Ford, Honda Say Calif. Hybrid HOV Perk Should End

By Danny King May 27, 2011

2004 toyota prius california hov sticker _large.jpg

Ford and Honda have joined alternative-fueled vehicle advocates in an effort to stop the state of California from again extending a program allowing for single-occupant conventional hybrids to use high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, saying such efforts would be better used for newer vehicle technologies such as battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars. The automakers, along with Plug In America and the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, earlier this month sent a letter to California Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), saying that the so-called "yellow sticker" program, which first went into effect in 2004, should not be extended beyond this July. The program was originally set to expire at the end of last year.

The group, which notably doesn't include Prius-maker Toyota, is arguing that any state-backed incentives in the form of special HOV access should be directed towards drivers of newer-technology vehicles such as BEVs, PHEVs and compressed natural gas vehicles. California is considered the most important market for boosting sales of new-technology vehicles because the state accounts for about one-seventh of all registered U.S. vehicles. California drivers were also a big early adopters of the Prius and other conventional hybrids, and the state was part of the initial launch markets for both the Chevrolet Volt PHEV and the Nissan Leaf BEV last year.

2004 toyota prius.jpg"Continued extensions of the program do not serve to incentivize sales of hybrid vehicles as the cap on yellow stickers was reached approximately 7 years ago, shortly after the program's inception," the group wrote in the letter. "As you are undoubtedly aware, manufacturers are aggressively working to bring additional advanced technology vehicles to the market. Non-monetary consumer incentives, such as HOV access, will greatly help to promote consumer acceptance of the new technologies that will be introduced."

California has instituted a so-called "white sticker" program for BEVs, hydrogen fuel-cell electric (FCEV) and CNG vehicles, while certain PHEVs will be eligible for green stickers, which also come with carpool-lane benefits, starting next year.

Ford will start selling an all-electric version of its Focus in 2012, as well as an all-electric powered Transit commercial van, two next-generation hybrid-electric vehicles and a yet-to-be-determined PHEV by 2013. Honda, whose U.S. hybrid sales were about one-sixth of Toyota's last year, makes the natural-gas burning Civic GX. That car earlier this year was crowned the greenest vehicle sold in the U.S. for the eighth consecutive year by non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, beating out both the Leaf and Volt.

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offroadbob1 says: 2:31 PM, 06.01.11

I agree. The yellow sticker program SHOULD end. Let ALL vehicles use the HOV lanes. Open them up and allow unrestricted access both in and out of the lanes. While we are at it, get rid of the light rail lines and convert them to automotive use. The reduction in traffic congestion will result in a corresponding reduction in idling which will go a long way toward reducing California's carbon footprint, if you believe in all that carbon malarkey.

DriftComplex says: 8:14 AM, 06.03.11

The yellow sticker perk needs to come to an end.

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