Hybrid car sales in California have really taken off. And as a result, HOV lanes in southern California are starting to get clogged with all the one passenger hybrid cars who have the special decals.
Or, at least, that's what some people believe.
Out of the 75,000 decals available to those who drive certain hybrid cars, only 5,000 are left.
Press-Telegram - Hybrids choke carpool
"We are very surprised. We knew it would promote people to buy hybrids but we didn't expect them to go through these 75,000 decals this fast," said Josh Townsend, spokesman for Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Woodland Hills, who authored the legislation in 2004 that created bumper sticker permits.
The program started last August and was intended as an incentive to hybrid car buyers who must purchase their cars at a premium over their more conventional gas engine counterparts. And with gas prices spiking, more and more consumers are trading in for hybrid technology.
But lately, especially in California, those 'green' drivers are getting more and more complaints. Called 'smug' by other drivers, some are complaining hybrid car drivers are driving slower and clogging those car-pool lanes. Another common complaint heard is how a solo driver isn't saving more gas than an SUV with three passengers (although that ignores the other, 'greener,' aspects of a hybrid).
And now, Caltrans is studying the effect all those solo drivers are having on the HOV lane success. If it turns out they really are 'clogging' the high occupancy lanes, the new program may shut its doors altogether to any new users.