Hybrid Drivers Can Now Apply to Drive Solo in Carpool Lanes
— President Bush’s signature on the $286 billion federal transportation bill will allow hybrid car owners to now begin applying for decals allowing them to drive solo in California carpool lanes, reported the Associated Press. Hybrid owners will have to send in applications and $8 fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles to receive their decals.Hybrid drivers could begin using the lanes within weeks. The policy change, designed to encourage drivers to buy the high-mileage, low-emission vehicles, came quicker than most expected.Only three hybrid models — Toyota’s Prius and Honda’s hybrid Civic and Insight — will be allowed in the lanes. They are the only models that meet the eligibility standards of at least 45 miles per gallon and almost no smog-causing emissions.California has become the second state to allow hybrids with solo drivers to use carpool lanes. Virginia enacted the change in 2000, and Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, and Minnesota are considering it.As of the end of June, there were 57,164 hybrids registered in California, though not all would be carpool-eligible, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.