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USA: Can Your 2012 Chevy Volt Use California HOV Lanes? It Depends

When General Motors launched the Chevrolet Volt in 2010, the state of California decided that it didn’t meet the required emissions standards needed to classify it as an Electric Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (e-AT-PZEV).

At Launch, No HOV Lane Access

As a consequence, the state of California told GM that owners of its 2011 Volt would not be eligible to apply for one of the State’s prized High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane access stickers. Currently colored white, these allow owners of low and zero tailpipe emissions cars to drive in the HOV lane, even if they have no passengers.

A Clever Fix

In response, GM developed a new exhaust system which added a secondary air-injection pump to increase the amount of oxygen in the exhaust and boost the efficiency of the car’s catalytic converter.

Called the Low Emissions Package, the redesigned exhaust enables the Chevy Volt to qualify for e-AT-PZEV status in California. By proxy, it also means owners of Chevy Volts fitted with the package can apply for one of the 40,000 or so HOV lane access stickers so prized by commuters in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


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