Plug-in Hybrids and HOV Lanes: Déjà Don’t.



Ahh, one of my favorite California bills is back. No, not that one. The one that allows plug-in hybrids into CA HOV lanes with just one occupant.

The original allocation of 40,000 green stickers that indicate HOV eligibility for PHEVs has been exhausted. AB 2013 proposes to make 45,000 more stickers available immediately, and is currently headed to the CA Senate. All 85,000 PHEV stickers would still expire in 2019.

The bill’s proponents mean well. Problem is, without any meaningful EV range requirement, it remains the poorly-constructed law it always has been. Parameters for each incentive should be based on its intended goal: in this case, to encourage commuting on plug-in electric power. Stands to reason then, that eligible vehicles should be able to operate in electric mode at freeway speeds for the length of a standard roundtrip commute (~30 miles, give or take).

For the last couple years, the lanes have been open to any car with a plug, even those that are far more gas than electric. But it’s time to step up. If we’re going to allow more PHEVs into HOV lanes, we need to expect more from them.

I get the inclination to take the easy win toward selling a few more PHEVs, I really do. But in the grand scheme, it wasn’t much of a win nearly four years ago when this law was first passed, and it certainly isn’t now.


Your California State legislators may be found here. Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (sponsor of AB 2013) can be contacted here.

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