Wednesday, August 31
Yes, Virginia, Single-Occupancy Hybrids are Defeating the Purpose of Carpool Lanes
[New York Times via Planetizen] In Virginia, where [hybrids]'ve been allowed for years in the car pool lanes, the lanes have become so clogged that an advisory committee has repeatedly recommended their banishment. The same problem will occur in California, where some of the car pool lanes were congested even without hybrids.
As traffic slows down, there will be more idling cars burning more gas and emitting more pollution, but politicians will be reluctant to offend hybrid owners by revoking their privilege.
No surprise there, as the HOV-lane privilege has made those cars all the more popular:
"Many customers are telling us the carpool lane is the main reason for buying now," said Dianne Whitmire, Carson Toyota's director of Internet sales. She charges a $2,000 premium to anxious Prius buyers unwilling to wait for supplies to increase once deliveries of the 2006 models begin in November. [Los Angeles Times via Planetizen]