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Clean Air Vehicle Decals

decalYou’ve probably seen cars in the carpool lane with special stickers; however, did you know that there are actually three different kinds of stickers?

California law allows single-occupant use of carpool lanes by certain qualifying vehicles.

There are the Yellow stickers – which are no longer valid as of July 1, 2011.

Current, valid stickers are either green or white.

White stickers are available in unlimited numbers. These are for what are known as “Inherently Low Emission Vehicles” or ILEVs. Typically, these are for 100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. These stickers are set to expire on January 1, 2019.

Green stickers were originally limited to the first 40,000 applicants whom were driving “Total Zero Emissions Vehicles” or TZEVs. These include what we typically know as hybrid vehicles such as a Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius. On July 1, 2014, the number of stickers was increased by 15,000. The number of stickers was again increased on January 1, 2015 by another 15,000, bringing the total available stickers to 70,000.

As of June 22, 2015, the DMV has issued 68,786 Green Clean Air Vehicle decals. As this number was so close to the 70,000 maximum, people in the market for qualifying vehicles became concerned that they might not be able to use these vehicles in the carpool lane. Historically, under the yellow sticker program, after all the stickers were given out, the used car market for vehicles with existing stickers boomed. Used hybrids with the stickers fetched much higher selling prices than those without.

California Governor Jerry Brown has recently signed SB853 – a budget trailer bill, that includes a unexpected addition of more green stickers for PHEV drivers. This law will go into effect on July 1, 2015 and will increase the maximum number of green stickers by another 15,000 bringing the present total up to 85,000. All green stickers are set to expire on January 1, 2019.

What are your thoughts on this? Aren’t the carpool lanes there to encourage people not to drive alone? Should we encourage the purchase of these types of vehicles regardless of whether it does nothing to promote people to carpool? In light of other subsidies available to those who purchase electric and hybrid vehicles, is it fair that they also get this benefit?

Let us know in the comments.

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