HOV lanes; use by vehicle with clean special fuel license plates. (SB1034)

Introduced By

Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


HOV lanes; use by vehicle with clean special fuel license plates. Extends until July 1, 2012, the sunset on use of HOV lanes by clean special fuel vehicles, regardless of the number of occupants. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/11/2011Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/11 11101457D
01/11/2011Referred to Committee on Transportation
01/26/2011Impact statement from DPB (SB1034)
02/08/2011Left in Transportation

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1432.


Deborah Chapman writes:

I strongly support this bill. It encourages both fuel conservation and efficient use of highways. The non-HOV lanes are congested enough already and the HOV lanes appear to move without problem. Also, the bill properly covers all HOV lanes.

Cindi Ricchio writes:

I also strongly support this bill and agree with all the above points. One other point is that the bill raises revenue through a surcharge for clean fuel license plate registrations and then leverages by investing the fees in HOV lane enforcement. This enhance the Commonwealth's public safety budget, improves compliance with HOV lane restrictions, and in doing so, raises even more revenue.

Michael Hokenson writes:

Giving an exemption to hybrid vehicles never made any sense and it is time to end this foolish privilege. First, it does not encourage fuel conservation. Ironically, a hybrid car functions more efficiently when driving in stop and go traffic. Putting a hybrid on HOV does little to save the world, particularly when they are in an almost all-time fuel consumption mode. Putting multiple passengers into fewer cars is what makes a huge difference in both overall fuel consumption and traffic congestion.

Secondly, having single occupied vehicles on HOV actually hampers traffic enforcement. It requires officers to discern whether the vehicle is a hybrid or whether some scofflaw is behind the wheel.

Third, I personally know many of the hybrid drivers used to pick up slugs. Now they are just driving alone adding to the congestion of the road.

The novelty of hybrid vehicles several years ago MAYBE warranted some exceptional benefit to encourage use of hybrid cars. That time is over. Since the privilege is grandfathered to those who bought hybrids years ago, there is no longer any incentives - nor are any required - to purchase a hybrid. Dealers don't seem to a have a problem selling hybrids and a new hybrid owner doesn't get the royal treatment and privilege of driving HOV.

This mindless extension continues to benefit those who bought hybrids years ago. They benefited by their purchase for a number of years. Now it is time to encourage them to get back into sharing rides with others.

Mike writes:

Michael Hokenson writes:"a hybrid car functions more efficiently when driving in stop and go traffic".

-Not rue, certain hybrids do operate like that, but not all. My civic hybrid gets better mileage on highway.

-Furthermore, even an hybrid may get more mileage on city, it still get great mileage on highway. so, Hokenson's argument is not valid, and erroneous.

"Secondly, having single occupied vehicles on HOV actually hampers traffic enforcement. It requires officers to discern whether the vehicle is a hybrid or whether some scofflaw is behind the wheel."

- Not true, the special license plates with distinct numbering and a logo clearly indicates the fact that a vehicle is a hybrid.

More importantly, taking hybrids into HOV relieves some of the heavy traffic from non-HOV lanes which are already at the top of their capacity. Taking hybrids and putting them into non-HOV would only increase the deadlock on non-HOV lanes.

Mike Hokenson writes:

While some hybrids do get marginally better gas mileage on highways, many are more efficient in city driving conditions. Conventional cars nearly always do better at highway speeds. If Mike's idea of putting some entitled cars on HOV as single occupied vehicles, it would actually make more sense to make them conventional vehicles.

Traffic enforcement - this is just common sense. There are two hybrid vehicle license plates and the police officer has to be behind the car to see it well. Driving along side a hybrid is not going to clue in any officer as to whether the single occupied vehicle is "legal" or not.

Before the hybrid exemption was granted many of the future hybrid owners used to belong to carpools or were slugging. Now they are using their own single occupied vehicles to clog up the HOV lanes. Three cars vs one - you do the math. Bottom line is that if you want to reduce traffic congestion, you get cars off the road as it seems to me that a hybrid vehicle takes up pretty much the same space as most conventional cars.

Unfortunately ending this special entitlement will require political courage to do the right thing and end this special privilege for SOME hybrid car owners -- something that perhaps we can all agree will not happen soon. HOV stands for high occupancy vehicles, not hybrid occupied vehicles.

Tim P writes:

thanks for the input mike.

Tim P writes:

hmu on FB

Jim M writes:

For anyone riding the HOV lanes in from Manassas, and inside the Beltway after 0630, what you see is much (over half) of the traffic is SINGLE occupancy hybrids.

On my carpool ride home from Alexandria on -66 West each day, the ride is okay to the beltway, but from there out west on -66, there is NO better movement in the HOV lane. We keep pace over the next 10 miles with the regular travel lanes due to obvious overcrowding of the HOV lane by 'clean fuel' vehicles operated by one person. So the whole idea of having HOV lanes (to move more people using less fuel), is largely defeated! This exemption, which generally was taken advantage of by upper middle class people who could afford $30+k hybrids, should be ended...let HOV lanes be for 2 or more passengers per car, period!

Rick Van writes:

This is absolutely ridiculous. How many times and for how long are they going to extend this. They are HOV lanes, not clean fuel lanes. I own a hybrid and yet I have at least 3 people in my car to use the Hov-3. I would like to know the reasoning and who benefits from this. It certainly is not those of us who follow the rules and the reason for the lanes.

Rick Van writes:

Deborah Chapman and Cindi Ricchio haven't a clue as to what they are talking about. If it is about revenue, open up to more cars post 2006 instead of this continued grandfather of only pre 2006. Many of these cars are much less fuel efficient than other non-hybrid vehicles. Check the mpgs for the Mariner, Escape, Lexus or Accord hybrids, etc. There are many non-hybrids that get much better gas mileage. Also, as Mike stated, most hybrids get better gas mileage in traffic, I know my Prius does. Not about fuel efficiency.
So I ask again, what is the motivation?