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Saturday, May 7, 2011

A new class of carpool cheaters

The Merc reports that the Prius and other California hybrid owners are finally losing their carpool cheating stickers. Come July 1, the 85,000 privileged owners of a yellow sticker will no longer be allowed in the carpool lane.

Instead, the $1,500 subsidy to affluent buyers of expensive high-mileage cars will pass to those who buy an EV such as the Nissan Leaf. (Chevy Volt owners need not apply). We are repeating the mistake again, just with another class of privileged few.

Transportation writer Gary Richards found at least one honest Prius owner who recognizes the mistake:
“I am happy to see the carpool access experiment come to a much-deserved end,” said Ted Coopman of Santa Cruz, who never applied for stickers for his 2005 Prius. “While I support inducements for buying hybrids, granting carpool access was a major mistake. Hybrids don't get people off the road, and reducing traffic is the primary reason for carpool lanes.”
If gasoline prices remain high, California is going to need the lanes for actual carpoolers. So lets hope that the state doesn’t fill those lanes with 85,000 single-occupant EV owners.

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