Hybrid Road Rage in California

Editorial sides with state's decision to limit hybrid car access to HOV lanes to cars getting 45 mpg or better, despite American carmaker lobbying efforts.

Published: 05-Jan-2005

A REASONABLE experiment -- promote hybrid cars sales by letting the high-mileage vehicles use commuter lanes -- was made law by Sacramento last year.

But hybrid drivers are stuck in a legal traffic jam. Lawmakers thought the change would begin this month, yet federal rules on highway money will oblige a time-consuming wait. Then there's the hovering presence of the Detroit car lobby, unhappy that the mostly foreign hybrids are getting a special privilege.

The result is that California can't use a law it passed. It may take months before solo drivers in hybrids whiz along in carpool lanes.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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