Wednesday 26 October 2016
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California Nears Cap On Coveted Green Carpool Permits

California Nears Cap On Coveted Green Carpool Permits

If you have a plug-in hybrid in California and want a coveted green carpool lane permit you’d better act fact. The state is nearing it’s 70,000 cap with less than 4,000 of them left for drivers of the Chevy Volt, Prius and other plug-ins.  The stickers are considered a major perk for buyers and are good for California High Occupancy Vehicle access until Jan. 1, 2019. They’ve been so popular that the state’s already upped the allotment twice, most recent adding another 15,000 in January 2015. It initially set the cap at 40,000.

Timing couldn’t be worse for Chevy, which is about to launch its new Volt later this Summer. The stickers are a major selling point and could help booster sales .

“We know it is a significant consideration,” said Michelle Malcho, a Chevrolet spokeswoman.

According to GM Authority, in May Chevy confirmed the 2016 Volt will qualify for lane access. In fact, someone recently spotted a Volt used in the filming of Disney’s Tomorrowland with a decal on it and tweeted out a picture of it. The first-generation Volt was initially not eligible for the deecal, however changes made to the car in 2012 allowed Volt owners to apply for the sticker.

The LA Times reports Chevy is supporting a bill that would grant another 15,000 permits. SB 39, recently introduced by State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Calabasas), would extend availability of the permits by six months to a year based on current sale rates.

“Allowing clean-air vehicles to access the carpool lane is a crucial component in the state’s strategy to incentivize clean vehicles,” said Pavley.

If the bill goes through it would bring the total number of green decals issued up to 85,000. However, some transit districts, like the one in San Francisco, object to more because HOV lanes are already congested. The San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission reports that traffic congestion levels are up almost 40% since 2010. It doesn’t want to see more single-occupant vehicles allowed in carpool lanes

When the green decal allotment dries up for good, new plug-in buyers will be out of luck. To get the HOV perk, drivers will have to buy a 100% battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and compressed natural gas vehicles and apply for a white decal. Those vehicles also get access until Jan. 1, 2019, and their numbers aren’t capped. For now, drivers hoping to snag a green permit should act fast. For a complete list of vehicles covered under California’s permit laws, head to the California Air Resources Board website.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet