The state of California has stopped awarding high occupancy vehicle (HOV) access permits to plug-in hybrids.
The U.S. Senate committee has approved a new six-year highway spending bill that could change which states allow single drivers to use carpool lanes with plug-in hybrids. According to a recent report, Senator James Inhofe has sponsored an amendment approved last Thursday that would allow electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric, compressed natural gas and fuel cell vehicles to use HOV lanes. The amendment however, bar states from letting hybrid vehicles use HOV lanes in starting new programs.
Most states have already stopped allowing regular hybrids from using HOV lanes, but now California has halted the program for plug-in hybrids as well. The current HOV access program expires in 2017 and the amendment would extend the program, but tighten up the requirements to prohibit hybrids.
Last week, the state of California said it has run out of permits for plug-in vehicles and has hit its 40,000 vehicle cap for HOV access. The current permits for the plug-in hybrids are good until January 1, 2019. The state however, is still giving out unlimited permits for electric vehicles and will also be granting permits for fuel cell vehicles.
[Source: Detroit News]