HOV Law for Hybrid Vehicles Gets Extension

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, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.  However, come July 1, 2011, there is an important change on I-66.

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.

Beginning July 1, 2011, the Department of Motor Vehicles 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 which 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 Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Not all hybrids qualify for clean fuel license plates, motorists should check the DMV Web site, www.dmvnow.com for an updated list of eligible hybrids.




  1. While the original intention of the rule was good to promote hybrid or other clean fuel cars it should be based on mpg. This rule as it stands benefits many undeserving hybrids, pimarily hybrid SUVs. A Suburban hybrid or a Lexus, Ford, Toyota, etc SUV hybrid should NOT benefit from this rule because they still get poor gas mileage. My 13 year old Ford gets better mileage then many hybrids, obviously excluding Honda civic, Toyota Prius, etc. I applaud the rule but strongly believe it should be based on mpg.