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CA: Electric Cars Get Carpool-Lane Access Til 2020, Plug-In Hybrids Til 2018

Owners of electric cars and plug-in hybrids enjoy plenty of benefits: tax breaks, lower fuel costs, and the satisfaction that comes from driving a low- or zero-emission vehicle, to name a few.

In California, owners also enjoy easier commutes: they can apply for special stickers that allow them to travel in carpool lanes, even when a driver is alone in the vehicle. Cars that qualify as clean-air vehicles, like electrics and those that run on hydrogen fuel cells, receive white stickers, while plug-in hybrids get green ones.

The program has been hugely successful, but it’s set to expire onJanuary 1, 2015. According to the Los Angeles Times, a bill to extend the program has just passed the California Assembly by a comfortable margin (49-22), and it’s now en route to the Senate.

The new bill would extend carpool-lane access for clean-air vehicles — including those powered by compressed natural gas — until the year 2020. Plug-in hybrids would receive the benefit until 2018.

Clearly, that limit is meant to encourage the purchase of zero-emissions cars like the Nissan Leaf. The number of white stickers available for such cars is unlimited, while the total number of green stickers is capped at 40,000.



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