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Permanence of CAV Decals for Tesla Vehicles

For purposes of the CA Clean Air Vehicle Decals for HOV lane usage - Model S falls in the category of SULEV (which includes ZEVs) and the White Clean Air Vehicle Decals expire in January 2015 (CVC Section 5205.5(m)(1) and 21655.9(e)(1)) (http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm)

As CA Governor Jerry Brown has an interest in Tesla and is a supporter of “California on the move” – Think there’s any forum to try to make a significant extension or permanence of a Tesla’s use of the HOV lanes with a single occupant? I know I’d make use of it!

The law doesn't really make sense now, and making it permanent would make even less sense.

@olanmills, why doesn't it make sense?

I'm by no means a traffic engineer... but from what I understand, traffic problems (in LA, at least) reportedly got noticeably worse when the hybrid usage of carpool lanes expired. While it wasn't expected to cause issues, I guess the sudden influx of Priuses into regular lanes actually caused more slow-downs for everyone (this seems surprising, but I'm not making it up). I think selective-use lanes benefit everyone. Those that can't use them still get a handful of cars out of their own lanes.

So if everyone benefits by choosing an additional group of people to get to use these lanes, why not double up and add it as an incentive for clean air vehicles?

It seems like a win-win to me.

But I'm basing all this on one nearly unbelievable news story from nearly a year ago and without a clear source. So I could be way off base...

Well, at least the original hybrid yellow decal program did get at least an additional two (or three) year extension from when it was originally instated. I suspect the same thing will happen with the zero emission white decal program after 2015, unless states start turning more HOV lanes into HOT lanes (which they have been doing here in Los Angeles where I live).

I personally am against HOT lanes, as most are former state tax paid-for HOV lanes, that were originally created and built to decrease carbon emissions, by giving drivers an incentive to ride-share (car-pool). With HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes, it allows ANY type of carbon spewing Sherman Tank to use them for a fee, which completely defeats the real purpose of the reason why these lanes were built.

The VERY fact that I can drive my Tesla in the HOV lanes single-occupancy, was at least 50% of the reason why I decided to buy a Model S! It would really suck, if the greedy bureaucrats in Sacramento decide to move in-favor of more air pollution for a fee HOT lanes, leaving us innovaters in traffic with the rest of the pollution heap.

I don't understand why they insist on the ugly white sticker. The link above says there are an unlimited number of stickers available. If they were limited like the yellow stickers, then maybe it makes sense. If the car has zero emissions (i.e. no tailpipe), it should automatically get a pass in the HOV lanes.

@mboedigh | SEPTEMBER 26, 2012: I don't understand why they insist on the ugly white sticker. The link above says there are an unlimited number of stickers available. If they were limited like the yellow stickers, then maybe it makes sense. If the car has zero emissions (i.e. no tailpipe), it should automatically get a pass in the HOV lanes.

Those white stickers truly are ugly. Here in AZ you can drive in the HOV lane with an alternate fuel plate.

Yes plate stickers would be ideal. I'm choosing not to use the two stickers in the Bay Area because they are just too ugly.

ZEVs in the HOV lanes amounts to a re-definition of their purpose. Nothing wrong with that, but it needs to be made explicit. PER lanes (Pollutant Emission Reduction), perhaps?

Well, from a strictly pollution/emissions point of view, the HOV lane should be for the worst polluting vehicles while EVs and hybrids should be kept out since they don't pollute more in heavy traffic like the big V8 SUVs do. You'd want the worst polluters to use the least amount of time in traffic to minimize total emissions.

Of course it can't be made to work that way ;)

Mboedigh. Any color sticker would be ugly on Tesla’s rolling art. However, you can mitigate the ugliness by getting your “S” in white (one of the many advantages of the non –color white).

That said, my “S” is going to be white, but not for the HOV sticker reason. I will affix a sticker to the rear window corner and try and reason with CHP (CA Highway Patrol). I will not deface my beautiful new car with bumper stickers. The rear window is bad enough!

@anpahwa
I'm pretty sure the primary purpose of HOV lanes is to reduce congestion by encouraging people who would normally take multiple cars to ride together. It supposedly improves traffic (I dunno how effective it is though), and also reduces the need/demand for future road work due to wear and capacity needs (like building more lanes).

Whether the purpose is primarily to combat congestion or pollution, making this benefit permanent doesn't make any sense because overtime, more and more of these cars will be eligible for the sticker. Having too many single occupant vehicles in the HOV lane would clog it up.

The main reason I don't like this law is that it effectively lets wealthy people pay for the right to not be tied down by the same rules as others. For the vast majority of people, ICE vs. BEV is not a choice. Even the Leaf is expensive, and it's just not practical for most people anyways. This is the same reason, though I haven't mentioned it before, that I don't like license plates such as GAS SUX or whatever too. It's insensitive. You're going to be driving down the HOV lane by yourself in $90,000 car proclaiming "GAS SUX". What are people stuck in the slow lane supposed to take away from that? That you're a rich -bleep-, that's what. It doesn't matter if you actually are rich or not. What they are absolutely not going to take away from that is, "I'm my gosh, I'm so stupid! If only I had bought a Model S instead of this Corrola or Focus!"

The other reason for this sticker would be to encourage the sale of BEV vehicles, but does it really do that? Does Tesla have a demand problem? I think not.

And I aside from that, I don't think the state should have an interest in encouraging people to buy BEV anways, but that gets into politics.

I will take the slow lanes rather than muck up the car. I protest that any sticker is required because any patrol can tell by visual inspection that it is ZEV and therefore it is entitled to ride the HOV lanes.

mboedigh -- any patrol can tell by visual inspection that it is ZEV and therefore it is entitled to ride the HOV lanes

1. That is true now because there aren't many ZEVs, as more come on the market it will be harder to tell.

2. These perks will eventually phase out and new ones will come in.

For what it is worth.

CA Governor Jerry Brown signed AB2405 that will allow clean energy vehicles access to CA carpool lanes free of charge if they are converted to toll lanes. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside are experimenting with high occupancy toll lanes (HOT Lanes) to help reduce congestion. The law seeks to encourage Californians to buy plug in hybrids and zero emissions vehicles. Access to carpool lane for solo drivers of hybrids was phased out last year.

LA Times, 9-27-12, page B2


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