Green HOV Stickers Now Exhausted In California

6 months ago by Jay Cole 41

"Green" Sticker Explained

“Green” Sticker Explained

About a month ago we noted that the amount of “green” HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) was rapidly approaching the 40,000 limit as set out by the California Air Resources Board.  At the time, just 3,770 were left.

"Green" Stickers, Most Commonly Applied To Chevy Volts and Toyota Prius PHVs Are Now Exhausted

“Green” Stickers, Most Commonly Applied To Chevy Volts and Toyota Prius PHVs Are Now Exhausted

That number quickly dropped to just about 1,500 left a week later, as CARB’s website stated:

“As of April 7, 2014,  38,478 “green” stickers have been issued. Green stickers are valid through  January 1, 2019.”

This number then basically idled in place for the month as CARB froze dealer’s abilities to pre-register vehicles for “green” stickers, leaving many to wonder how many were left and when they would run out.

Then yesterday morning, CARB’s site was updated with this note:

“As of April 28, 2014, 39,359 “green” stickers have been issued. Green stickers are valid through  January 1, 2019.”

That was just 881 new “green” stickers issued in Californian in three weeks, which was only a fraction of the issuing pace that had been set over the past 2-3 months.  Was this possible?  Had demand suddenly fallen off?  Can someone still apply and get a “green” sticker at this point; say for example on the BMW i3 REx that was just approved for the HOV sticker this week?

What better way to figure out what is going on than to contact CARB directly about it?

It turns out that yes, that is the amount they have issued, but unfortunately if you don’t have your “green” sticker application already in (and maybe if you already do), you aren’t getting one; as they currently have more apps than stickers.

Says CARB:

At this point, pending applications waiting processing at the California DMV now significantly exceed the number of available green stickers.

That being said, the California legislature is considering a significant extension of the number of vehicles eligible for this incentive. Since this is a legislative action, we cannot guarantee that they will choose to extend the program beyond the original 40,000 stickers. We recommend you watch our website for more information and we will post any changes to the law allowing additional stickers if they are adopted.”

"White" Stickers For All-Electric Cars Are Unlimited

“White” Stickers For All-Electric Cars Are Unlimited

As to the possibility of more stickers, California Assembly bill (California AB-2013) sets out to raise the 40,000 cap up to 85,000; but there doesn’t appear to be the drive to adopt this new threshold.

Early this month an attempt was made to give AB-2013 urgency status to made the transition to the new limit seamless for Californians, but it did not receive the 67% of the vote required.  That bill now hits the assembly floor very much in doubt.

Hat tip to Jason Z!

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51 responses to "Green HOV Stickers Now Exhausted In California"

  1. offib says:

    Bad day for BMW.

    1. Disappointed says:

      This is your lucky day,,,we just turned “Lemons to Lemonade.”
      “Bad Day For BMW”,,,,,but a good day for potential buyers who were seriously considering the “REX”, the little engine that can’t. Now you won’t be embarrassed when it comes out of hiding and starts chug, chug, chuging like a Generac camp side generator.
      Buy the “Un-rex”, get a white sticker and spend the $4,000+ that you saved on a nice Mother’s Day present.

      1. Spec9 says:

        Seriously. I like the concept of the REx but with no HOV lane sticker, $4K more, weak performance, the teeny-tiny gas tank . . . it is just not worth getting.

        Worried about running out of charge? Well think of how many times $4000 could be used to rent cars, use zip cars, buy an old clunker gas car, or even get your depleted EV towed.

        If you can’t deal with the i3 range then buy a Model S or a buy a Volt.

        1. Mint says:

          No HOV applies to all EVs now, not just the i3.

          The “weak performance” is better than that of the LEAF or Volt. And how is the Model S an alternative when it costs almost $30k more?

          The only problem with the i3 is the inability of the US version to manually engage the range extender.

          That and the fact that it doesn’t look like a BMW.

          1. Rav4 EV says:

            Giving these green stickers to Plug In Prius buyers was a big mistake by CARB. The Plug In Prius is a CARB scam. They should go to cars that can actually go more than 6 miles in EV Mode like the Volt and the I3. Not having greens stickers for the I3 is so stupid.

          2. Tom says:

            No, pure Battery EVs get white stickers and there is currently an unlimited supply of those.

  2. scott franco says:

    So even though they extended the green program, they are capping the numbers. Cal is also rolling programs to allow increasing numbers of “paid” solo drivers to enter the lanes via so called “express lanes”. So clearly they aren’t worried about the HOV lanes getting overloaded. Its more a matter of what they get back from HOV use, ie, bang for the buck.

  3. vdiv says:

    Stickergate enters a new phase (ta-ta-taaa) :)

  4. DanCar says:

    Good, now fewer people will be purchasing the prius plug-in and never plugging it in. They just bought it for the previous HOV sticker benefit.

    1. Dr. Strange says:

      Amen to that.

  5. ClarksonCote says:

    Let’s hope for an extension of the program to include a higher number of stickers.

    1. Aaron says:

      The problem is that the HOV lanes are filling up with green and white stickers. That’s something the California legislature will have to consider — whether or not they want to further clog up the HOV lanes.

      1. kdawg says:

        Just rename them to “Electric Avenues”.
        There, I fixed it. :)

      2. scott franco says:

        Give me a break dude. Its still below %10, judging by the number of stickers I see each day.

        1. Vin says:

          Yup. On a typical day I see about the same amount of single drivers in ICE vehicles in the HOV lane as stickered EVs. Every few months the CHP cracks down on these folks (even saw an unstickered FFE with no plates pulled over!), which cleans up the HOV lane for a few weeks at most.

    2. Spec9 says:

      Yeah, I’m not so sure I want that. They can get cars that use the white sticker.

    3. TimH says:

      For those of you hoping to get a “green sticker” in CA for your i3 REx. The bill to increase the now drained pool of 40,000 stickers was recently rejected in the CA legislature. Apparently, the green sticker is no longer tied to the specs of the vehicle but to affirmative action. This may be a long haul…see the link. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2014/04/in-sign-of-backlash-democrats-help-stall-al-muratsuchi-bill.html

    4. Tom says:

      Let’s not! It was a bad idea in the first place and encouraged scam vehicles like the PiP… If they ARE going to extend the green sticker program, they need to add a requirement that a PHEV must meet a certain threshold of range on electric power only, say 25 miles…

  6. Syrinx says:

    That Chevy picture is dumb. White stickers do not go on the front of the vehicle.

    1. Foo says:

      No, that’s the new Spark ReverseDrive.

      1. Syrinx says:

        Haha, I must have missed that one. Thanks for that :)

  7. qwerty says:

    Green stickers should be discontinued…..period.

    Only White stickers and CARB rebates only to full EV’s.
    No need to keep supporting any vehicles with an ICE.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Why is Honda Civic GX (natural gas) getting a white sticker then?

      The CARB stickers are always about “air pollution” and emission. CARB doesn’t care if it is electric or NOT.

      CNG and Fuel cell cars both get white stickers.

      This just shows that you (repeatly) and others don’t know what you are talking about.

      1. Mark Williams says:

        HOV lane use is governed by the federal regulations. White stickers are for cars meeting federal ILEV (Inherently Low Emission Vehicle) standards. CNG and electric drive vehicles both meet these standards.

  8. Tom says:

    I truly hope that the legislature does NOT extend the green sticker program! It is bad public policy and also at odds with why the sticker program was originally conceived. It also only serves to make congested HOV lanes even worse(which California has a real problem with at the DOT and could loss federal funding over.)

    1. Dr. Strange says:

      I agree. I don’t understand why they allowed this in the first place. An EV that you never actually have to plug in? The Volt, that gets worse mileage in gas mode than a non-plugin Prius, by a sizable margin? Senseless.

      1. taser54 says:

        I proffer that No hybrids or EVs deserve access to HOV lanes. They do nothing to mitigate traffic congestion.

        1. Vin says:

          Then you don’t know the reason why the HOV lanes were started in the first place. First and foremost, they were put in place amongst many other programs to incentivize behavior that in the end would improve air quality. Single drivers in an EV contribute to that end much more than a couple of guys riding to work together in an old Suburban.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Really?

        Again, you don’t know anything about the Volt.

        Show me 1 non-plugin Prius that can do 30,000 miles with only 150 gallon of gas usage.

        NONE. Nuff said there, Hater.

  9. Bloggin says:

    Darn….now PHEV owners will just have to settle for 100+mpg and saving over $1,500 a year in fuel costs.

  10. See Through says:

    There is no point extending the HOV stickers. they have lost much of their value : too many so-called green cars. One can always pay for HOV lanes on certain freeways. Besides, becuase of these, the real carpoolers are now suffering.
    I think these carrot-dangling must end. Free economy should take over now.

    1. Dr. Strange says:

      That is a good point. Honestly, as owner of two EVs with white stickers, I question this whole carpool lane sticker business. People who go out of their way to carpool should be given some benefit for it. And sorry, a person in the car who isn’t old enough to drive or otherwise can’t drive should not count as a carpool!

      1. e-lectric says:

        I saw a hearse in the carpool lane. Can you be cold and a car pooler?

  11. Brent says:

    Having only white stickers is good, in that it will encourage more EVs, but they need to change the program so natural gas vehicles do not qualify for a white sticker.

    I’m not sure if hydrogen vehicles should qualify either, since it will to be created from fossil fuels not water for the immediate future.

  12. ModernMarvelFan says:

    For those of you who are generally clueless about how CARB HOV stickers work…

    They are intended for reduction of vehicle emssions. NOT for “greening” of the energy source. Although sometimes, they overlap.

    The point is that any vehicle with low emission at the tailpipe will get this incentive. BEVs are naturally qualifying for it since it doesn’t have any emission at the tailpipe of the car…

    Someone can technically tow a dirty diesel generator behind their BEV so they can go much long distance and still qualify for the stickers…

    Personally, I think we should encourage all forms plugin car that INCLUDEs PHEV as well. However, they should all have ALL ELECTRIC miles at hwy speed. Volt, Energi should both qualify so should i3 with REx. However, we should remove Prius Plugin and Honda Accord PHEV since both are designed to game EPA testing cycles with ultra low EV range and limited EV mode….

  13. TBill says:

    CA sold 46% of BEV’s in 2013 and that was about 22,000 CA BEV’s and somewhere 80-85% of them get the white stickers. So that’s a lot of free HOV access coming down the pike in future years, even if green stickers are stopped.

  14. Toolworker says:

    “That was just 881 new “green” stickers issued in Californian in three weeks, which was only a fraction of the issuing pace that had been set over the past 2-3 months. Was this possible? Had demand suddenly fallen off?”

    It’s simple. Well, not really …

    Sticker issuance increased last September when DMV started letting dealers apply for them with just the VIN. The rate spiked in early March as, apparently, dealers rushed to grab stickers for every plug-in they had coming in.

    So DMV turned off the dealer spigot in mid-March. Starting in April, the issuance rate dropped to below the pre-September level, because dealers weren’t getting stickers any more, and some retail buyers were buying cars that already had them.

    On the subject of AB2013, I wonder how its sponsor, the assemblyman from Torrance, will react to Toyota’s announcement today that they’re moving their US headquarters and 3,000 jobs from his district to Texas. Could this reduce his enthusiasm?

    1. OC CarPool King says:

      It’s sad to see this happen with Toyota. Unfortunately California has a business environment that is the most difficult in the nation. I own a small business and have friends who own businesses in TX, and it’s night and day.

  15. OC CarPool King says:

    I am a PIP Driver who bought the car for the carpool sticker and tax rebate, and do not plug my car in. If not for the sticker program, their is a 100% chance that I buy a different car, most likely a BMW or Lexus that would get probably half the mileage per gallon.

    The yellow stickers capped at 85,000 and their wasn’t carpool lane overcrowding, so why the hubbub over issuing 85,000 green stickers. Cutting the amount of stickers will basically reduce demand for these types of cars, which in turn reduces development and commitment by manufacturers, and more importantly keeps consumers like me away from this segment. I’m sure many will argue to just drive an electric car, but right now it’s not feasible to most due to range limitations. Until the range for electric cars improves to a “real” 250 miles for an affordable car, the plug-in is a great way to introduce consumers like me who aren’t “greenies” to this technology.

  16. David Hatch says:

    I just see hear a bunch of Cry Baby People saying this or that why?? Because they didn’t buy the Prius Plug In, Volt, or Leaf or even a Tesla. The Car Pool Lanes weren’t over crowded when it was a Yellow Sticker on the PRIUS..
    Boooo Hoooo Whine and Cry some more…

  17. Jethro says:

    Both the white and green stickers are good until 2019. After that, CARB is reserving its rights. The yellow stickers existed at a time when there were very few white stickers. When you add together issued white and green stickers, you are already well above 85,000.

    The PiP was a complete scam. It should never have been approved for green stickers. I owned a Leaf for three years and then switched to a Volt (with dealer-sourced green stickers). About one day in 20, I use the ICE. The 40-45 mile range of the Volt battery shows GM got it right! Great car. Too bad sales will plummet without more green stickers.