Hybrids getting a free ride in HOV lane

You all know the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane, right? The high(er) speed lane in busy city highways where people who car pool and have at least two people in the vehicle are rewarded with a dedicated lane to zip past traffic snarls. But, since another lifestyle choice HOV lanes were meant to promote is a greener environment, a lot of areas allow hybrids to cruise in the HOV lane with only one person in the car. With hybrids increasingly present on our roads, those HOV lanes are getting a little crowded.
Here's a story from Long Beach, CA, where a pilot program allowing hybrid owners to drive in the HOV lanes has quickly sold over 70,000 of its allotted 75,000 permits. More hybrids are sold in Southern California than anywhere else in the country, and the California Department of Transportation may shut down the hybrid program to new users after announcing the results of their study of the hybrids' effect on the HOV lane.

[Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram]

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