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Report: Eco Hondas carrying only drivers are crowding California carpool lanes — legally

Honda Accord Plug-In HybridA recent report by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) puts Honda at the top of list when it comes to car makers with the most eligible green vehicles for California’s carpool lane.

According to the ARB report, Honda has four cars in its current line-up that meet the state’s standard for single-occupant access to California’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lanes, which is the most of any full-line automaker.

It’s the kind of stat you quickly come to appreciate if you spend any time on a freeway in Southern California – where a simple 10-mile commute could wind up taking 30 to 40 minutes.

On average, the carpool lane can knock off up to thirty minutes off a daily commute, according to

California Access keViolate the carpool lane as single occupant without one of those clean air access stickers issued by the state, and you could end up being stuck with a $400 dollar or so fine.

The Honda vehicles on the ARB report listed that can help a driver alleviate those issues include the Accord Plug-In Hybrid, the Civic Natural Gas, the Fit EV all-electric vehicle and the FCX Clarity fuel cell-electric vehicle.

The 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid sedan has a EPA driving range of 570 miles with an EPA rating of 115 MPGe, a standard used to measure the combined efficiency of an electric vehicle.

The 2012 Civic Natural Gas (CNG) has an EPA of 31 MPG.  The Honda Fit EV has an EPA rating of 118 MPGe with an EPA driving range of 82 miles.  The FCX Clarity has a EPA rating of 60 MPEe with an EPA driving range of 240 miles.

The average annual five year fuel savings of the Honda Accord Plug-In, Honda Civic CNG and Honda Fit EV is about $7,783.  The fuel savings for the FCX Clarity haven’t been released.

California law allows single-occupant use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOVs) lanes by certain qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles. The tags associated with different classes of vehicle are as follows:

white decalWhite Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs). Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The expiration date for the white stickers has been extended to January 1, 2015.

Green DecalGreen Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to the first 40,000 applicants that purchase or lease cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT PZEV) requirement.

yellow decalYellow Clean Air Vehicle Stickers for hybrids are no longer valid – the program ended on 7/1/2011. Please note that these vehicles do not qualify for any other type of decals.

Marcus Amick
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Marcus Amick has been writing about the world of cars for more than ten years and has covered everything from new automobiles…
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