A Prius Owner Happy To See The Yellow Stickers Go   Leave a comment

Those yellow stickers that have allowed hybrid owners to drive in the carpool lane in California expire at the end of this week. I for one am a hybrid owner who is not at all sad to see them go. At least my opposition to said stickers didn’t got as far as to get one and never put it on my car so that there would be one less stickered hybrid in the carpool lane. I’ve heard reports of people who did just that.

Those yellow stickers didn’t make any sense to me, and the green and white ones that are coming out for zero-emission vehicles and partial zero-emission/plug-in hybrids don’t make any sense to me either. The type of car has nothing to do with carpool lane, only the number of people in the car. Yes, hybrids and “zero” emission vehicles have fewer emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulates, carbon dioxide, and toxic constituents of auto exhaust, but reducing emissions isn’t the only purpose of the carpool lane. Encouraging carpooling reduces the number of cars on the road, which means that there’s less wear on the road, less maintenance needed, and less idling in traffic jams and spewing wasted emissions for all the drivers on the road. Giving a specific type of car that gets marginally better gas mileage permission to continue to embrace the one-person-one-car mentality does nothing to benefit society. Maybe I’d feel differently if we were talking something that gets a decent gas mileage (like 100-200 mpg), but I doubt it. Admittedly, carpool lanes are an ineffective tacked-on “solution” for the problem of cities designed for cars not people, and it would be better to go for radical urban redesigns and a change in the social mentality that makes an hour or two commute acceptable. Here’s a pie and there’s the sky. I know.

Confession: I’ve never carpooled, I’m a one-person-one-car driver. It’s one of my major eco-sins. But I have yet to find an alternative that works for me since public transit is not practical, I’ve never lived near anyone else in my office, I use my car occasionally for work or run errands during lunch, and I don’t necessarily work a standard 8 hours every day.

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Posted June 30, 2011 by mayakey in energy use, musings

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