HOV yellow stickerThe vehicles are no longer novel, their yellow stickers have faded from years of exposure to the sun and, after six years of enjoying the privilege, it's now time for California's hybrid owners to suffer with the rest of us in the state's traffic-clogged non-High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

Starting today, July 1, some 85,000 yellow stickers issued to owners of certain hybrid vehicles in California expire. Now these hybrids have to fall in line with gas-guzzlers, truckers and the millions of other vehicles that sit at a dead stop in the "regular" lanes of California's highways and watch in envy as carpoolers whiz by at 55-plus miles per hour in dedicated HOV lanes.

Only three hybrid vehicles – Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid – qualified (rated 45-plus miles per gallon) for the yellow stickers. Now, owners who choose to cruise solo in HOV lanes in those gas-sipping hybrids will face steep fines.