In order to encourage people to share their car, Authorities implemented the carpool lane. The rule is simple: if you are 2 people or more, you can use the carpool lane (left hand side lane) during the comuting hours (5am – 9am) and (3pm – 7pm). One exception to that rule is if you drive an hybrid car. To take benefit of that exception, do the following:
- Purchase a Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius. These are the only hybrid vehicles currently permitted in California.
- Fill out DMV REG 1000 form to apply for an HOV lane sticker for your hybrid. Your vehicle must have valid license plates before applying.
- Include the $8 fee.
- If you live in the Bay Area, you must also have a Fastrak transponder for bridge crossings to qualify for this sticker. See How to Register With Fastrack for more information. You will need a receipt from Fastrak to submit along with your DMV REG1000 form. If you have a Fastrak already, you must exchange it for a Hybrid Fastrak prior to submitting to DMV.
- Place the stickers on your car in the designated places.
- Save time by driving in the diamond carpool lanes and diamond freeway entrance lanes.
Tip: DMV will issue a limited number of these stickers, so you might want to get yours right away. Also consider driving electric or compressed natural gas vehicles, which have fewer emissions than hybrids and also qualify for the HOV lane.