Featured Hybrids kicked out of Free HOV?

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by wjtracy, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Effective tomorrow, Virginia is kicking hybrids out of free HOV.
    According to Virginia VDOT, new federal HOV rules mandated this policy change.
    This has limited impact here, because Virginia has been phasing out free HOV. But some 16000 grandfathered hybrid owners just got the boot.

    Does that mean nationwide, all Hybrids are kicked out of free HOV? For example, I am thinking New York LIE (Long Island Expressway) allows vehciles over 40 MPG or something like that.

    I guess if this rule is true on a national basis it could shift some HOV hybrid drivers to plug-ins. But I am thinking it is possibly Virginia's response to a new guideline, and not a blanket USA ban. But who knows?
     
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  2. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    From what I read, Virginia HOV rules were kind of a sham. But DC politicians live across the border, so I guess that makes sense , at least before the political Dynamics changed. You could have a massive lexus land barge that was hybridized & still get HOV privileges.
    Anywho, e/state sets its own HOV rules. Cali just issued new stickers about a year ago, purple, previously red, earlier were green, then white & yellow were starting around the same time. Phasing out the old ones keeps buyers opting for your new vehicles, which makes it better for a cheaper/used market for the people who can't afford new.
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    #2 hill, Sep 29, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    There's lots of oversized vehicles that have hybrid systems in them that do almost nothing to improve fuel consumption because the entire vehicle the hybrid system is built into is so ridiculously inefficient in the first place. HOV lanes should create incentives that promote more efficient transports rather than ineffectual gimmicks for waste-based consumers.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the only one ever mentioned here is cali, who eliminated hybrids, then older phev's
     
  5. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    ergo my above comment.

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  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Even under old rules, when a particular set of HOV lanes gets too much congestion, hampering their real purpose, any special access given to non-HOVs was supposed to be cancelled.
    Free HOV use by hybrids was never nationwide. E.g. my state never implemented it, and for damn good reason. We had plenty of transit buses and real HOVs using our I-5 HOV lanes. And far more people adopting hybrids without incentives than our HOV lanes could possibly handle. Letting them in freely would wreck our public transit bus schedules and carpooling incentives.

    Hybrid HOV access was merely a special short-term incentive meant to encourage another goal while getting more use out of a seriously under-used asset. Everyone knew that it wasn't permanent, and would go away when those federally subsidized assets finally started getting more of their originally intended use. Those who still want to use the HOV lanes, can man up and form a real carpool. BTDT, for 16 years, before anybody had hybrids. Then I changed worked locations and could start bicycle commuting.
     
    #6 fuzzy1, Sep 29, 2019
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  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    when i go down 95 in va at rush hour, the hov looks empty compared to the non poor masses
     
  8. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    In the Seattle area, we had an HOV lane taken over by a toll lane... Not only did it start generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the state, but just about every commuter was willing to pay for it, so the once efficient way to encourage carpooling and electric cars to travel much faster than traffic was replaced by government money making they won't let go of and a crowded former HOV line now barely going faster than the rest of the traffic. I-405 toll lanes have collected $44.5 million in revenue in two years | KOMO
     
  9. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Note to outsiders: this toll lane does not go through Seattle. It goes around the other side of the big lake, Lynnwood-Bellevue-Renton. The demand-driven toll is capped under current law, but apparently too many people are willing to pay that cap. So it needs to be raised.

    When I used to occasionally drive there during commute hours, before tolling, that HOV lane just wasn't getting the use that I regularly saw on the I-5 HOV lanes. But the wealth over there supports plenty of hybrids and beyond, so special free access for them would swamp it. Thus, the conversion to tolling.
    When were EVs ever allowed special access to I-405's HOV lane?
     
    #9 fuzzy1, Sep 29, 2019
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  10. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    It's now a toll lane with demand pricing that requires EZpass. The time I tried it ended up costing over $8.
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    those roads must have cost a fortune to build, i can see the need for revenue.

    i would consider trying it, to avoid the stop and go from the beltway to fredericksburg
     
  12. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Not really a sham.
    Virginia did have a fairly long list of applicable hybrids, but I never saw too many big hybrid cars with the special plates...mostly Prii etc. It was in theory possible to qualify with something like a Highlander and definitely see a few with the special plates.

    I am not defending Virginia system, but I might have ended the program more gracefully, unless in truth their hands were indeed tied by the new federal HOV rules requiring kicking out hybrids.
     
    #12 wjtracy, Sep 29, 2019
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  13. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    They are PPP (public private partnership). I95 HOT lanes paid for by Transurban Inc. who collects the (sky high) tolls, Lexus Lanes we call them. Dynamic tolling as high as $45 for few miles in severe traffic. However, we have decent slugging car pools (HOT-3) participation. we don't let the hybrids or plug-ins use the HOT lanes free so that is why the free HOV benefit is going away as more HOT lanes come in.

    The other day it cost me $20 to go a few miles but I saved a half hour or more. A first I thought it was a waste until I saw the gridlock.

    NoVA gets no repsect so nobody is going to pay for something like that here. So it had to be paid for by the 3rd party who gets the income.
     
    #13 wjtracy, Sep 29, 2019
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  14. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    It is not respect NOVA (and Norfolk) need but money. Typical of many states, the rural interests get a share of the taxes disproportionate to their population. And the dense urban counties which pay much more in taxes get much less.

    Another oddity, notice how great the roads are between the state capitol and the state university football stadium.
     
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  15. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Interesting comment.
    Yes Virginia has rural/low income favoritism on steroids.

    And you know, each state has its own character so you sort of have to go with it, but if the opportunirty presents, try to fix,
    "They" say all the money is in NoVA, that's why.

    But I have a radical new idea, let's find out where the Tesla's are registered in Virginia, and assume that is where the money is.
     
    #15 wjtracy, Sep 30, 2019
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  16. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Here is VDOT announcement...plug-ins are still allowed (this ruling revokes hybrids):

    Clean Special Fuel License Plate (or hybrid) Drivers on HOV Lanes: Changes in Federal Law Impacting Hybrid Vehicles on HOV Lanes

    • Due to expiration of certain provisions in federal law (23 USC § 166), beginning September 30, 2019, hybrid vehicles will no longer be eligible to use HOV lanes on any road, highway or interstate in the Commonwealth, unless the required number of occupants are in the vehicle. This will apply even if the vehicle displays a clean special fuel license plate.
     
  17. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    So, you have to carpool to use it?
     
  18. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Yes (or plug-in for short-term fix) but we are phasing out HOV for HOT-3 on I-66 and I-95 (where it matters).
    We have good car pool participaption on I-95, so the hybrids crowding out carpools always made hybrids unwelcome to some extent. HOT-3 means pay a megaton of toll money or have 3-person car pool. We have lots of both.

    One things is clear: if you say a certain vehicle qualifies for free HOV, and if that HOV saves time, you will immediately sell a whole lot of those vehciles. Believe Va. was first to allow free HOV for hybrids going back to before 2005. Due to rapid sales of Prii here (+HCH and FEH), by 2006 the privilege starting phasing out.
     
    #18 wjtracy, Sep 30, 2019
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  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    If I am reading that federal law section correctly, that "new federal HOV rules" was from a law passed in 2015. And the applicable "new rule" gave hybrids two extra years. Under the old law, hybrids would have been kicked out on Sept. 30, 2017:
    This 2015 law also split hybrids apart from alternative fuel vehicles, and gave the later a much longer extension, to Sep 30, 2025.

    In short, hybrids are not getting shorted. Instead, their last extension just ran out. This should not have been a surprise to anyone.
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Sep 30, 2019
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  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    There is a bright side. They can still use HOV with a passenger.

    .
     
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