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Discussion Starter #1
One of the final selling points tipping me to buy a new Volt was the ability to use the HOV lane. I have a horrible commute and this was going to be savior for my sanity. However, a friend just mentioned that California is discontinuing that program for plug-in EVs in 2018? Really? Is that true? I just got depression:(!
 

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I think the OP's friend is correct, from the above link:

"A new bill, SB-838, removed the limit on "green stickers" effective September 13, the California Air Resources Board (CARB)—which is in charge of administering the program—confirmed recently.

California will now resume issuing "green stickers" without a set cap until January 1, 2019.

That's when the program expires and all stickers—both green and white—become invalid."

So they are good through the end of 2018.
 

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The way I interpret the article, all of the HOV stickers are currently scheduled to expire 1/1/2019. Of course, that *could* be extended by the passage of a future law. Did I get that wrong?

It is a little confusing because a couple of different bills are referred to and it is not absolutely clear (to me) which, if any, have been signed into law.
 

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The way I interpret the article, all of the HOV stickers are currently scheduled to expire 1/1/2019. Of course, that *could* be extended by the passage of a future law. Did I get that wrong?

It is a little confusing because a couple of different bills are referred to and it is not absolutely clear (to me) which, if any, have been signed into law.
I was confused too. The CADMV site confirms that bill SB-838 is what was signed.
 

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Lately, with a lot of plug-ins on the roads, the HOV lanes are seldom helpful now as they have the same car density as all the other lanes, rush hour or not. Only very few sections the HOV lanes have an advantage. Oftentimes, it is slower in the HOV lanes now than in the regular lanes.

So I haven't installed the green stickers on my Siren Red Volt as it would make it look ugly.
 

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Lately, with a lot of plug-ins on the roads, the HOV lanes are seldom helpful now as they have the same car density as all the other lanes, rush hour or not. Only very few sections the HOV lanes have an advantage. Oftentimes, it is slower in the HOV lanes now than in the regular lanes.

So I haven't installed the green stickers on my Siren Red Volt as it would make it look ugly.
Interesting difference between NorCal and SoCal:

"High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, also known as the carpool or diamond lane, is a traffic management strategy to promote and encourage ridesharing; thereby alleviating congestion and maximizing the people-carrying capacity of California highways.
•HOV lane is usually located on the inside (left) lane and is identified by signs along the freeway and white diamond symbols painted on the pavement.
•In Northern California, HOV lanes are only operational on Monday thru Friday during posted peak congestion hours, for example: between 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. All other vehicles may use the lanes during off-peak hours. This is referred to as "part-time" operation.
•In Southern California, HOV lanes are generally separated from other lanes by a buffer zone. The HOV lanes are in effect 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, referred to as "full-time" operation.
The operational practices vary differently between Northern California versus Southern California because of traffic volumes and commuter patterns in the two regions. Northern California highways usually experience two weekday congestion periods during peak morning and afternoon commute hours followed by a long period of non-congestion. Using a full-time operation would leave the HOV lane relatively unoccupied during off-peak hours and would not constitute an efficient utilization of the roadway. Southern California experiences very long hours of congestion, typically between six to eleven hours per day, with short off-peak traffic hours; part-time operation under these conditions would not be viable."

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-California-carpool-lane-rules
 

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At their worst, the HOV lanes can be as bad as, or even slower than, the regular lanes. However travelling on them slightly off-peak can still be a win. So overall having the stickers is a good thing. Just have to be cognizant of where the choke points are in your commute and when you go through them.

Folks outside California would be amazed to see the parade of BEVs and PHEVs of every sort in the HOV lanes during rush hours.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the program extended beyond Jan 1, 2019. If they do, they would probably bundle it in to sweeten yet another massive taxing/spending bill.
 

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"Southern California experiences very long hours of congestion, typically between six to eleven hours per day"

Wow. That's even worse than I thought.
 

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Los Angeles resident here.

As a former Prius owner, current LEAF owner, planning a Volt purchase, here's my experience with driving solo in the HOV lane:

I can take it or leave it.

There is a sweet spot in traffic density where it's really helpful to drive in the HOV lane. If traffic is not too dense, there's no advantage. If it's TOO dense (often the case) the HOV lane is just as bad as the regular lanes.

I wouldn't be surprised if they decertified the green stickers (plug-in hybrids) from driving solo in the HOV lane and reserved that privilege for the white stickers (all-electric). Doing so might make the HOV lanes useful again.

When I get my Volt or other plug-in hybrid, I may forego the stickers. They are ugly. On the other hand, they get you free metered parking in the city of Santa Monica, so there's that.
 

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Los Angeles resident here.

As a former Prius owner, current LEAF owner, planning a Volt purchase, here's my experience with driving solo in the HOV lane:

I can take it or leave it.

There is a sweet spot in traffic density where it's really helpful to drive in the HOV lane. If traffic is not too dense, there's no advantage. If it's TOO dense (often the case) the HOV lane is just as bad as the regular lanes.

I wouldn't be surprised if they decertified the green stickers (plug-in hybrids) from driving solo in the HOV lane and reserved that privilege for the white stickers (all-electric). Doing so might make the HOV lanes useful again.

When I get my Volt or other plug-in hybrid, I may forego the stickers. They are ugly. On the other hand, they get you free metered parking in the city of Santa Monica, so there's that.
The biggest benefit is avoiding the chaos of other drivers switching six lanes and cutting you off to switch to another highway; so if you're one the 405, being in the HOV to avoid the mayhem of the 101 or the 10 exchange...

Random FYI, the 405 could possibly (very doubtful) get a monorail! http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-monorail-405-freeway-20170613-htmlstory.html
 

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I do drive the HOV lane during peak hours when I have a passenger.

During the off-peak hours, I avoid the HOV lanes. Drivers there go 80 mph and it reduces my Volt's range to a mere 42 miles per charge.
 

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Another advantage to the HOV stickers, at least in the LA area, is the "free" use of the toll Express lanes. You have to get a transponder with $40 credit (and pay $40 for it), but after that you can drive in the toll express lanes using the '3' setting on the transponder regardless of how many passengers are in the car, and therefore pay no toll. The only charge is the $1 monthly maintenance fee. These lanes still go pretty fast, even during peak times. I use the one on the 10 with some regularity. Less so for the one on the 110. Also, Costco sells the transponders for $35 if I recall correctly - and mine came with $45 in credit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Another advantage to the HOV stickers, at least in the LA area, is the "free" use of the toll Express lanes. You have to get a transponder with $40 credit (and pay $40 for it), but after that you can drive in the toll express lanes using the '3' setting on the transponder regardless of how many passengers are in the car, and therefore pay no toll. The only charge is the $1 monthly maintenance fee. These lanes still go pretty fast, even during peak times. I use the one on the 10 with some regularity. Less so for the one on the 110. Also, Costco sells the transponders for $35 if I recall correctly - and mine came with $45 in credit.
We have those "Lexus Lanes" in Nor Cal too. I called my local Fasttrack center and they confirmed that you can drive in the Express Lane with a green sticker and transponder set to "3".
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think the OP's friend is correct, from the above link:

"A new bill, SB-838, removed the limit on "green stickers" effective September 13, the California Air Resources Board (CARB)—which is in charge of administering the program—confirmed recently.

California will now resume issuing "green stickers" without a set cap until January 1, 2019.

That's when the program expires and all stickers—both green and white—become invalid."

So they are good through the end of 2018.
ahhhhhh poop :( !!!
 

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I'm on the 91, 60, 10, 5, 22, and 405 on a regular basis. In general, the green sticker saves me a ton of time.

/shrug/
 

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I suspect CA will consider extending the use of green/white stickers beyond the end of 2018 if doing so doesn't further create 23 U.S.C. 166(d)(2) issues. The Federal requirement is that the average HOV speed must be greater than 45MPH. We already know there are issues in that regard. I can't imagine what the traffic will be like if all of the alt fuel vehicles are moved back onto the other lanes. I suppose they'll sell more FastTrack transponders.
 

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Actually, Southern California now has a number of part-time HOV lanes as well. One is the 14 freeway and there are many others...

Southern California experiences very long hours of congestion, typically between six to eleven hours per day, with short off-peak traffic hours; part-time operation under these conditions would not be viable."
 

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I wouldn't be surprised to see the program extended beyond Jan 1, 2019. If they do, they would probably bundle it in to sweeten yet another massive taxing/spending bill.
Like, perhaps, single-payer?
 

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There is also some language in the current law that can close the green sticker program early once that segment reaches 9.5 percent of all hov lane traffic. Here in SDCo, the state has had people with orange vests and straw hats on the diamond lane ramps and on overpasses counting sticker cars. By closing the program, I take that to be the discontinuing the issuance of stickers.

My guess would be that white sticker cars will be able to use the lanes after 2019.
 
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