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Green carpool stickers could hit 40,000 limit in a few months

If you’re coveting a green sticker for your plug-in hybrid so you can drive solo in the carpool lane, don’t dither.

More than 70 percent of the 40,000 that will be issued are already gone, leading state officials to predict that the limit could be reached this summer.

“At the rate they’re going, I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Dan Lieberman, press secretary to state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Mateo, one of the authors of the sticker proposal.

As of Jan. 1, 28,739 green decals have been mailed to owners of vehicles meeting California’s partial zero-emission vehicle requirements, such as the Chevy Volt, the Ford C-Max Energi or the plug-in Toyota Prius. That’s nearly double the 15,972 green decals that had been issued as of July, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Prius Plug-in Hybrid (Koji Sasahara / AP)

All-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla or those running on alternative fuels qualify for white stickers for diamond lane privileges. So far, 39,804 white decals have been issued, up from 29,427 six months earlier. But unlike green stickers, there is no cap on the number of white stickers.

Applications for stickers heated up when a bill by Yee extended the program from 2015 until 2019. With congestion on Bay Area freeways mounting at a rate not seen since the dot-com boom 15 years ago, going solo in the carpool lane could shave real time off anyone’s commute for five years to come.
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