CORONA (CBSLA) — Hundreds of thousands of Californians will no longer be able to cruise down the carpool lane alone, as those ubiquitous, green and white “Clean Air” stickers are scheduled to expire this year.
Starting January 1, only persons who purchased clean air cars from 2017 to 2018 will be able to use the High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes as a party of one, which is terrible news for some 230,000 people who have been using their passes for years.
“I mean, the point of these cars are to save you money, save you gas,” said Corona commuter Jose Huezo. He bought his Prius hybrid 13 years ago, when the Department of Motor Vehicles issued yellow stickers that lasted a lot longer. Huezo says he now spends about $400 a month to take the FasTrak from Corona to Los Angeles.
The original stickers were meant to incentivize people to buy more fuel-efficient cars. With those types of vehicles now becoming the norm on California highways, legislators passed a bill to ease traffic on carpool lanes they said are too congested.
That leaves nearly 250,000 people with those stickers to ride solo in regular traffic with everyone else.
“It’s pretty sad because these cars last a long time,” said Huezo.
The DMV said it will be notifying green and white decal holders about the upcoming expiration date.
People who purchased a low-emission vehicle between 2017 and 2018 are eligible to get a replacement decal that expires in 2022.