A few years ago it was not uncommon to hear a Toyota Prius buyer say, "I got it for the sticker." The yellow sticker they were referring to allowed the driver to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (carpool) lane even when alone in the car which, as every other LA driver knows, led to the frequent sight of a Prius with a sole occupant zooming by at 94 miles per hour along the center barrier.

That dispensation for traditional hybrids ended in 2011, but there are both white and green stickers that remain good for sole-occupant HOV use until 2015. The white stickers can be used for battery electric, natural gas and hydrogen fuel-cell cars, green stickers are for plug-in hybrids and those with range-extending internal combustion engines. A California assemblyman has introduced a bill that would push the expiration date for those kinds of cars back ten years, to January 1, 2025.

The allotment of white stickers isn't capped, but the legislation dictates that no more than 40,000 green stickers can be distributed and so far 9,000 of that tally has been used. It was said that when it came to reselling a used Prius that had a yellow sticker, it was worth $1,500 more than one without – not bad for an investment that cost nothing on the front end.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      Leather Bear
      • 1 Year Ago
      My hubby will be very pleased if this bill passes. He had an '05 Prius with the (expired) yellow stickers and traded it for a Prius Plug-In last summer in order to get the green stickers and access to the HOV lanes again. His job can take him all over the Bay Area on a given day, and the ability to quickly get from one work site to another means he can sometimes squeeze an additional service call (or two) into his work day. Which in turn translates to a fatter paycheck at the end of the month.
      GCass
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope the author was kidding about the 94 mph statement. Maybe he doesn't know the typical Prius driver only drives at 60 mph or less. At least that's been my experience here in Los Angeles while driving the carpool lanes.
        JC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GCass
        You must not be talking about commute hours then. I remember back when the Prius still had HOV access. Guys who traded in their 3 series for a Prius with a sticker would go bombing down those HOV lanes.
        bullitt2605
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GCass
        I don\'t know a year or so ago I read the the Prius was the most pulled over vehicle for speeding.
        Z. Kesh
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GCass
        That's why you should get a Volt, you can power down the lane with 90 mp/h on battery power.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yaay! I don't live in CA but ya gotta love the smug rules.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nothing says green like a Prius doing 85mph in the HOV lane and burning more fuel than every car it passes. If you live in CA at this point you can't blame anyone but yourself.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      Please don't extend the green stickers without raising the standard for efficiency or electric range.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        Thats the way we do it here. By calling the Prius green, we let them get away with murder.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        A Prius has to be a plug-in to get a carpool sticker. Regular priuses can't do it, not for years now.
          Leather Bear
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          @Sloop In California, the HOV stickers stay with the vehicle; they cannot be transferred. If you buy a new vehicle, you have to apply for a new set of sticker (if they're still available). The only exception is if a stickered vehicle loses one via collision repair or theft, you can request a replacement from the DMV.
          SloopJohnB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          You missed the point...regular Priuses that HAVE a sticker (older car's stickers could be transferred to a new Prius) would be extended ten years under the proposal.
      v6sonoma
      • 1 Year Ago
      You know in a backwards kind of way I almost feel like Hybrids and Electrics should be EXCLUDED from the HOV lane. I mean they aren't wasting gas idling in traffic. So let them wait while the gas burners get to move along and save fuel! lol It does sort of make sense but I'm positive that idea wouldn't go over very well. Just a funny thought that occured to me. Not at all a serious idea. =)
      bullitt2605
      • 1 Year Ago
      Better yet create truck only lanes you would not have the overhead of dealing with special stickers and they would be able to get where they are going. Probably cut down on insurance claims for broken windshields at the same time.
      RobGcf
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm so glad the f'ing Priuses are out of the left lane. In fact, when they WERE in there, they were RARELY going over 55-60 mph. These bastards would block the carpool lane doing their hyper-miling thing, and wouldn't even move over to let motorcycles by. They were the one vehicle most likely to block a motorcycle trying to lane split. I think these stickers are a stupid idea. Keep the HOV lanes for what they're meant for, even though, really, it's a stupid idea because they aren't used nearly enough. Imagine the difference in traffic flow if these roads suddenly had another lane.
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