"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.