HOV, Parking Incentives in CA?

The Boston Globe reported that California is considering legislation that would allow hybrid drivers into carpool lanes. In addition, Los Angeles is considering giving hybrid drivers the privilege of free parking.

This brings up an interesting decision from a legislative perspective. Should California subject its HOV lanes to increased congestion to combat air pollution and help achieve energy independence? Should the state reward hybrid owners at the expense of people who rideshare?

I propose a different solution, one that balances the goals of traffic, energy, and air quality. Instead of allowing vehicles into the HOV lane by how many passengers they carry, reward commuters based on the volume of fuel burned per passenger mile. A vehicle that gets 20 mpg carrying 3 people operates at 60 passenger miles per gallon. A vehicle that gets 55 mpg carrying only the driver operates at 55 passenger miles per gallon.

Of course, this would require technology or a permit system to monitor passenger miles, but it rewards true efficiency, not just number of passengers or vehicle type.

Posted on July 27, 2004 | 0 Comments