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    Posted: 09 Feb 2005 at 5:31am
There was an article on MSNBC on 3 Feb 05, "HOV Exemptions for Hybrids? Congress Considers". It is oriented towards Calilfornia but is interested for DC residents too. The article is at:

Here is the article:

HOV exemptions for hybrids? Congress considers
Calif. lawmakers push for it as green light for state action

The Associated Press
Updated: 11:58 a.m. ET Feb. 3, 2005

WASHINGTON - If helping the environment isn’t a good enough reason to buy a hybrid car, lawmakers are contemplating a powerful appeal to drivers’ self-interest: an easier commute.

Legislation by lawmakers from California would let states make their own rules for hybrids in car pool lanes. If enacted, that would enable a California law letting hybrids in the lanes — even without passengers — to take effect.

Other states including Arizona, Connecticut and Georgia are contemplating similar measures and could move forward with them, too. Because federal transportation money helps pay for car pool lanes, the federal government sets the rules for them, and current regulations require cars in the lanes to carry one or more passengers.

“This is a bill whose time has very much come,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who co-sponsored the legislation Tuesday with Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

Focus on flexibility
Hybrid cars “are allowing us to enhance the environment, reduce air pollution in California, and yet we’re not allowed to do this,” Issa said. “This bill will allow that to happen, not just in California but for all 50 states.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California’s law in September. The Republican governor has made improving air quality a centerpiece of his environmental agenda, setting an example by commissioning General Motors to develop a hydrogen-powered Hummer for him (though there are not yet enough fueling stations for the vehicle to be practical for regular driving).

Federal law already allows states to open their car pool lanes to electric and alternative-powered vehicles, so the hydrogen Hummer could qualify. But the federal exception does not apply to hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight, which are powered by a gas engine in combination with an electric motor.

Overcrowded HOV lanes?
The hybrids are becoming increasingly popular. A 2000 Virginia law allowing them into car pool lanes sparked such huge sales that carpoolers have begun complaining of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Virginia moved forward with its measure despite the conflict with federal law, and federal officials allowed the state to continue while Congress resolved the issue.

California’s law requires hybrid drivers to get decals from the Department of Motor Vehicles to enter car pool lanes. Only 75,000 will be issued, an attempt to avoid the overcrowding Virginia has seen.

The California law, which sunsets after three years, also applies only to hybrids that get at least 45 miles per gallon, a standard that’s now met only by the Toyota and Honda versions and excludes models made by Ford and others.

Rival 10 percent bill
Ford and others in the auto industry oppose California’s law. They support more broadly written federal legislation by Missouri Republicans Sen. Jim Talent and Rep. Sam Graves that would open the door to any hybrid vehicles that get 10 percent or greater fuel efficiency than comparable non-hybrid versions.

Both the House and the Senate agreed to a provision allowing hybrids onto car pool lanes as part of a transportation bill that passed both chambers last year, but it never made it to President Bush’s desk.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is introducing a companion measure to Issa and Sherman’s House bill in the Senate.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote defender Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2005 at 9:16am
If they were REALLY SERIOUS about pollution, they would allow only hybrids WITH THREE PASSENGER (HOV-4) into the HOV. They would reduce congestion, even after years the cost of the new car would keep many drivers from entering the pool, but demanding HOV 4 would permit those no-longer-drivers to be passengers. THe lanes would move and move cleanly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dickboyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2005 at 11:56pm
Does anyone inside the Beltway or anywhere near the Beltway understand the physics and chemistry of an internal combustion engine? Or the energy budget of a car?

Or do propulsion knowledgeable people hang out only at Fairbanks-Turner and not talk to anyone?

Pollution estimates based on an arbitrary driving cycle? Especially when you know and can control the real world? No wonder we are in such bad shape when it comes to attainment based on real world measurements.

Look at the CAFE figures in the window of a new car. The city figures are always lower for city driving, even on the hybrids. The physics of car propulsion dictate better mileage at the lower speeds of city driving. But city driving is not at a uniform low speed. There are starts and stops.

It isn't so much the idling time that kills mileage and adds to pollution in the city driving cycle as it is the acceleration cycle. CAFE numbers are pencil whipped on a computer model.

The hybrid evens out some of the acceleration loses. If you wanted the same mileage on a Belchfire Eight SUV, accelerate quickly to 65 MPH, using the economical part of engine operation. Shut off the engine and coast down to 15 MPH. Repeat. But nobody drives like that except those in the regular lanes of Shirley. Except they don't shut off the engine and they aren't consistent on the coast part.

Control ALL the lanes of Shirley Highway with ramp metering or pace cars to eliminate the start stop cycles if the idea is to reduce pollution.

Is this hybrid on HOV thinking coming from the Congressional Committee that dictated that pi is 22/7 ths?

What is the important factor? Car miles per gallon? Passenger miles per gallon? Pollution per car mile? Pollution per passenger mile? Or being able to sell hybrid cars?
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