We talked to the Los Angeles Times yesterday. So if anyone came to the site because of the quote, let us know. We feel, however, that the quote requires clarification. We actually feel like we were misquoted, so here is an opportunity to clear it up a bit.
The article we were featured in deals with California allowing hybrid drivers to ride solo in HOV or car-pool lanes. Virginia allows the same thing. You can see through our articles that many of us here at Autoblog do not see the benefit to this privilege. Primarily because hybrids are not always the most fuel efficient vehicles out there and riding solo defeats the purpose of car pool lanes. We believe legislation like this was meant to encourage the purchase of hybrids like the Prius and Insight. This kind of government sponsorship of foreign automotive manufacturers is not really the concern. What is important is that not all hybrids are as fuel efficient as the Prius. Look at the latest listing on Edmunds.com. This law would mean that a Chevrolet Silverado hybrid could drive in the car pool lane with one person. That is where we object to this kind of blanket law that covers hybrids.
That is an extreme example, but look at it another way. Two drivers, both driving a hybrid Prius get about 50 mpg
individually on the highway. Their aggregate fuel economy is half what their individual fuel mileage would be. We would
then be covering 25 miles per gallon of fuel with these two cars. Two people riding in one mid-size car could attain
this efficiency, not to mention the efficiency advantages of three or four people per vehicle. The Prius example is a
best case scenario, think of this example with the two Silverado hybrids. How does 10 mpg sound? It would be better to
have a Hummer H2 with two occupants.
This sort of exercise demonstrates that this is not the best way to promote environmentally sound practices. Such privileges undermine the original intent of car pool lanes. It is a bad idea, not to mention the fact that full hybrids are not at their most efficient in highway operation and the environmental impact of the eventual battery disposal or recycling issues.
So, we need to have a constructive solution to this problem. Why not classify all vehicles that are rated above a certain mpg point to be acceptable solo car-pool lane occupants? It would require some kind of visual indication for enforcement purposes, perhaps as a special decal or license plate. The wholesale acceptance of all hybrids into car pool lanes despite low occupancy is not the best solution.