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According to the LA Times today, it could be another six months before you can drive solo in the HOV lanes in a qualified hybrid. First, the EPA has to "define what an energy-efficient, low-emissions hybrid vehicle is within 180 days." Hello? Where have these people been the last two years or so that this issue has been kicked around? EPA probably has hybrids in their fleet, so they should already know the definition.
Of course, I sorta knew this would happen, having waited since I bought my Prius in October '03 for the law to be passed, etc. I retired 30 days ago, so won't have much need to drive solo in the HOV lanes anyway.
 

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Ummm...don't look for this to happen any time soon. Here is a direct quote from Gary Richards, the local traffic guru of the San Francisco Bay Area:

Hybrid owners, put your cars in neutral. When Congress signed off on a new transportation bill last week, there was a provision to allow solo drivers in select hybrids to use California's carpool lanes. But there's a glitch -- the state bill has two requirements: that hybrids get 45 mpg or better, and that they achieve a certain low-emission rating. But the federal bill doesn't give California the go-ahead to implement the low-emission standard. Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Woodland Hills, and state officials told the Los Angeles Daily News that until differences are worked out, hybrid owners may not get diamond-lane privileges. Click on http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg1000.pdf to apply for carpool stickers.

It is estimated it will take about six months to completely work out the disparities in the two bills before applications will be accepted for hybrids. Ah, the joys of government bureacuracy.
 

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I think these people are confused, and maybe a little resentful of our coming HOV lane access.

Nothing stops California from adding additional requirements to our carpool lanes. We lacked the ability to require less. It appears the Feds are more lax than Cali, so there should be no need for a delay.

Cooler heads will prevail. However, writing our local reps wouldn't be a bad idea to move it along.
 

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Well, here's what I know...

I called my local DMV today. They knew nothing of the new law to allow hybrids in the HOV lanes. They pointed me to the REG 1000 form that explicitly states hybrids are not eligible for the decal. When I mentioned that the form clearly disallows hybrids, they said "you must have an Electric, LPG, or CNG hybrid to qualify."

Somehow I was able to keep my cool and they suggested I contact the Sacramento office.

According to Sacto, they have no info on when or how we can apply for the permits. They're waiting for Bush's signature at which point the EPA and the DMV will review the language and decide on a course of action. I asked if there was a way I could apply now, so when it all gets ironed out, I'd be on their list. He said no, not at this time.

At least the guy at the main office sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He also said they've gotten many calls relating to the new legislation.

His best suggestion was to call back "in a couple weeks" to see if they have more info.


DGStan.
 

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If the state wanted to do it, they'd allow it.

California tried. We passed the law last year but the Feds wouldn't allow it since carpool lanes in CA are federally funded.
 
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