California Surprise: Bill To Bump HOV Green Stickers 15,000 Passes Assembly

JUN 18 2015 BY JAY COLE 49

Only A Signature Now Required For 15K More "Green" Stickers Amount

Only A Signature Now Required For 15K More “Green” Stickers Amount

A few weeks ago when we reported that, for all intents and purposes, California’s 70,000 “Green” HOV stickers (for single riders in PHEVs) were almost used up, we assumed that would be then end of the program; leaving only the unlimited “White” stickers for fully-electric cars available going forward.

Future 2016 Chevrolet Volt Owners In California Will Have Green Stickers Waiting For Them!

Looks Like Future 2016 Chevrolet Volt Owners In California Will Have Green Stickers Waiting For Them!

And apparently so did everyone else, as we have seen zero coverage of Budget Trailer Bill AB 95;  a bill that would see the old cap bumped 15,000 stickers higher (to 85k total).

AB 95 seemed to progress out of nowhere amended on June 11th, and then passed the legislature on Monday, leaving only the Governor’s signature, due by July 1st as the last technical hurdle to overcome.

As far as we can tell, absolutely one in the media has yet picked up on the existence of the HOV program changes inside this bill, or the fact it is now apparently headed for rubber stamping.

Here is the main points of interest from AB 95 (Committee on Budget) /Transportation as it relates to “Green” HOV stickers:

“Existing federal law, until September 30, 2017, authorizes a state to allow specified labeled vehicles to use lanes designated for high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Existing law authorizes the Department of Transportation to designate certain lanes for the exclusive use of HOVs.

Under existing law, until January 1, 2019, until federal authorization expires, or until the Secretary of State receives a specified notice, those lanes may be used by certain vehicles not carrying the requisite number of passengers otherwise required for the use of an HOV lane, if the vehicle displays a valid identifier issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Existing law authorizes the DMV to issue no more than 70,000 of those identifiers. This bill would increase the number of those identifiers that the DMV is authorized to issue to 85,000.”

"Green" Sticker Heading To 85,000 With Just A Signature

“Green” Sticker Cap Now Heading To 85,000 Applicants With Just A Signature From California Governor

So, we will chalk this up to a summertime bonus to future 2016 Chevrolet Volt owners in California, as there is going to be some extra stickers out there waiting for you to claim.

Hat tip to Eric R!

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49 Comments on "California Surprise: Bill To Bump HOV Green Stickers 15,000 Passes Assembly"

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Warren M

The HOV lane is becoming so crowded, they should only qualify serious effort PHEVs at some point. 30 mile minimum AER. The Volt and i3 would qualify. All these half baked 10-20 mile AER PHEVs would not.


Fully agree… and/or eliminate the ‘HOV’ aspect, which is a joke and a demonstrated failure


You want to prohibit cars with multiple occupants from the HOV lane?


Yes. The whole concept of an HOV lane was to encourage car-pooling. This has been a demonstrated failure — it’s been studied, but no politician would ever move on that. It would be logical to ditch the HOV fallacy and use the lane to further encourage EV/PHEV adoption by making it solely for that purpose. At least where I am in LA, the HOV lane is so clogged at rush hour(s) that it is currently stop and go, and only marginally better than the standard lanes (and in places it moves markedly slower than standard lanes depending on on/off ramp frequency). I am currently planning to purchase an e-motorcycle, as the EV doesn’t really help my commute much, even with HOV access.

Evil Attorney

Agreed. I would guess that almost half of the HOV occupants in the mornings are people driving their kids somewhere. I would much rather that those people are displaced with those driving on electricity.


I’m with Otto – Sven? I think he needs clarification on the HOV lanes here.

The compliance-crowd, 20-ish mile electric range herd needs incentive to watch those Volts and pure EVs zoom past them on the freeway because they decided 20 miles was enough EV for them. It’s safe to say, with California’s long travel distances to just about everywhere, that 20-Mile PHEV is running on gas for at least a portion of their travels.

The 2016 Volt, with over twice that capability, deserves the green sticker, in my opinion. California’s highways are a parking lot – and it just makes sense to incentivize EVs and long-range PHEVs in such a way.


So you don’t want to incentivize carpooling and would prohibit 20-mile AER PHEVs from the carpool lane even if they had more than one occupant? Wouldn’t that encourage the passengers in a multi-occupant 20-mile PHEV to drive alone in a high mileage PHEV or BEV and increase congestion in the HOV lanes? Isn’t the CO2/mile per person lower in a multi-occupant Plug-in Prius than if each occupant commuted alone in a Tesla?

Andrew Diamond

They should call it the “2016 Chevy Volt Relevancy Act”


You mean the “2nd gen Plug-in Prius Relevancy Act”?


Since issuing HOV stickers based on emissions make no sense from a policy standpoint of reducing congestion in the first place, you might as well issue an unlimited number based on something else. For commuting any car with a 40 mile electric range likely is as zero emission as anything, and certainly better than a CNG vehicle.

Londo Bell

“For commuting any car with a 40 mile electric range likely is as zero emission as anything”

Definitely not true, especially in this case.

1st is the assumption that the drive must have a full charge – which, up until now, there’s no way to confirm from an external view (say, police making sure that it really is going electric). This is even more problematic with no workplace charging.

2nd is the fact that, when driving at freeway speed of 60+ mph, the electric range is at best 2X miles, and if there’s not much traffic in the HOV lanes, that 2X mi can mean low 2X mi, which effectively mean a commute distance of 10 mi / way.

Green sticker should have gone away by now. It’s meant for transition to vehicle with clean emission, that includes, per definition of CA, natural gas vehicle (which will soon be gone too).


LB: Good points, but most people who shell out the extra cost for a PHEV, will try hard to use it’s capability (and research data backed that up I believe). Probably the main exception is fleet buyers (Governments and other large organizations (FedEx or similar)), where the car buyer and the car user are separate.

Steve Strange

Where are you getting the data that says the Volt only gets 20-something miles of range at 65 mph? Any Volt owners want to chime in? I would guess you’d still get in the 30s at 65 mph.

In any case, I’m not a huge fan of the green stickers, since pure BEVs clearly represent a more serious commitment to dropping gas. At least the stickers have a timeout.


yeah, calling BS on 20 miles of range at 65mph. i still get 35+ even at 75+mph.


I get 25-29 on ‘cold’ mornings (30 degrees) in California.


With full heat blasting and no cabin pre-heating.

The worst Volt range I ever got was 29 miles.. with 28 degree morning at 6:45am and I didn’t pre-heat the cabin.

Just about all other trips are above 34 EV miles, generally 38-42 miles unless I go faster than 75mph…


While you have a point, give citizens a chance to convert to pure EV as the charging infrastructure matures. True, most Volt and Tesla owners do 90% of their charging at home- this will ramp up as networks like Superchargers begin to propagate along most thoroughfares.\pf;”



“2nd is the fact that, when driving at freeway speed of 60+ mph, the electric range is at best 2X miles, and if there’s not much traffic in the HOV lanes, that 2X mi can mean low 2X mi, ”

Another typical Londo Bell fantansy world claims without any real world experience or facts to back them up..

If the 40 miles EV on topic here is Volt and since we are talking about California here with mild weather and all the HOV zones are around LA and SF Bay Area, the Volt is fully capable of doing 35-45 miles on the hwy at 60+mph. It it being done daily.

In fact, the range ONLY starts to dip into the low 30s when you exceed 70+mph.

And lastly, if the HOV is slow, then the range will be even better.

This is from REAL world First Generation Volt owner experience in California.


Considering how little the Volt MSRP was reduced, this could be a much needed shot in the arm to keep sales on an ok trajectory. They have to get it below $30k for sales to take off for the Gen II Volt.


When the DMV issued stickers to dealers, the average issuance rate was hovering at 160 stickers per day. Since they pulled the dealer issuance policy on May 1, sticker issuance trickled around 55 per day. So assuming a midpoint of ~107 stickers per day, this is a 5 month supply. If my math is off by 2x, it’s a 10 months supply.

Hardly enough to support Volt sales in the long term.


In 5 or 6 months you will be able to get a Gen II Volt for $28k not the current MSRP of $33k. So I guess this will bridge the gap until the dealers start to make deals below MSRP.


The stated purpose of HOV lanes is to increase the passenger capacity of highways to make more efficient use of highway tax dollars. Using those lanes for any other purpose (including EV access) is contrary to that goal, and should be prohibited. There are other effective ways of reducing petroleum use (which in and of itself is an admirable goal) but it is a separate and distinct goal and it should not be pursued at the expense of some other unrelated public purpose.

Steve Strange

One could similarly argue that a second occupant should have to be a licensed driver who would otherwise have driven alone. If I’m driving with my 6-year-old in the back seat, I’m not taking a car off the road.

What do you think about allowing people to pay for lane access? That is coming to more HOV lanes in northern CA, and is already big in socal.


Valid point to some degree about the six year old, but that is not the typical occupancy of a vehicle on the highway at rush hour. Those kids are in SUVs on city streets on the way to or from school.

I really don’t have a problem with allowing people to pay for lane access, as long as the cost is pegged to improving capacity. It accomplishes the same goal. Many HOV lanes double as toll lanes whose costs vary with the amount of traffic on the road. The fact is that the day is coming when we can no longer rely on the gas tax, so we do need new ways of funding and maintaining highways.

When you’ve laid out $30,000+ for a commuter EV with 60-80 mile range, I can understand there’s a feeling that you should get a cookie or two from lawmakers as a reward for your good world citizenship and financial sacrifice for a limited-range vehicle. Many a night when Tesla had first announced a 40kwh Model S, I bored my wife with several cockamamie ( or “creative” depending on how you saw it ) financial plans on how we could swing such an expensive EV since it’s range would take care of nearly every task we would have. She didn’t bite. She laid out all the circumstances she’d stress and not having a charger nearby and – as usual, she was right. This is what makes the Volt my play. I can’t wait to buy a 50 mile EV that never leaves you unprepared for an emergency trip, spontaneity or long trips. When Model IIIs and Bolts are selling in mainstream numbers and charging doesn’t involve numerous kinds of stress ( ICEing, waiting in line for a charge, trip planning around chargers…etc ), I’m all-in. It’s not that I don’t want to be an early adopter – it just doesn’t make… Read more »
Chris B

Meanwhile back here in Texas, our legislature managed to not renew the $2500 EV/PHEV rebate…it now expires in 8 days. Details here:


Stop it.

No more easy green stickers.

Raise the requirements at least. Require 30+ miles of electric range and the ability to drive 65 mph on electricity alone.

Londo Bell

Actually, I don’t mind a PHEV with say, 10 mi range, driving on HOV lanes, as long as they are using electrons.

Manufacturers need to install some sort of indicator that the vehicle is indeed using clean energy, i.e. electric drive, when driving those vehicles, from an external point of view. Then authorities can ticket those who are using ICE while driving on HOV lanes without the required # of passengers.


“I don’t mind a PHEV with say, 10 mi range, driving on HOV lanes, as long as they are using electrons.”

But there is no way to enforce that. A person can buy a plug-in Prius and never plug it in.

By raising the requirements to a long EV range and ability to go full speed on EV, you can be pretty sure they WILL plug it in because who would pay that much extra for that ability and then not use it?



It needs to be enforced with real EV miles and minimal EV range.


realize the more hov stickers the more crowded the hov lane becomes

not getting the stickers when i get my tesla, the stickers are dumb anyway


and realize anyone can drive in it whenever, the likeliness of being seen by a cop is slim to none

you really think cops are looking out for cars with 1 person driving and no stickers on the sides of the car at 65MPH ? LOL they are looking for speeders

Please tell me when you’ve ever seen someone get pulled over on a crowded freeway by a cop for driving by themselves in the HOV lane…. *crickets*


I’d say about five or six times over the past 2.5 years, on the 405 going south in the morning through the San Fernando valley. At rush hour, nobody is going anywhere near 65mph on the approach to 101, and that’s where I’ve seen folks pulled over. Had a cop eyeball me once when driving an FFE because he didn’t see the sticker at first. Also saw a black FFE get pulled over, had dealer plates and no sticker.

Scott Franco

Here in silicon valley, we have a flyover bridge from the 85 to 87 freeways, both with a diamond lane, and the flyover has a diamond lane as well, with a meter at the bottom.

The flyover diamond lane will be empty and the other lane will be full. I see idiots almost cause an accident by suddenly jamming themselves from the diamond lane into the other lane as we go around the curve.

Then I see why: There is a cop down at the meter handing out tickets to people in the diamond lane, at the meter where they can simply stand by the meter and motion for people to pull over and get a ticket.


Will the new Volvo XC90 PHEV qualify for it?


I spotted a gas powered Honda Civic with counterfeit white HOV stickers today. The dead giveaway was the tailpipe! Carpool lanes in California are such a joke! Zero enforcement by the CHP. Nobody cares….


Natural gas powered Civics have a white sticker, and a tailpipe.

But the other day I saw a white sticker on an ELR, definitely not legit of course.


It’s about time we phase out PHEV’s in car pool lanes like we did hybrids (yellow stickers) not allow more. With the number of new PHEV coming on the market HOV lanes need to be for just pure EVs.


White HOV stickers are unlimited while green HOV stickers are limited for PHEV.

Why would you think BEV deserve more HOV stickers than PHEV if PHEV is doing all the driving in HOV lanes with EV mode?


A BEV guarantees you won’t burn gas when you drive in the HOV lane. A PHEV offers no such assurance.


First of all, CARB doesn’t care whether it is all electric or NOT. Green stickers only means certain low level of emission.

Second of all, that is why ZEV such as BEVs gets unlimited white stickers where PHEV only gets a limited numbers….


The green stickers should be allowed to expire permanently.
Allow just the White EV stickers.

No sense allowing PHEV’s to mask themselves and use the lanes when they burn gas.


The green stickers DO expire permanently in a couple years. The white ones do not expire unless/until they change the whole program.


White stickers expire Jan 1, 2019

jim seko

You don’t need more HOV stickers, you need less people in Los Angeles. People should purchase PHEVs for the sole purpose of getting out of Los Angeles and never going back. That will solve traffic problems like nothing else.

Steve Strange

Ha ha. Well, fewer *cars* would help almost as much as fewer people, if there was a reasonable alternative for folks to get around. Of course, there isn’t, and it will probably come to LA last if ever.

Jeff Songster

What we should do is add another HOV lane when the first one gets filled too often. Eventually when this creates enough gridlock and folks figure out that you can buy your way into the privileged lanes… we will all be driving electric. Just kidding… sort of…

Gary Richards

Hi. I reported this last month

A It might, but this is a mixed bag. The DMV has issued more than 66,000 green carpool stickers allowing solo drivers of plug-in hybrids to motor in the diamond lane. That’s just shy of the 70,000 limit that could be raised to 85,000 if legislation in Sacramento is passed. In early 2013, only 9,022 green stickers had been handed out but as traffic delays surge to near record levels, sticker demand has soared. There is no limit on white stickers for electric vehicles and those running on alternative fuels.


Bill AB 95 was signed today