While the high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes have been open to hybrids carrying just one person in places like California for a while, the EPA will announce nationwide guidelines for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles in HOV lanes later today, according to the Denver Post. The Post has seen the list, and says that "hybrid models of the Honda Civic, Insight and Accord; the Toyota Prius, Highlander and Camry; the Ford Escape; the Lexus RX 400 and Tribute; the Mercury Mariner; and some natural-gas vehicles" will be welcomed into the HOV lanes no matter how many people are in the car. Perhaps some people will now calculate the savings of that mannequin they don't need to buy into the cost of a hybrid car.

The Post has the full list of the vehicles, and says that the new HOV-friendly vehicles need to be both low-emission and energy efficient. Energy efficient is defined as being a CNG vehicle or a hybrid that gets at least 25 percent better combined MPG rate (or 50 percent in the city). Low-emission means less than 0.07 grams of nitrogen oxide per mile. Congress passed a law in 2005 allowing fuel-efficient vehicles to use HOV lanes even if there's only single driver and asked the EPA to define eligible hybrids.

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[Source: Denver Post]



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