HOV Law for Hybrids Extended

Drivers of hybrid vehicles with the required clean fuel license plates will continue to be able to use the Interstate 95, 395, 66 and Dulles Toll Road High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes until June 30, 2012.

However, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says there’s an important change on I-66 come July 1 of this year.

I-66 change

The new law states that only hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates issued prior to July 1, 2011, will be permitted to use the I-66 HOV lanes during rush hours.  Police will ticket any hybrid vehicle that does not have a clean fuel plate issued before July 1, 2011.

A similar law took effect on I-95 and I-395 five years ago — only hybrids with clean fuel plates issued before July 1, 2006 are permitted to use the I-95/395 HOV lanes during rush hours.

New plates

Beginning July 1, 2011, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will issue a clean fuel license plate with a different design so that police can easily spot violators in the HOV lanes.

Delegate Thomas A. “Tag” Greason sponsored the one-year extension that was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor McDonnell last month.

In order for a hybrid vehicle to use Virginia’s HOV lanes during the morning and afternoon rush hours, the vehicle must have a clean special fuel plate issued by the DMV.

Because not all hybrids qualify for clean fuel license plates, motorists should check the DMV Website for an updated list of eligible hybrids.