017 vechicle in late 2016 and get the sticker. There is certainly an unfairness here.

  18. Pam dutch says:

    What a squeeze Electric vehicles are not backing up those lanes at all ! Can’t they use their time on real issues .

  19. Andy Baker says:

    Well, I guess this means that California is satisfied with the number of EVs on the road. Maybe I’m wrong, but I sure don’t SEE the HOV lanes clogged with zero emissions vehicles. Somebody enlighten me please?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *