California’s New Purple HOV Sticker To Debut In January 2019


Soon, electric cars in California will be able to benefit from a new HOV sticker that will allow driving in the state’s carpool lanes with no carpool evidence in tow.

Yes, we all know California is pushing EV adoption hardcore. The state has forever been at the advent of supporting new technology and pushing electric vehicle adoption forth like none other. Now, it’s upping its ante on electric vehicle adoption even further. Beginning after the new year, some electric car owners will able to acquire a brand-new PURPLE sticker, which will allow them to access CA’s carpool (HOV) lanes even as a lone commuter.

This new purple decal is set to go in effect on January 1, 2019 and remain valid until January 1, 2023. This actually gives commuters one extra year on top of previous legislation that allows current white, green, and red stickers to remain intact through January 1, 2022.

Not only are we happy that the U.S. state of California is establishing this newfound sticker, but we also hope it will invoke other states (preferably not only of the CARB variety) to issue similar incentives. We can only wish and cross our fingers that the status of EVs and the push for electric car adoption will leak to multiple states throughout the U.S. and beyond.

It’s important to note that you can’t attain this new and advantageous purple sticker unless you have a new plug-in vehicle and/or have never applied for and used a different color sticker for that car in the past.

If you live in California or have ever visited its major cities, you’re more than likely well aware that traffic is a significant issue that’s getting exponentially worse. This is a necessary step to push EV adoption and something that should be easy for other states to get on the bill. Whether or not other states can get it passed is the question.

Source: Green Car Reports

Categories: General

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84 Comments on "California’s New Purple HOV Sticker To Debut In January 2019"

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Actually only the RED stickers will be valid (I believe until 2022) and all the others expire Dec 31, 2019 so in a few weeks! And, people who had those stickers CANNOT apply for a purple! This is a huge deal here, as many people with only 2 or 3 year old EVs in CA will no longer be able to drive in the carpool lanes. This “clears out” all the traffic from these lanes, only new RED/PURPLE allowed.

Mine is a 2016 and was able to reapply to switch from white to the new red sticker. It all depends when you originally applied for the sticker. If you applied in 2017 or close then you are eligible for the switch. I got my white in late 2016.

I am in this boat too, received my eGolf in summer of 2016 but did not get stickers till fall of 2016. How did you apply to get the red sticker? Looking on the website is REG 1000 the right form?

They actually sent me a letter saying that i’m eligible and can apply with a $22 fee so i just replied. I did not pay attention what the form number was. Mine is for eGolf too.

Well you’ve given me the idea to at least try it. Otherwise I am stuck with the eGolf till the lease runs out without being able to use the HOV lanes, not fun…

Definitely try…

You should get a warning letter from DMV that your sticker will expire at the end of 2018. If you are eligible for a new red sticker it will say so, otherwise, it won’t.

Vinod. Not to nitpick but … I own P038XX and have been driving the California freeways for almost six years. Your statement, “This ‘clears out’ all the traffic from these lanes,” is quite an over statement. I see too few BEV/ZEVs in the HOV lanes. As it is, the juice is hardly worth the squeeze, most of the time the HOV moves at a similar rate as the regular lanes. Yes there are rare exceptions but traffic on the 405 and 101 is pretty pedestrian.

Peter, agree, actual carpool drivers are clogging the lanes, so “clears out” was only about the single EV drivers. But this will have a big impact on people who bought Nissan Leafs, Teslas, etc a few years ago and can no longer drive in the lanes in the future. I’ve also driven 6 years in CA carpool lanes, I waited this year did not get the RED sticker for a new Tesla Model 3 just to get the extra year with the Purple sticker.

It is Jan 1 2019 not dec 31 2019. And green and white stickers issued after Jan 1
2017 will be allowed new red stickers. All stickers before Jan 1 2017 will expire end of this year. And if a car has never been issued a sticker even if an older car it can apply for new stickers. Go to

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

They need to stop issuing to Plugin Hybrids.
No need to keep the ICE alive, issue only to full on 100% EV.

In other words, only rich people should be allowed to apply.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Leaf & Bolt owners are “Rich”?

You can’t use the Leaf as your only car. Bolt is not cheap and also hardly can be used as your only car.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“You can’t use the Leaf as your only car”
no §h1t sherlock. People that have a Leaf use it to commute on the freeway in carpool and save money by not using gas.

If you can’t afford one then get a better paying job. WTF is your point?

Were you in some sort of accident in the head area? Most normal people need to have access to another car if they use Leaf as their main car. For people on modest budgets that is not an option. We should keep carpool lanes for what they are intended for (carpooling), not playground of rich people on their $100k Teslas. Now if our politicians are in pocket of special interest, at least they can broaden the demographics by including PHEVs that get similar fuel savings to BEVs in real world driving.

phev’s are already included. were you dropped as a baby or something?
when i look in the hov lane i see many many ev’s more than teslas that are sub 34k$ after incentives.

where were you when plain hybrids were allowed……

Read the thread from the beginning. People are dense on this website.

“People are dense on this website.”
A little less than you are.

If u look at the donations to assembliman Bloom who created the legislation the car industry donation is about 20k total. They sell their soul for 20k and screw everone else. Id be happy to pay more to be allowed in carpool lane.

Problem is we dont organize. I have cng vehicle which will be worthless come jan 1.

Cant even sell it.

You obviously have not driven a LEAF and surely not a Bolt that has 238 miles range and you can usually do better. The Bolt has better EPA range than an original Model S 60 and only 20 miles less than a S 85 and better range than the new Jag I Pace which has 234. LEAF for 2016-17 get 107 range and 2018 40 kWh gets 150 pretty sure that works for a lot of people as an only car.

You mean a 2018 EV has better range than one released 6 years ago? I’m so impressed!

That comment isn’t valid anymore. Time to trade it in for a more relevantly inaccurate one.

I own a EV and I don’t consider myself as Rich

PHEV in EV mode has just as much right to those HOV Lanes as full BEVs. In fact, some PHEV such as i3 REx already has more EV range and performance than BEV such as I-MIEV.

On top of it all, the HOV access is already limiting to PHEV with more than 20 miles of AER.

Your info is false regarding only phevs with 20 aer miles or more allowed for carpool stickers.

From a “drive green” perspective, I get it. Electric cars don’t burn gas, thus are better for environment and should be encouraged, etc. But allowing single-occupant cars to travel on lanes designed for multi-occupant cars defeats the purpose of such lanes because it does not actually reduce traffic congestion.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

The HOV lanes were primarily designed to reduce pollution from exhaust and NOT dedicated to only to reduce traffic.

They’re HOV lanes, meaning high occupancy vehicle. In terms of pollution, single occupants in an EVs does count as high occupancy. And if you have three people in a gas car, it can be just as efficient as three EVs with one occupant each.

From a pollution standpoint, yes. But it does nothing to address more systemic issues of traffic congestion and gridlock that can be just as problematic. Perhaps I have too much hope for the system, but I’d want it to be there for more than just pollution reduction.

You are looking to solve a different challenge!
See: 3D Traffic Solution – at “The Boring Company”!

As long as EVs are a small minority of the overall on-road fleet, those 2 single-occupant EVs increase pollution because they increase congestion, and make every other car in their area (99.5% of which are ICE or non-plug hybrid ) spend more time on the road –> more pollution.
Even if EVs suddenly gained 100% marketshare, tomorrow it would still take 15 years because that’s the average lifetime of a personal vehicle.
The truth is, EVs are still only 10-20% better than ICE in terms of overall environmental impact. The key goal should be to reduce car use in general (more public transit, more bicycles (electric & pedal) etc.)

How many people do you think go out of their way to organize a carpool just so they can use the HOV lane?

None! I got mine just for carpool. Now my stickers are expired. Sold my volt and I’m driving my F350 every day!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Dear IEV, please include the link to where the OC Detailing video is that shows how to put the decals on in a way that doesn’t ruin the paint when it’s removed due to expiration.

I’ve heard many folks gripe about the sticker removal……, and they’re right!

Is it not supposed to go on your Windshield, or Rear Window?
(Not being from California, & All – but – that is where I put Parking Stickers, Service Stickers, Etc.)

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Supposed to be on bumpers outside.
Too many people here have tinted windows and makes it difficult if not impossible to see according to CHP here.

Personally I think it should be a marking on the license plate (stays with car and when bumper needs replacing from fender bender so do the stickers) but what do I know…….lol

Wax your paint before application will protect your paint from the stickers. Of course, you may have to reapply every 2 years afterward….

Get a paint protection film. Stick the carpool stickers onto paint protection film; cut it to size; apply paint protection film with HOV stickers to car. Done.

Go to Hobby Lobby and buy a couple of packs of those magnetic sheets that are made to attach pictures to refrigerators with. I got the packs that specify “strength 2”. Then apply the sticker to the magnets, cut the sheets around the sticker, and attach those to the car. You can’t tell that they aren’t stuck right to the paint but they come right off and can be repositioned all you want. This of course only works if you have steel body panels near the required locations but it worked great on my 500e. I just attached them to the fender in front of the rear wheel and the rear hatch instead of to the plastic bumper itself.

Almost all car bumpers are plastic. You got very lucky since your car had some steel bodywork in a decent place for the HOV decals, but on cars like Model S, Volt, or Leaf, I don’t think magnetic sheets will do any good.

This article has some inaccuracies. White and green stickers are NOT good after Jan 1, 2019. Only Red and Purple will be valid. Some white and green sticker owners (only 2017/2018) are able to upgrade to Red stickers

They’re not good on* January 1, 2019 and onwards. Please try not to get people $500 tickets on new years day.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

LMAO…… +1

I bet as the owner of the Sticker, you would likely be responsible, not the author of this story! As they say – Possession is 9/10ths of the Law: So – Do you posses the Sticker? Then You are the one Responsible!

And late 2016 ppl it seems

Previous green (plug-in-hybrids) and white stickers (EVs and other green vehicles) were valid till January 1, 2019. Recent applicants (after January 1, 2017) to red or green stickers were given an extension with a red sticker.

Moving forward, California clean air vehicle stickers will be valid for up to 4 years (The year the sticker was applied and three full calendar years after). To differentiate what is a valid sticker and aid in enforcement, DMV will be issuing a new color each year.

– Yellow stickers (hybrids) were valid till July 1, 2011.
– White and green stickers will be valid till January 1, 2019 (per AB 266).
– Red stickers will be valid until January 1, 2022.
– Purple stickers will be valid January 1, 2023.
– A future TBD color stickers will be valid January 1, 2024 and so on…


It does seem to be a bit of a mess/minefield. What about visitors from other States? Do these ‘sticker’ rules only apply to CA plated vehicles?

HOV Stickers only apply for CA plated vehicles. Visitors form over states can still use the HOV lanes by carpooling. =)

Where is the rainbow 🌈 sticker?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

They haven’t decided what cars would “Identify” with it……….ROTFLMAO.

Since Cars are not sold from ‘Closets’ – they Can’t ‘Come Out!’

I’m still holding out for the soon to be revealed Rainbow Unicorn HOV Carpool sticker!

Only for butt ugly cars….

Electric cars have always had access to the HOV lanes, this is not new. What is new, misrepresented and completely left out of this press release is that many/most existing electric car owners are going to lose that privilege very soon.

True, but it should also be pointed out that some oppose (such as MTC) the eternal extension of the HOV sticker for older cars. “But there’s a downside. The MTC opposed the most recent hike to 85,000 stickers, saying that increases in the allotment hurt efforts to encourage carpooling and get more cars off the road. And regional officials fear that another increase in the cap would hurt efforts to get motorists to pay to drive in express lanes. “With congestion levels reaching new levels, especially in the prosperous South Bay … where the purchase of more (electric) vehicles is likely, we should not be giving single-occupant vehicles free access to the region’s HOV lanes,” MTC executive chief Steve Heminger wrote in a memo. “If left unchecked this program has the potential to undermine the viability of the region’s express lane network, a core element of the Bay Area’s strategy for improving highway mobility.” Traffic for a year or more on Highway 85 south of I-280 has been so bad the HOV lane is almost as slow as the regular lanes, according to commuter Alan Arndt, who says on some days six of 10 cars have carpool stickers. “That bonus… Read more »
It seems they toss out a New Sticker – just to get more people to up the ante and buy an EV, but the stickers are only good for 2-4 Years, or so. But – as more cars become available as EV Choices, more Folks get interested, and make the Switch. Most seem to say – they would never go back to ICE (But – Not ALL!), so mostly – they are moving more and more people over to EV’s with this promo. Other ways could be considered to Promote EV’s, Like: Maybe they could find a new Promo, Work with Movie Theaters – to Give Free Movies on Tuesday’s (or 1 Tuesday each Month) – For EV Owners, or something? Work with Gym Clubs – to offer 1 Month Free Membership, or 2 x 1 Month Free Memberships – in Month 2 & in Month 7, or a 12 Month Contract – For EV Owners? Offer 50% Discount for Parking at Airports for EV’s, (& 25% Discount for PHEV’s?)? Invite EV Owners into Schools – for Volunteer Work – To talk to Elementary, Junior High, High School, & University / College Students, About how EV’s are Important, Fun, &… Read more »

IMO, out of all the CA incentives, this is low on my interest list. A decent amount of the state highway or freeways does not have a HOV lane. However, if you live near a freeway in CA with one, I bet it’s awesome to have.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It’s totally AWESOME TO HAVE……..However, during typical commute times it really doesn’t do jack fecal_matter.
Too many peeps driving single drive in the HOV anyway and when they dive out of the lane because they see popo it causes everyone to slow or stop and that kills traffic.

If the CHP needs money, they can police the HOV but apparently they don’t need money.

Enforce the carpool lanes. The reason that there are too many cars, necessitating them to reduce clean air vehicles, is because of carpool cheats. Reducing the number of EV’s by reducing how long they can use the HOV lanes for is not the solution.

It would be desirable for the article to include details such as the requirements for the new purple sticker. Does it apply to PHEVs or just BEVs? If PHEVs, is there a minimum range limit? It seems to me that it is only lower pollution if it is highly likely that the PHEV is in full electric mode.

Thankfully there is a minimum electric only range required, which is why thankfully the BMW X5 hybrid doesn’t qualify.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Can you post a link to that qualification here in California?
It’s not that I don’t believe you but I want to know.

Dmv doesnt know, CARB doesnt know, i called and asked. Went higher up pst receptionist and no knowledge of when they will release application for purple stickers or what cars it applies to.

We need to create at least a facebook geouo and protest to tue legislators. (Bloom)

I guess I’m at a loss as to what the excitement is…. Can somebody explain the difference between the new purple sticker and the previous ones they’ve been using?

Yes, it’s even uglier than the previous ones.

Purple sticker lasts one more year than Red. Each year will bring a new color that lasts one more year. The intent is that everyone gets up to 4 years before losing the privilege.

FYI. Arizona has a plate for clean air vehicles – HOV access. It use to include hybrids but recently they changed it so only BEVs can apply for it. Mine is good until 2023 and vehicle registration for 5 years was around $120 total. Just thought i would mention it.

Ugly stickers that ruin your paint. Never put these on your car without the aftermarket cut out adhesive backing.

Only 1 sticker is necessary. Don’t ruin your car putting them in the front and 3 in the back. God awful

Use common sense and logic. If a cop happens be behind you which is extremely rare you have one sticker in the back. lower right. and thats it.

I’m looking at used Tesla’s and all of them ruined with the stupid stickers

And people don’t even put then on straight. They are all uneven and tilted. Literally dumb

If you are the kind of person that sees their car as an extension of their ego, then I see your concern (and your psychosis). A car is a depreciating asset, especially one that you would use for commuting duty and would thus need such a sticker, so a couple stickers aren’t going to make a bit of difference in its value.

HOV lanes were part of the clean air act. I think it’s time to rethink them in terms of emissions. A mom and a 2yr old in a Chevy suburban should not be in the carpool lane imo. Overall, I do not think they have succeeded at the goal of getting behaviors to change for carpooling, but I think they are successful in encouraging EV adoption – lets just make them EV lanes.

i wish that those free HOV stickers would be only to EVs, not hybrids. That way, it is another subsidy to get that moving.

My understanding is that, if I buy a qualified vehicle in 2018, but wait until 2019 to apply for the sticker, I will receive a purple sticker. Can someone please confirm if that is the case?

You are correct

I have searched everywhere and I have yet to find an answer to this question.

For the new red stickers that are going to be available to new EV purchasers — is the expiration date of the sticker based on the purchase date of the vehicle, or upon the date the application was submitted? For example:

If you purchase a vehicle in December 2018 and send the application in December 2018, your red sticker will expire on January 1, 2022. This is clear.
If you purchase a vehicle in January 2018 and send the application in January 2019, your red sticker will expire on January 1, 2023. This is also clear.

What if you purchase a vehicle in December 2018, but don’t file the form until January 2019, does your sticker expire on January 1 2022, or January 1 2023?

It’s based on when you apply. You can even get a purple sticker for a 2016 vehicle if it has never had a sticker in the past (they track it by VIN). My 2015 green sticker is NG now. A friend who recently bought a used 2014 Leaf from out of state was able to score a red sticker.

The other piece to the story they left out is the one that affected me the most. With valid HOV stickers, the bridge tolls are 1/2 price. That went away for my green sticker 2 days ago so now I’m paying full price. Add to that the tolls went up by $1 on Jan 1 and now I’m paying 240% of what I did 3 days ago.

I know, I know, 1st world problems 😉 But hey, it’s costing me $15/week

California website is little vague. Has anyone from California bought a used car from out of state (that was never issued a California decal) and have it qualify for a new carpool decal?

Does anyone know how long it takes to get the new purple sticker? I purchased my vehicle on New Years Day 2019 and still nothing yet.

It used to be about 30 days but now I’m seeing 3-5 week. My check was delivered and signed for on 1/6/19 but still not cashed. Stickers are mailed out soon after check is cased. If it’s going to be 5 weeks then I’m thinking I shouldn’t stress until another 2 weeks. I really wish there was a better system for tracking this stuff.

Hi Purchased a 2018 Applied for HOV Decals ALL Details same as other with same car has Decals. DMV received Application on 1/31/2019 its now 3/13/2019 we have not seen or herd from DMV does anyone know how to check on HOV Unit to see what is taking so long to Process ?

Mark – I hear ya. I sent in my check in early Feb. Should have sent via certified mail but unfortunately didn’t. My check has not been cashed yet (keep checking my account every couple of days). Since I didn’t send my application via certified mail, I don’t know whether they even received it. I’m trying to decide whether to send in another check (certified mail this time).