We're coming to the end of the time when it makes sense (?) to ride around with a mannequin dressed as Gandalf. Yes, carpool lane access for some hybrid drivers in California will end this year. The deadline gives us a chance to look back and consider what the so-called "Prius perks" got us.

For one thing, the stickers gave drivers a more valuable car. Last summer, the stickers were worth at least $1,200 – down from about $4,000 in 2007 – but their value will almost guaranteed keep dropping through the year unless the HOV lane law is extended. The Mercury News found out that people would happily pay $500 to keep driving in the carpool lane if they had to. Not everyone likes the hybrid-access law, which leads to the following quote in the Mercury News' Q&A session that considers some of the consequences car buyers have to deal with:
Critics had a choice in buying their vehicle. Did you choose to buy a gas hog-pig SUV or truck, BMW 300 series, a Mercedes-Benz E-class or a safety-first Volvo? You knew these cars didn't qualify for the carpool lane because they are environmentally unfriendly. You made a conscious choice to be self-centered and materialistic and now you all are projecting your selfishness upon hybrid owners.
That seems like just the kind of statement the will build bridges, doesn't it?

[Source: Mercury News via Green Car Reports | Image: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker - C.C. License 2.0]

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