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Name:Michael Patrick
Location:San Jose, California, United States

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Friday, March 4


HOV-Lane Hybrids: Forgetting Virginia, Forgetting Fuel Efficiency

Not to be adversarial, but I wonder whether, deep down, Representatives Brad Sherman and Darrell Issa would rather see HOV lanes converted to mixed flow. That is what more or less will happen once hybrids enter. Despite the poor performance of Virginia's HOV lanes after hybrids were allowed to use them:

They've introduced legislation that would permit a wider range of high-efficiency cars and trucks, including hybrid sport-utility vehicles, to get the single-occupant pass onto HOV lanes. [Sacramento Bee article.]

Wider range meaning less efficient:

Sherman and Issa have powerful lobbying friends behind them. The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers will be pressing to scuttle the 45-miles-per-gallon threshold.

"Our position is that this should be opened to a range of advanced technology vehicles," said alliance spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist. "The government should not be picking winners and losers."

What's the point of promoting "advanced technology" if it doesn't perform? I thought the purpose of such legislation was to pick the "winner" that is fuel-efficient hybrid technology.

Postscript: In fairness, Brad Sherman advocates not giving hybrids the HOV-lane privilege on already crowded carpool lanes. However, will the other HOV facilities not become just as crowded if the legislation passes?