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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What year do you believe hybrid, and electric cars will lose their exempt status to cruise in the carpool/HOV lanes?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) October 5th, 2015

At some point there will be enough hybrid, and/or electric vehicles that allowing them in the HOV lanes with single passengers will lose its incentive and not be flow effective any longer, what year do you believe that will happen where you live?

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13 Answers

jerv's avatar

I don’t see that happening for at least a decade, and probably closer to two. There is still considerable mystery and stigma attached to electric vehicles (EVs), and a ton of misconceptions about them that will take at least that long to overcome. For instance, people think that EVs are slow and weak when the truth is that they can easily hold speeds well above legal (fast enough for any street car) while accelerating twice as quickly as exotic sports cars. Dispelling those notions won’t happen overnight.

Once EVs overcome that social reluctance, they will still have to wait for them to be a little cheaper. While it’s true that EVs have far lower “cost of ownership”, they make up for their low maintenance costs by having a pretty hefty up-front cost. At the moment, there is still a price premium for EVs that is not totally offset by credits. That may change when technology advances a bit more to make the batteries cheaper; those tend to be the single most expensive component of an EV. Realistically, I see that happening a little sooner than the social acceptance of battery-powered “toy” cars… barring some patent-trolling of the type that removed Nickel-metal hydride batteries from cars. (Fuck you, Chevron!)

After we get comfortable with EVs and they drop in price to where they can compete in purchase price, then we will see the percentage of EVs on the road rise. I think that they will likely lose that exempt status no sooner than the time where they outnumber motorcycles, and probably a bit more; maybe when 10% of the US motor fleet is electric.

I’d guess 2030, give or take 5 years.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I doubt there will ever be a change.\

In Atlanta, the primary objective of HOV lines is to reduce the gross number of vehicles on the road, NOT so much for the sake of pollution. Meaning that it doesn’t really matter whether the vehicle is gas or hybrid or electric – a vehicle is a vehicle.

With reducing numbers being the goal, there is no reason to change current laws regarding HOV lanes.

Of course, some other states have other motivations, but at least here, pollution is not the main concern. Traffic is.

cazzie's avatar

Here in Norway, they’ve already had to revoke/limit the free parking benefit in some areas. It won’t be long here when some of the other benefits will be lifted, surely. Right now, they don’t pay any road tolls and can drive in the bus and taxi lane.

Teslas are very popular here.

zenvelo's avatar

In California, the State limits the number of HOV exempt stickers it will issue, and even then they expire.

The gold ones expired a few years ago. The white ones expire in 2019; and there are just over 10,000 left to award.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@elbanditoroso In Atlanta, the primary objective of HOV lines is to reduce the gross number of vehicles on the road, NOT so much for the sake of pollution. Meaning that it doesn’t really matter whether the vehicle is gas or hybrid or electric – a vehicle is a vehicle.
That is one thing about Cali’s HOV lane laws I could never fathom, if the idea was to reduce vehicles, and the reward for doing so was to be able to roll in the HOV lane while single occupant vehicles creeped in gridlock, how is that improved by allowing three Priuses, four Leafs, and a Volt with single drivers in a line of 12 vehicles making commuting a premium in the HOV lanes? If enough EV or hybrids got on the roadway the HOV lane will be near like any of the other lanes.

@zenvelo The white ones expire in 2019; and there are just over 10,000 left to award.
When they run out of stickers, that is it, hybrid or not you are rolling like anyone else if you do not have at least two breathing bodies in the car?

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yes, when they run out of stickers, no pass for the HOV lane.

elbanditoroso's avatar

So in addition to a water crisis and a tax crisis, California lacks the ability to print more stickers?

zenvelo's avatar

@elbanditoroso There is no tax crisis in California. That was solved by raising marginal tax rates and getting the state budget on track, which has led to encouraging growth in California and why San Francisco has a 3.5% unemployment rate.

And we like the HOV stickers as a scarce resource.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zenvelo Yes, when they run out of stickers, no pass for the HOV lane.
Then what incentive would a person have to fold their 1.5 kids and a dog along with all their stuff into a small Prius when they can have a big commodious SUV with dual AC zones, more cup holders and a rear passenger DVD setup, if one can’t cruise the HOV lane after they are dropped off at school or grandma’s house?

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central If the HOV access is what is driving your automobile choice, that psychic self pat on the back will disappear the first time you’re fighting five miles of approaches to the Bay Bridge with even the HOV lane crawling.

And every time you go to gas up the Escalade, even with $2 gas, you’ll wish you had chosen the Highlander hybrid.

jerv's avatar

@zenvelo Pretty much.

Figure, a Tesla with a 90KWh battery can go about as far as the average car can on about 10 gallons of gas (15 gallons if you have an SUV). Here in the Seattle area, electricity is about ten cents a killowatt-hour, so it costs about $9 to fill up a Tesla. I rarely leave a gas pump for under $20, and usually closer to $30–35.

Try filling up an Escalade for under $9 without the gas station attendant calling the cops on you and you’ll see the incentive. Also, many of the major repairs that most cars require are on the engine. Electric motors are reliable enough and require nearly no maintenance, so skipping $150/yr worth of oil changes as well as annual emission testing when one goes to renew their registration on top of eliminating the possibility of failing in any of the interesting ways that gas engines do may save you enough to qualify as “incentive”.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zenvelo _If the HOV access is what is driving your automobile choice,….] _
My next purchase would not be dictated by HOV access, cost of gas, etc., but how fast it can go from zero to 60, no matter if it drank fuel like a fish, or cost as much as a small house, so long as it looks cool, my eye will be upon it.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central In that case, you are probably going electric. The Tesla Model S can do 0–60 in under three seconds, and the White Zombie can do it in 1.8 seconds thanks to >1200 foot-pounds of torque.

The White Zombie is a street legal ‘72 Datsun converted to electric power by it’s owner. It’s estimated that it’d cost about $20k to replicate. Runs a 10.2 on the ¼-mile and still gets ~100 miles on a charge.

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