WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Considering Buying A Hybrid To Use HOV? Do It Before July 1

Play associated audio
New hybrids registered in Northern Virginia after July 1 won't have access to the HOV lanes on I-66 during rush hour.
New hybrids registered in Northern Virginia after July 1 won't have access to the HOV lanes on I-66 during rush hour.

As of July 1, newly registered hybrid vehicles will no longer have access to the HOV lanes on I-66. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing a different license plate to hybrid vehicles; only hybrids with the old plates will be permitted in the HOV lanes on I-66.

So if you've been considering taking the plunge with a Prius or other hybrid, get on it. It can take a couple of weeks to actually get the special license plates for hybrids, and if you don't have them by July 1, you'll be out of luck.

"If you're thinking of getting a hybrid, you definitely want to get it well before July 1, because it takes awhile to get those clean fuel plates," says VDOT spokesperson Joan Morris.

The change is similar to one the Assembly implemented earlier for the area's other designated carpool lanes. Hybrids used to be allowed on the I-95 and I-395 HOV lanes during rush hour, but the law changed in 2006 to limit the number of vehicles accessing the lanes.

The change is meant to combat the increasingly crowded HOV lanes, Morris says. The number of hybrid vehicles registered in Northern Virginia has increased exponentially in recent years. DMV stats show that in 2003, there were 2,500 hybrids registered. At the end of 2009, there were almost 19,000.

"The lanes are first and foremost for carpools," Morris says.

On I-66, hybrids account for about 17 percent of HOV rush hour traffic inside the beltway, and about 22 percent of that traffic outside the beltway, Morris says.


High Glamour Infuses A Forbidden Love Affair In 'Carol'

Todd Haynes' new film chronicles a lesbian affair between a middle-aged married woman and a young store clerk. Critic David Edelstein says Carol captures the thrill of a once-forbidden subculture.

Some Ancient Farmers Grew Fava Beans Before They Grew Grains

The fava bean is a key staple in much of the world. Researchers say they've found fava beans in the Galilee region of Israel dating over 10,000 years ago — before grains had been domesticated there.

Caught Between A Turkey Leg And A Political Diatribe? We're Here To Help

Nobody wants a side of politics on his or her Thanksgiving table, but it's probably going to happen. Here's some advice to get you through — you may need to buy a duck quacker, though.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.