SACRAMENTO, CA — The California State Assembly approved legislation authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) that rewards Californians for purchasing clean or zero-emission vehicles by giving them a pass for congestion free commuting on highway carpool lanes or carpool lanes converted to toll roads.
Assembly Bill (AB) 266 passed with a 49-22 vote and moves to the State Senate for further review.
“We won’t make a dent in our clean air and climate goals without getting more of these cars on the road,” said Blumenfield. “With more clean cars than ever coming off the production line, this is an exciting time in the clean car industry. We must support it and the consumers making greener choices by keeping this program up and running.”
AB 266 allows extends the existing Clean Air Vehicle Sticker program, which allows single-occupant drivers of clean and zero-emission vehicles to drive in carpool lanes and toll roads as an incentive for consumers to choose cleaner, greener cars. Absent Blumenfield’s legislation, the program phases out in 2015.
There are two kinds of stickers in the Clean Air Vehicle Sticker Program. White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for certified zero emission vehicles – such as electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or compressed natural gas vehicles. AB 266 extends their viability to 2020. Green Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for plug-in hybrid cars. AB 266 extends their viability until 2018. While there is no limit on the amount of white stickers, green stickers are capped at 40,000. A list of vehicles eligible for these stickers is available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm.
Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and smog. Clean cars, such as plug-in hybrids and compressed natural gas cars, emit 34% fewer global warming gasses and 75% less smog. Zero-emission vehicles include electric and hydrogen-powered cars.
34,051 stickers have been issued under the Clean Air Vehicle Sticker program as of March: 10,831 green and 23,220 white. That total is approximately 0.1% of all vehicles on California roads – 22 million cars, 5 million light trucks, 500,000 commercial trucks, and 818,000 motorcycles. 1.6 million vehicles were sold last year in California.
Further information about AB 266 is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.