In the state of California, vehicles that meet certain fuel economy and tailpipe emission criteria have been given special access to the high occupancy vehicle lanes, also known as HOV or carpool lane. In cities that are swamped with cars, this is a major advantage to hybrid and other green car owners.
The rumbles of trouble arising in this system have been happening since the number of vehicles that qualify for this access are growing rapidly. Recently, the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill (SB 535) into law which extends HOV-lane access, starting 2012, to 40,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles that qualify for access.
This could mean that the HOV lane is choked with traffic. Cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrid, which qualify for HOV access have has huge numbers coming out – 85,000 to be precise.
The question is – should plug-in hybrids and more electric vehicle be given preference for qualifying for the HOV sticker? Is it not fair that regular hybrids be progressively phased out from the HOV lanes in order to ensure that the most fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles are encouraged?
Even though it not a move that is required with immediate effect, maybe authorities can consider this option to be implemented by 2015, by which time there will be more PHEVs and EVs available.