From: HybridCars, Matter Network, More from this Affiliate
Published April 28, 2011 04:57 PM

Virginia Hybrid Car HOV Perk Is Tied to Police Budget

Last week, Virginia passed yet another extension of its hybrid HOV law, which gives drivers of "clean fuel" vehicles access to the commonwealth's carpool lanes. The law has been extended annually since its original expiration date in 2006—even as the state's HOV lanes (and hybrid sales) swell. Could the extensions have anything to do with the fact that, with every registration for access, $15 goes to the state police's "HOV Enforcement Fund?"


Since the emergence of hybrids in the last decade, several states have enacted similar carpool laws as an added incentive for consumers to embrace gas-electric vehicles. But with fuel prices high and hybrids no longer the newest fuel-saving technology on the block, the argument for keeping around added hybrid driver perks has weakened.

This June, California hybrid drivers will lose their HOV access—a bonus that has been available to 85,000 such vehicles since 2004. But with hybrids all but ubiquitous in many parts of the state, California decided last year to shift the privilege to drivers of plug-in electric vehicles, and push solo hybrid drivers out of HOV lanes. Virginia has long ranked among the top ten states for hybrid sales, which would likely make it among the first to end its HOV incentives—except that it isn't.

Are Virginia Cops Hooked on Hybrids?

In order to be eligible for full HOV access, a Virginia hybrid must sport the state's special Clean Fuel Vehicle (CFV) license plate, which is available for an additional $25 fee on top of the annual registration cost. Of that money, $15 goes to the state police's "HOV Enforcement Fund," which was established alongside the CFV law to help troopers identify and ticket HOV violators.

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