The latest green car decals available for plug-in cars in California that allow them to drive in the car-pool HOV lanes is off to a slow start. These bright green "Access OK" stickers are only available on plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Although the program started in January of this year, less than 4,000 have been issued by the start of this month. State Officials are claiming that the slow progress could be due to lack of advertising, however they stressed that would should be provided by dealerships as an incentive to purchase a vehicle like the Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
Only available today for the Volt and Prius Plug-In, this new sticker allows for use of car-pool lanes with only a single passenger.
For instance, the old sticker had California authorized for use in other alternative fuel vehicles, the yellow car-pool lane stickers, had an average six month total of around 10,625, with a total of 85,000 issued in a 5 year period.
Based on an article from North County Times, the state has issued 2,643 decals for Prius Plug-Ins and 1,114 for Chevy Volt owners.
Randall Blaum, an Internet sales specialist for Quality Chevrolet in Escondido, California and a Volt specialist for Southern California states, "most people consider (the car-pool lane access) a huge benefit. If they are a huge commuter, it's a huge benefit."
Prius Plug-In owner, Debbie Sarot, also of Escondido, agrees. "It's an absolute benefit," she said to the North County Times. Sarot added that she uses car-pool lanes daily as they "mark my appointments without having to leave an hour early."
Shad Balch, a spokesman for General Motors said Volt sales have tripled since the state's new decal and the $1,500 rebate that both came available earlier this year. He also said sales per month prior to the stickers and rebates were an average around 143 per month, but currently Chevy is liquidating around 450 per month.
Debbie Sarot of Escondido charges her new Toyota Prius Plug-In Thursday evening. Her car sports the state's new green carpool lane access stickers. Picture from North County Times.
However, Volts that were manufactured last year did not meet specific requirements for California's strict clean air requirements needed to obtain the green sticker. All Volts sold new in California now come with an added low emissions package which has allowed for the sale of around 2,000 Volts this year to date.
Here is a promotional video from GM on how to obtain the sticker once you purchase a 2012 Chevy Volt with the Low Emissions Package: