As we mentioned yesterday, the EPA's list of HOV-lane-friendly hybrids has seen the light of day. The official draft list is now out, and it's pretty much as expected (you can download the PDF here). There's no blanket exemption for hybrids in the HOV lanes, as vehicles like the Lexus GS450h, Dodge Ram Hybrid and Saturn Vue Greenline still get to sit in traffic. CNN has the list of acceptable vehicles:
  • 2004-07 Toyota Prius
  • 2006-07 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • 2006-07 Lexus RX400h
  • 2006 Mazda Tribute Hybrid
  • 2005-07 Ford Escape Hybrid
  • 2006-07 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
  • 2003-07 Honda Civic Hybrid
  • 2003-06 Honda Insight
  • 2005 and 2007 models of the Honda Accord Hybrid
  • Natural gas versions of the 2003-05 Honda Civic
  • Natural gas versions of the 2003-2004 Ford Crown Victoria
The hybrids that end up being exempted will continue to be classified as such until at least September 30, 2009, as that's how far out Congress has authorized such exemptions. While the EPA's guideline allow hybrid vehicles with 25 percent higher combined mpg ratings in city and highway driving (compared to similar gasoline-fueled vehicles) to zip down the HOV lanes, nothing in the proposal will stop states from applying stricter standards. The EPA is accepting comments on this draft list for 30 days.

[Source: CNN]

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