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Posts Tagged ‘Prius Perk’

Single Occupant Honda CNG and Fuel Cell Vehicles Granted California High Occupancy Vehicle Access

Civic GX and FCX Clarity retain special access, while more popular and effective Honda and Toyota hybrids are ousted?

by on Jul.13, 2010

The Civic GX is the only dedicated natural gas vehicle from a major automaker in America, and Honda Manufacturing of Indiana is now its exclusive source.

Ah, the ongoing joys of observing California legislators bestow economic advantages on companies that are marketing the green flavor du jour.

The state that brought you the ill-fated Electric Vehicle mandate that cost automakers billions upon billions of dollars developing what turned out to be non-saleable EVs is again intervening in the market for other alternative fuel vehicles that are now in favor.

Once again it is electric vehicles and some latter day variants that have caught the fancy of lawmakers.

The root problem here is that politicians keep trying to set design standards – favoring one type of technology over another – rather than performance standards, which simply set the goals desired and let companies fight for customers in the marketplace. This results in faster development times and economically feasible results– not that politicians care if anyone will buy the things they are mandating – just look at the whole sorry history of the previous California EV mandate of the 1990s.

In the latest example of this ongoing folly, the recently passed California Assembly Bill 1500 extends HOV lane access to “Inherently Low Emission Vehicles” (ILEV), which includes cars that are certified as zero emission and CNG vehicles. In addition, new HOV stickers will be available for those driving pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, such as the Tesla Roadster.

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Analysis!

California drivers of compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Civic GXs, and the “zero-emissions” FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle will continue to have access to coveted High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lanes until January 2015.

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California Yanks Prius Owners’ Express Lane Passes

Hybrid owners will now have to crawl through traffic like everyone else.

by on Jul.09, 2010

Prius, Insight and Civic Hybrid models with this sticker will no longer have access to California HOV lanes after December 31st.

For the past several years there’s been a booming gray market, in California, for the Toyota Prius.  Not just any Prius, but specifically those which have an HOV access sticker pasted onto the bumper, a perk that can save a lucky, long-distance commuter an hour or more a day in travel time.

California regulators limited to 85,000 the number of High-Occupancy Vehicle stickers – which give access to the normally restricted car pool lanes.  And only the three highest-mileage hybrids and electric vehicles, including the Prius, the Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid qualified.

But as of December 31st, those three gas-electric models will have to fight it out for space on the I-405 and other crowded Golden State freeways along with Camry sedans, Ford Explorers and, gasp, gas-guzzling Chevy Silverado pickups.

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While the Governator, California chief executive Arnold Schwarzenegger, has signed into law a 4-year extension of what had come to be known as the “Prius Perk,” the extension notably now excludes mere hybrids.  The new focus is on pure battery power, something California regulators have been trying to promote since an ill-fated zero-emission law was briefly implemented back in the early 1990s.

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