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Quote of the Day - When Solomon said there was a time and a place for everything he had not encountered the problem of parking his automobile. - Bob Edwards

Hybrids - Coming Soon To A Clogged Carpool Lane Next To You

Red tape, as usual, is the holdup this time. Since August 2004, hybrid cars have stalled on their way into the carpool lane. Not one is in there yet, even though the law went into effect in January 2005.

California passed a law last year allowing hybrids into the carpool lane, and so far, some 24,000 have registered. There are as many as 57,000 on the road now, but an ultimate cap of 75,000 that will be allowed in the carpool lane.

As a consequence, carpool lanes soon may soon be as bad as the rest of the freeway.

While you might expect certain groups to get on board and back incentives like carpool lane access for these vehicles, the American Lung Association is noticeably silent. According to an AP article on FindLaw, " 'We were not convinced that this incentive was needed and we were concerned about the potential to slow traffic in HOV lanes and discourage people from car pooling,' spokeswoman Bonnie Holmes-Gen said." Some, on the other hand, had other reactions. Ford is not behind the idea at all.

The bill's author, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Woodland Hills) reported the holdup on final access for hybrids was stalled due to federal law. Now, however, that hurdle has been removed, no thanks to this advice from the Federal Highway Administration. (I think that message is a classic example of where red tape comes from.)

Despite all this work, carpool lanes are still reserved for HOV cars and motorcycles, and hybrids are still banned.

At this stage, we're just waiting for State regulators to set the parameters for how many miles per volt you need in order to clog the carpool lane.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on 8/7/2005 at 22:22 Comments (1)



Comments by Bill Bedsworth from United States on Tuesday, August 09, 2005 at 14:16

Thanks, Craig. As a Prius driver, I've been wondering what the story was here. Nice to have it all wrapped up in one package.


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