Maybe the California Air Resources Board (CARB) should start bringing in some professional auctioneers to keep up with its green-sticker situation. Because we now have 85,000, 85,000, can we go 95,000? Sold!

The most populous US state keeps upping the limit on the number of so-called green stickers, which lets solo drivers of standard plug-in hybrids such as the Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi lines as well as extended-range plug-in vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt drive in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The stickers are popular, in part, because they let drivers do a little something to beat the traffic. The savings on refueling costs in the PHEVs is an added bonus.

Now, the state has just reached its repeatedly-self-imposed limit of 85,000 green stickers. CARB's first green-sticker limit of 15,000 was reached last July, but that was then upped to 55,000. Most recently, a limit of 70,000 was increased by another 15,000 mid-year. No word on whether CARB's going to increase that limit once again.

CARB also gives out white stickers for pure electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. The state hasn't imposed any type of numerical cap on those stickers, though it's slated to stop giving them out on Jan. 1, 2019 (unless the regulator extends things there, too, which wouldn't be surprising). CARB had been giving out yellow stickers for standard hybrid vehicles, but ran out of those in mid-2011, much to the consternation of Prius drivers everywhere. Take a look at CARB's notice, as well as a list of eligible vehicles, below.
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IMPORTANT NOTICE

The 85,000 statutory Green Clean Air Vehicle Decal limit has been reached. The DMV will continue to accept applications without payment to establish a queue for requesters should an additional amount of decals be authorized. There is no guarantee that additional decals will be authorized in the coming months. Those individuals in the queue will be notified to submit payment if additional decals are approved. Updates will be provided here as more information becomes available.

California law allows single-occupant use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOVs) lanes by certain qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles. A list of qualifying vehicles and frequently asked questions are provided below. Use of these lanes with a single occupant requires a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Currently, there are two types of stickers that are being distributed by the DMV.

white decalWhite Clean Air Vehicle decals are available to an unlimited number of qualifying Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs). Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Per AB 266, the expiration date for the white stickers has been extended to January 1, 2019.

Green DecalGreen Clean Air Vehicle decals were originally available to the first 40,000 applicants that purchased or leased cars meeting California's transitional zero emission vehicles (TZEV) requirement, also known as the enhanced advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT PZEV)* requirement. Per SB 286, the expiration date for the green decals has been extended to January 1, 2019. Per budget trailer bill, SB 853 (Statutes 2014, chapter 27), the green decal limit was increased by 15,000 to 55,000 decals effective July 1, 2014. Per AB 2013, effective January 1, 2015, an additional 15,000 decals were made available for a maximum of 70,000. Per AB 95 the green decal limit was raised another 15,000 to a new maximum of 85,000. As of December 18, 2015 the Green Clean Air Vehicle Decal limit of 85,000 has been reached. The DMV will continue to accept applications to establish a queue for requesters should an additional amount of decals be authorized.

yellow decalYellow Clean Air Vehicle decals for hybrids are no longer valid - the program ended on 7/1/2011. Please note that these vehicles do not qualify for any other type of decals.

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