Plan to Push Hybrids in Arizona Could Spell Fight with Feds

Proposal would allow HEV owners access to Phoenix's HOV lanes.

Published: 29-Jan-2003

LE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0> By HOWARD FISCHER
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County lawmaker's plan to promote the sale of so-called "hybrid" power vehicles could provoke a very expensive fight with the federal government.

Sen. Slade Mead, R-Ahwatukee, wants to permit these vehicles, which have electric motors, to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes during rush hours. He said letting the drivers whiz around the traffic jams would go a long way in convincing them to scrap their current vehicles.

But the move will get a raised eyebrow -- and potentially more -- from the Federal Highway Administration. That's because the vehicles use a small gasoline engine to keep the batteries charged.

And that means they emit pollutants.

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