California Moves One Step Closer To Issuing Green HOV Stickers Again


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

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

HOV lane stickers, which permit single-occupant vehicles to use express lanes in California, are one of the key drivers for plugin vehicle sales.

There are currently two type of decals in California. White stickers are issued to alternative fuel vehicles, such as the all-electric Nissan LEAF or the Tesla Model S. Hydrogen and CNG-powered vehicles, such as the Honda Clarity or Honda Civic GX, would qualify as well. Green HOV decals are issued to plug-in hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevy Volt or the BMW i3 REx.

While the white stickers are unlimited in number, the green stickers are presently capped to 40,000. As you might have heard, this allocation was exhausted about a month ago.

Al Muratsuchi, who is currently serving in the California State Assembly, and represents the 66th district encompassing parts of the Los Angeles region, introduced a new measure earlier this year, which would more than double the present allocation of green stickers. Assembly Bill 2013, or AB 2013 as it’s often called, was approved by the Assembly in its third reading on May 1.

On June 10, the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee voted 9 to 0 in favor of AB 2013, provided that certain amendments, such as reduction of the total sticker to 70,000, are adopted. While this was a positive development, which will be applauded by many recent plug-in vehicle buyers, AB 2013 still has to be approved by the Appropriations Committee, the California Senate, and it must be signed into law by Governor Brown.

AB 2013 Voting Outcome

AB 2013 Voting Outcome

While the outcome of the legislative process is not assured until the very end, the progress of AB 2013 is very encouraging and it’s likely that we will see a substantial increase in the green HOV sticker cap later this year. While we wait for the outcome of the deliberations in Sacramento, an emergency measure is considered for the trailer bill.

A trailer bill is a bill that is attached to the state’s budget, meaning it bypasses the regular legislative process and could be approved in less than two weeks. This measure, if adopted, would increase the green sticker cap by a small amount to meet the expected immediate demand for the program for the rest of 2014. This would ensure that program would continue in the near-term as the legislative process continues to deliberate the long-term program design.

Please stay tuned for future updates on AB 2013 and the trailer bill.

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14 responses to "California Moves One Step Closer To Issuing Green HOV Stickers Again"
  1. I can’t find the article that states this opinion thoroughly but – I don’t think they should issue anymore, anywhere. We need to quit gas cold turkey. This is like telling a crack addict that is trying to quit that it’s OK if they need to relapse whenever they need to and having a stash on standby.

  2. Steve S. says:

    I’m against it. Make people buy pure BEVs to get in the carpool lane. I can buy a Volt, never plug it in, and get 37mpg and get the carpool lane. Or I can buy a Prius, get 50+ mpg, and not be allowed to drive in the carpool lane. It is non-sensical.

    1. Spec9 says:

      You could do that for a Volt . . . but why would you? You are paying a healthy premium for the electric drive so why not use it?

      But with the PiP? Eh . . . it is a smaller premium so people might just buy it for the sticker and then never plug it in.

      1. Just_chris says:

        IMO it’s about creating a market, creating a manufacturing base and installing infrastructure. All plugins get significantly better mileage than the average car and they all are paying for the construction of new battery manufacturing facilities and the developing of new models with big battery packs in them. Once the capital investment has been made there is no turning back, big oil becomes big electron and away we go.

        I don’t live/drive in CA or pay tax in the US but IMO CARB, tax credits and HOV lane stickers are really moving the world forward and I am grateful that they exist and would like to see more of them.

    2. Ryan T says:

      You have to walk before you run. Electric vehicles, of all types, are not out of the woods, yet. We need, by any matter or fashion, people to be buying these cars, regardless of their motivations or intentions. Once the EV is a significant portion of the market, and prices on batteries have come down more, then you can start to get selective about incentives. But not before then.

    3. Bonaire says:

      The PiP has a slightly higher price, a federal tax credit to help and HOV lane access. Who wouldn’t buy it and perhaps never plug it in? Many people would.

  3. GoBlue88 says:

    The Prius plug-in gets only 11 miles before it has to switch to gas, where it gets the same MPG as a non plug-in Prius. So that 11 EV miles gets it green sticker qualification while a regular Prius does not?

    Lame. Kill this program and go white-sticker only. That’s where the true innovation lies.

  4. Brent says:

    Instead of adding more stickers with the old requirement, there should be a new sticker (blue?) for EREVs with a min range of 35 miles or more pure electric, before switching to gas, and who can go at least 75 miles per hour on pure electric propulsion.

    In addition, natural gas and hydrogen cars should be moved from the white sticker to the blue sticker, as they currently

  5. Spec9 says:

    Damn it . . . please modify it to eliminate the PiP which can’t really drive full freeway speeds on electricity alone (and even if it could would only do so for 10 miles or so).

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      +11… LOL

      I agree.

      At least require the EV mode to be equally capable as its ICE mode.

  6. Toolworker says:

    A budget trailer bill, SB853, was passed by the California Senate yesterday (June 15) and ordered sent to the governor. One provision would increase the number of green stickers from 40,000 to 55,000, effective immediately on signing.

  7. Toolworker says:

    The limit is now 55,000. The trailer bill was signed on June 20 and took effect immediately.

    1. Tom says:

      AB 2013 is pending which would increase it by yet another 15,000 to 70,000! Just absolutely asinine!