US: senate committee to ban solo hybrid drivers from carpool lanes image

The senate committee decided to approve a new highway-spending bill that stretches across six years, in which solo drivers of hybrid vehicles would not be allowed on carpool lanes.

The high occupancy vehicle access permits allowed single drivers of hybrid cars take advantage – just like electric car owners – of the faster way of travel, but the moves comes in the wake of California – the US biggest market for cars – also moved to fade away the exception for plug-in hybrids.

The new amendment allows the unrestricted use of HOV lanes for all electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric, compressed natural gas and fuel cell vehicles – only barring the more conventional hybrid cars.

California, which banned hybrids from the faster lanes since 2011, also announced that last week it reached its 40,000-vehicle limit for any vehicles other than electric or fuell cell vehicles. That means drivers of models like the plug-in hybrids Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac ELR, Ford Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi, Honda Accord plug-in hybrid and Toyota Prius plug-in are not eligible anymore. On the other hand, the HOV lanes can be used without restriction by full electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Spark EV or even the compressed natural gas Honda Civic Natural Gas.