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The vote in the Transportation Committee was 11-0 in favor! Everyone's efforts certainly paid off. The next steps are as follows:
The legislation gets forwarded to the Appropriations Commitee, where it will be heard the week of May 17 at the latest. It must be reported out by May 21. (The feeling is that there is not much problem in the appropriations committee since there are virtually no costs that will not be borne by the beneficiaries of the bill.) Once the appropriations committee votes it out, it goes to the floor of the Assembly where it must be voted out by May 28. Assuming it is passed it goes over to the Senate. Similar committee hearings will be held in the Senate. Assuming it passes there too it will go to Gov. Schwartzenegger to sign. Earliest is expected to be in September. It would go into effect 1/1/2005 if the Feds pass the enabling legislation (it is in the energy bill) anytime before the end of the year.

Assemblymember Pavley's office asks that we keep up the comments and specifically that people go to her web site http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a41/ and send e-mails to her specifically so that she can include them in the package she takes to the floor of the Assembly. Keep up the good work!
 

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Cast _your_ vote for hybrids in CA HOV lanes!

Quick, cast _your_ vote! The San Francisco Chronicle has an informal online poll on the front page of their "SF Gate" website today only.

Go to the SF Gate homepage and cast your vote in "The Question" box!

http://www.sfgate.com

Thanks!

- Peter
2001 & 2002 Prius
CA "MO MPG"
 

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Voted! Thank you guys for the updates and links.
 

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It's not going to be popular, but i disagree

It's not going to be popular, but I disagree with this post. The HOV lane is for High Ocupancy Vehicles (which means only two passangers for crying out loud). It's only restricted during rush hour and open to everyone at other times.

On what basis does a hybrid qualify as an HOV when it only has the driver in it? What about the coming highlander which gets less than 30 mpg? What about the suzuki convertable that I used to drive, it got 45 mpg, does it get to go in the HOV lane during rush hour? Lot's of CRX's get in the 40 MPG range, what about them?

Also, how does CHP know it's a hybrid when driving down the freeway? They can't tell, so what you are proposing is an end to the HOV lane. Maybe that is what you want, but why not be honest and just say, "We want to do away with the HOV lane"?
 

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It's not going to be popular, but i disagree

It's not going to be popular, but I disagree with this post. The HOV lane is for High Ocupancy Vehicles (which means only two passangers for crying out loud). It's only restricted during rush hour and open to everyone at other times.

On what basis does a hybrid qualify as an HOV when it only has the driver in it? What about the coming highlander which gets less than 30 mpg? What about the suzuki convertable that I used to drive, it got 45 mpg, does it get to go in the HOV lane during rush hour? Lot's of CRX's get in the 40 MPG range, what about them?

Also, how does CHP know it's a hybrid when driving down the freeway? They can't tell, so what you are proposing is an end to the HOV lane. Maybe that is what you want, but why not be honest and just say, "We want to do away with the HOV lane"?
 

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I thought the bill was intended for "low emission" vehicles, not "hybrid" specifically. Was I wrong?
 

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Re: It's not going to be popular...

For the nay-sayers of the HOV priviledge:

On what basis does a hybrid qualify as an HOV when it only has the driver in it? What about the coming highlander which gets less than 30 mpg? What about the suzuki convertable that I used to drive, it got 45 mpg, does it get to go in the HOV lane during rush hour? Lot's of CRX's get in the 40 MPG range, what about them?
>>Looking at the DMV site for CA (see addy below), the current qualifications are for vehicles that use alternative fuel than gasoline (like CNG or eventually hydrogen) and meet SULEV CARB ratings and ILEV federal ratings. This would add language to include hybrid behicles like the hybrid Toyotas and the Honda varities, so the alternative fuel piece will be changed.

Also, how does CHP know it's a hybrid when driving down the freeway?
>>>Also, according to the DMV site, those of us that qualify must submit an application to CA DMV for a decal that designates our vehicles as capable of sole occupant use. The Bill also has an application cap set to prevent an over-saturation of the HOV lane. Even if all current Prius owners were to get thier decals, it would account for a significant population of CA drivers. I also hope that Highway Patrol were more diligent (or other drivers in reporting to Highway Patrol) to fining diver-only vehicles in the HOV lane without the decal (esp. in Hummer :evil: and other large vehicles).

For more info on the current verbage of the Clean Air Vehicle Decals, visit:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg1000.htm

Cheers. :) Hope this helps... :lol:
 

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The HOV lane is for High Ocupancy Vehicles (which means only two passangers for crying out loud). It's only restricted during rush hour and open to everyone at other times.

IMHO the purpose of the HOV lane is to reduce congestion by pairing up people who would normally drive as singles and reduce the amount of emmisions created. And yet someone in their 12mpg Expedition with a child in a car seat is qualified to drive in it? At least I'm doing half of what was intended in my Prius.
 

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If you want rightous indignation, how about the pregnant lady that was in the HOV lane "alone" in her car and was sited. The citation was overturned! Thank you liberal judges and sleezy lawyers prostituting the spirit of the law by hiding behind the letter of the law. (rant finished).

Premise: The ultimate goal of the HOV lane is to reduce pollution. Congested freeways cause more pollution. Letting ultra fuel efficient vehicles with only a driver use the HOV lane is a reward for actually doing something about gasoline dependence and air pollution caused by cars. Prius owners have put their money where their mouths are by buying these cars.

Who is allowed in: They have to draw the line somewhere as to which cars are allowed in the HOV lanes, and it was drawn at 45 MPG, that is, the EPA's mileage rating of the vehicle. The Prius meets that critera. Some other "fuel efficient" vehicles may not. Toyota's coming Highlander Hybrid will probably not make the cut. There will always be somebody that will have 2 people in a Hummer that gets 8MPG and be in the HOV lane. That defeats the spirit of the HOV lanes (to reduce pollution) but meets the letter of the law. (See above rant and apply it to gas hogs.)

More good reasons: Further, non-hybrid owners will see these hybrids flying past them on the congested freeways and be encouraged to drop gas guzzlers for more fuel efficient vehicles. Again, less pollution. Another good reason for letting the ultra fuel efficient in the HOV lane with any number of people in the vehicle. Increase their visibility and popularity.

Enforcement: As far as enforcement goes, it will be easy. All the police have to do is look for the decal that will be issued to qualifying cars, after the owner applies for it. (Do I hear the sound of the state cash registers ringing?) They don't even need to know what kind of car it is. One person in the car and no sticker, pull it over!

Over crowding: The proposed regulation lists a maximum number of decals that can be issued over the life of the bill. That number is significantly greater that the number of qualifying vehicles on the road. And still more than all that can be manufactured and put on the road during the time limitation of the bill. Further, the bill has a finite life span. It is not open to ALL future qualifying vehicles. In summary, the bill has several limitations that will ensure overcrowding the HOV lanes with hybrids can not happen.

Conclusion: The only reason somebody would not want to let the ultra fuel efficient vehicles in the HOV lanes is jelousy. "I don't have a AT-PZEV vehicle so you shouldn't get a privilage I can't have! Na na na! :evil:


Mike

(Damn the air is thin up here on this soap box.)
 

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Here in Virginia we can drive our Prius's and other hybrids in the HOV lanes. Which I take advantage of whenever traffic is just too much for me to handle. However some 250 out of 6000 cars on the I95/395 HOV are Hybrids. On an average day I see 8 to 10 Hybrid vehicles. Some worry that the HOV lanes are becoming just asjammed as normal lanes. There are some days when it is just not worth getting in the HOV lanes because they are not moving much faster than normal. What happens when the HOV lanes are jammed with Hybrids carrying one person?

FYI: There is a nice article in the post about this issue
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41985-2004Apr25.html

John
 

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WVU,
Do you think 8 to 10 more vehicles are going to make ANY difference in the congestion in your HOV lane? Get real! Even if all 250 of the hybrids in your area were there at the same time. Do you think that would make ANY difference. Stop and count the vehicles that go by in the span of 10 or 15 minutes. Then tell me whether a few hybrids would make any difference.
 

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My point is its not going to last. So if the HOV is lifted for Hybrids in CA enjoy it while you can. How much is a shorter commute worth? 25,000, plus added fuel and tax savings. You Bet. Letting Hybrids use HOV lanes is a fantastic way to encourage people to buy cleaner more fuel efficient cars, and I applaud the government for their efforts. But do you think this will last once hybrid technology is more widely diffused into the market? What ever happens I am going to take advantage of it while I can.
 

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I'm sure it won't last. The bill as it is going through now has an expiration date. I'll just be happy to use the HOV lanes as long as they let me.
 

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California has some pretty congested freeways, especially in the LA area. While I would be pleased if I could drive my Prius solo in the carpool lane, I fear that this new allowance would drive many people to buy hybrids, and then it will just become a regular lane.
 

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You've obviously not read the entire thread above. There are not going to be so many hybrids built in the next few years that if all of them that are sold in Los Angeles were in the HOV lanes at the same time, it would make any difference to the congestion. Also the hydbrid exemption law that is going through the legislature has a sunset clause in it. Enen if it passes, it will only allow us to use the HOV lanes solo for a few years. It will have NO affect on congestion in the HOV lanes. And somebody above mentioned that their HOV lanes were HOV lanes only during rush hour. In Los Angeles, the HOV lanes are HOV only 24/7. Rush hour and Sunday at 4 in the morning, they are HOV ONLY!
 

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You're right, I hadn't read the whole thread before posting. Still, I wasn't just talking about the next few years. Not all hybrids are popular (with the 2004 Prius seemingly the first), and I think the recent high gas prices combined with an allowance for solo carpool would certainly boost hybrid popularity. I know of a guy who bought a CNG Civic just so he could do his daily commute in the carpool lane. While he may not be the norm, it's not unlikely that he's not the only one who thinks that way. Increasing popularity for hybrids will cause car makers to offer more hybrids and more models and styles of hybrid. The hybrid SUVs that will be released shortly will probably be very popular. Fast forward about ten years and I can imagine hybrids being 25% of new cars sold. That will make a difference in the congestion of the carpool lane.
 

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Read the bill (AB2628) for yourself. The hybrid SUVs are not going to get good enough milage to qualify for the HOV lane access exemption. It qualifies vehicles getting better than 45MPG. That is the EPA estimated milage from the manufacture's window sticker. The Explorer and the Highlander SUVs don't get that milage. They won't be allowed in the HOV lanes. So we're looking at only the all electrics, the Prius, Civic hybrid and the Insights ONLY. There aren't enough of them to make any difference in the HOV lane traffic.
 
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