Giving free solo trips in the commuter lanes has successfully clogged up those commuter lanes that were intended to ease traffic. Also, the way stickers are allocated was flawed — it was based on when new hybrid owners received their license plates in the mail. There’s no guarantee when plates will arrive — often, it could take as long as three months. Perhaps the DMV should’ve based it on when the car was purchased, making it clear if people qualified. Instead, when the current program ended, the DMV had 700 more applications than stickers. Some owners out there won’t be happy campers.
So my hat is off to California… Sort of. This practice of permitting hybrid drivers to utilize the HOV lanes is a horrifying practice and those states that are out there doing it should stop it. While we can all be delighted that gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles typically exhibit greater (and in some cases far greater) fuel economy than your typical internal combustion engine, someone tooling around solo in one of them is still not really doing us any favors. Just because you’re sucking less gasoline than the rest of us is a nice start. But you’re still contributing to sprawl, still contributing to traffic, still requiring as much petrol for your tires and engine lubricants… And what about that “other” battery that you happen to have? And what about all the factory resources expended to manufacture your hybrid?
So if California’s goal was to introduce people to the hybrid vehicle concept… Well, then I guess they’re getting nice checks in the mail from Toyota and Honda? (I didn’t realize that the HOV lane was a marketing tool!) Anyway…
The hybrid is a nice start at cutting back the carbon emissions. But for wholesale reduction plans, nothing beats the “reduce” plan. And there’s no quicker way to cut it back than to carpool. Or use public transportation. Or walk.
About Rob FrieselSoftware engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →
One Response to California: “Alright, that’s enough of that!”
there has been some similar talk down here in the metro dc area – no va has allowed hybrids with single occupants to drive in hov lanes for some time and had a similar problem with the hov lanes becoming jammed b/c – you guessed it – people buying hybrids specifically so they could drive alone in the hov lanes. i can attest that there is a preponderance of single occupant hybrids in the hov restricted section of I-66 during rush hour which just burns me – especially since so much of that section is paralled by metro.
long story short – va had been talking about doing away with the hybrid exception and i support them on that.