HOV Hybrid Exemption Extended in Virginia

A new law states hybrid drivers with the required clean fuel plate may continue to use the HOV lanes during rush hour

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    Hybrid owners driving through Virginia may continue using HOV lanes during rush hours until further notice, according to a new law.

    Passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, the new law leaves the hybrid exemption open-ended, rather than providing a one-year extension like in previous years.

    The law states drivers in hybrid vehicles may use HOV lanes on interstates 66, 395 and 95, and the Dulles Toll Road during rush hours if they have the required clean fuel license plate.

    Drivers should remember there are different rules for hybrid vehicles on Interstate 66 than there are on Interstate 395/95.

    On I-66, only hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates issued before July 1 of last year are permitted to use the HOV lanes during rush hours. Hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates issued after that date will be ticketed.

    On I-395/95, only hybrids with clean fuel plates issued before July 1, 2006, are permitted to use the I-395 HOV lanes during rush hours. Police will ticket any hybrid vehicle that does not have a clean fuel plate issued before that date.

    Under the new law, the Virginia Department of Transportation is required to report annually to the General Assembly if traffic conditions worsen on any of the HOV lanes.