Buyers of new plug-in hybrids in California will no longer have access to the state’s carpool lanes — if no new legislation is passed, that is.
The reason for the end of new plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) being given access to the state’s carpool-lanes is, simply, that all 85,000 “green stickers” have already been issued. New fully electric vehicles (EVs) are of course still eligible for the carpool lane program, as an “unlimited” number of stickers are available for them.
Whether or not the program will be extended, which, as noted above, is dependent upon whether or not new legislation is passed, is a bit of a tossup. It’s worth noting, though, that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is still accepting new applications in case new legislation ends up being passed. New applicants will simply be put on a waiting list.
Green Car Reports provides more:
If no such legislation is passed, the plug-in hybrid program will come to a halt as did the previous “yellow sticker” program for conventional hybrid cars, which was also limited to 85,000 stickers.
…The California Air Resources Board — which manages the state’s green-car incentive programs–said the statutory limit for green carpool-lane stickers was reached on December 18. Green stickers are used for conventional plug-in hybrids, as well as extended-range electric cars like the BMW i3 REx, Cadillac ELR, and first-generation Chevrolet Volt. The total number of green stickers was originally capped at 40,000, but the limit was raised multiple times–most recently as part of state budget legislation passed earlier this year.
…The carpool-lane exemption was originally set to expire this year, but legislation passed in late 2013 extended it to January 1, 2019. All green and white stickers remain valid until then. The yellow stickers for hybrids expired on June 30, 2011, and are no longer valid.
It’s probably worth noting here that there are a significant number of big-name PHEVs set to hit he market over the coming year — it’ll be interesting to see if sales in California are notably impacted (presuming that the program isn’t extended again).