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CA HOV Lane Sticker Placement

Last night, I was following a Nissan Leaf on the freeway during my commute home from work. Geez, that car is such a dog, but it got me thinking. Someday, I'm going to have to desecrate my Model S with those ugly California Clean Air Vehicle stickers if I want to take advantage of the HOV lane. For those of you who don't live in California, they look like this...

CA Clean Air Vehicle Sticker

...and you used to need 4 of them (two are 2" x 3", and two are 4" x 6"). Does anyone know if you still need to apply all 4 of them these days? Also, does anyone know if these instructions for the placement still apply today?

Sticker Placement Instructions

Whenever I see those hideous stickers on the freeway, they seem to be placed front and center like some badge of honor. I'm trying to figure out where I can place them, such that they'll be barely visible to the CHP, and not such a blinding eyesore shining like a repulsive beacon from my new car. Does anyone know if it's valid to place them as low as possible on the frame of the car? I'm hoping to even partially wrap them under the curvature of the bumpers as much as possible to keep them visible. I'm thinking something like this (maybe even lower):

Front Sticker Placement

Rear and Side Sticker Placement

Wow that is ugly.
Makes you wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze? I am now leaning towards a white "s."
Thanks Schlermie.

Place them on the tire sidewalls.


Or glue them to a clear piece of flexible plastic, which you can temp-glue in place when necessary, and remove immediately afterwards.

P.S. If the "state seal" is that round shape, it actually is in the down position. Classic 'crat cack-up.

The seal is right-side up. Nothing upside down.

I put stuck my carpool stickers on some scraps of StarShield, carefully cut them out (so that no StarShield would show), and then placed them on my white Roadster.

An earlier poster is right, not nearly so obvious on a white car - but I think the real issue is careful positioning. I've seen more than one Roadster with stickers askew & just shake my head. With the StarShield and a little baby shampoo/water mixture, you have about 30 minutes to reposition until everything is exactly where you want it.

Thanks for the StarShield tip Bonnie. That's a good idea. I've seen those stickers that look like someone haphazardly slapped them on the back of the car at some strange angle. It just makes them stand out even more.

Brian's idea about the temporary gluing made me think as well. I wonder if you could make some sort of reusable solution with magnets. Of course, magnets won't be drawn to the aluminum car body, but maybe you could use a pair of rare earth magnets drawn to each other on opposing sides of the body panel. I'm not sure how practical that would be with regard to wind resistance thought...not to mention the threat of theft.

If you're okay with getting a white or silver car, this isn't nearly as big of an issue. I've had a silver car for too long already though. I want my next car to have a real color.

There are some Roadster owners who just put one of the stickers on a placard and prop in their back window - and haven't yet been ticketed. yet.

But that probably won't work for the Model S. The Roadster is easily identified as an EV. I've had local law enforcement, monitoring the car pool lanes, just wave as I passed without looking for stickers. The Model S won't be so quickly recognized.

I'd worry about theft with the magnet idea. You can always get replacement stickers, but they take a couple of months to arrive in the first place, so I would be unhappy with that option.

The StarShield method still is more prone to theft, since the stickers can be peeled off more easily than if it were just adhesive to paint - it was a compromise on my part. And no way I'd glue, even if it were some kind of unknown temporary glue.

If you drive the HOV lanes on a regular basis, I'd just put them on the car and be happy with the lane access. The stickers can be removed when lane access ends in 2015 without damage to the car. It's not a permanent disfigurment.

Read point #2 in the instructions with the stickers:
"Please place the small stickers on the right side of each bumper, front and rear, with the State Seal in the up position."

As for the gluing, again -- actually read what is written. I suggested permanently attaching to a clear plastic base, which could then be temp-glued when and where needed and removed without damaging the sticker.

Please try to cut back on the self-righteous shooting from the lip.

brianh: "Please try to cut back on the self-righteous shooting from the lip"

so then please explain why we have to put up with it from you ...

bonnie1194 said "[t]he StarShield method still is more prone to theft...." Having seen someone who knew what he was doing remove carpool lane stickers from a number of Prius at "Mr. Roadshow's" Prius sticker removal party, if you know what you are doing and have a hot-air heat gun you can remove a sticker in a couple of minutes at most. Given that, I'm not sure there is much downside to the StarShield approach.

(I can't quite bring myself to put white stickers on my dark blue car. I do have the stickers, they just aren't stuck on. And in two-and-a-half years of driving my Roadster there has only been one time when I could have benefited from the carpool lane.)


Yes those are the directions. There is nothing upside down. I'm not sure why you took that as self-righteous shooting from the hip.

I also read (and referenced) the 'temp-glue' and would not want to put any glue, including temp-glue, on my Roadster. Read my post again and you'll see that I didn't miss what was said. Again, not sure why it was perceived as 'self-righteous shooting from the hip'.

Nothing in my post was self-righteous. I was explaining what I did and the reasons I chose the path I chose. Sorry if upset you, though I cannot see why anything I posted caused such a snarky response.


if you want to delight Brian, place a few grammatical errors or not-so-common typos in your posts. He seems to be particularly upset today.


If it were me, I'd sit in traffic to avoid the stickers unless the HOV lanes provide significant benefit and you'd get use out of them frequently.

I made the drive between Newport Beach and Los Angeles recently - and can tell you that the HOV lane sticker allowed me to travel approx 45 miles at speed limit, while the other 5 lanes were stop and go traffic (and more stop than go). Those stickers saved me hours of drive time.

I love those stickers. :)

This was a big concern with Prius drivers back in 2005 and there was even a big LA Times article about it:

My biggest beef with the stickers was that they require two of them on the left hand side. To quote the LA Times article:

"All the HOV lanes are on the left-hand side of the roadways," said Veronica Bach, a comedy cabaret performer who lives in Hollywood and has owned her burgundy Prius for three weeks. "Why should there even be any stickers on the left-hand side of the car?"

My 2001 Prius, god love it, was a pretty ugly car so it didn't matter but I really cringe at putting the HOV stickers on a Model-S.

Maybe the best solution is to always have a passenger. :)

The instructions say put the seal "in the up position".
The seal is at the bottom.
Hence, if the seal is up, the sticker would be upside down.


When I received those stickers and read those directions, my self-righteous little mind interpreted it to mean orientation of the seal itself. Apparently most everyone else who received a sticker interpreted it the same way, since I have yet to see one upside-down. But I can see how you read it differently.

I agree with Bonnie about the whole state seal thing - perhaps the instructions should read "in the upright position" and Brian's problem disappears. Some people just like to create issues where there is none....not to mention taking the post completly off-topic.

As for the left side placement - that is the side of the HOV lanes where the CHP are set up to check traffic (in the median), therefore they can see them.

Back on topic: The placements shown by Schlermie would not pass muster with CHP. They are too far under the vehicle body and would not be visible enough.

"As for the left side placement - that is the side of the HOV lanes where the CHP are set up to check traffic (in the median), therefore they can see them."

Yes. More than once while driving in the car pool lane, CHP has been sitting there on the inside shoulder - and it was this front left sticker that was observed (with a little wave to me -smile-).

I only received three stickers, and it appears that's all most get - at least other Roadster owners. (The instructions are for four.) Two of the larger, one of the smaller. The smaller is on the front driver side bumper, the two larger ones are low on the Roadster at each corner, somewhat visible from both the side and the back. The link I provided earlier shows one of the stickers. It's visible, but low. I feel I've met the intent - a sticker (or enough of one) is visible from all sides.

So far, CHP has not had an issue with placement.

I guess in New York, we'll all have to get Glacier Blue Roadsters, and hope the Model S is offered in the same color:

I thought the CA HOV sticker program has expired? Comments?

For hybrids, yes
In place for EV's until 2014 I believe

One of many privileges Purebrid EV's will enjoy! I fully anticipate that charging stations will be offered as a free service ( lost 'green' leaders) at Restaurant chains, Shopping malls, Hotels and other Roadside venues.

Brian - I'm pretty sure they mean the seal is to be placed in the upright position.

Frankly, I'm confused at the confusion on this whole seal thing. Doesn't the illustration make it pretty clear what they mean?

SD - EVs and CNG vehicles are qualified for stickers, until 2015. There is discussion about extending it at that point, but who knows.

I have to agree with Brian, the wording in the sticker instructions is clumsy, the State Seal in the up position sounds like they want the state seal on top, which is ridiculous because then all the writing on the sticker would be upside down. There is no reason that they had to mention the state seal at all, any normal person would apply the sticker with the text rightside up!

And I definitely agree with everyone who says the stickers are an abomination to the beauty of this car, I will be putting them only at the lower corners of my front and rear window, maybe also at the bottom of the passenger windows if i get a warning.

- any normal person would apply the sticker with the text rightside up

We're talking government here. "Normal" doesn't apply.

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