Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to get you in the carpool lane

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Anyone who has been stuck in traffic when a single driver in a Prius Plug-in whipped past in the carpool lane has thought, “Where do I sign up for that?”

Green clean air stickers remain available for drivers of plug-in hybrids and will allow them use of the HOV lanes until January 1, 2019. The program originally allowed the first 40,000 applicants to receive green stickers. It has since been expanded to the first 55,000, but with 53,000 already issued (at the time of this article), green stickers will only remain available to drivers for a limited amount of time.

What will remain are the white stickers available to an unlimited number of certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas vehicles. Drivers with white stickers will be able to take advantage of the carpool lane through January 1, 2019.

The discontinued yellow sticker program allowed hybrid vehicles to utilize the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.  As of July 1, 2011, carpool lanes are off-limits to vehicles displaying yellow clean air stickers. (For a comparison of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, see Should you consider a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle?)


  Qualifying Vehicles Number Available Valid through
  100% Battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and compressed natural gas vehicles   Unlimited January 1, 2019
  Plug-in hybrids   55,000 total (approximately 2,000 remaining) January 1, 2019
Hybrids No longer available No longer valid (as of July 1,2011)


We've compiled a list of our top-selling vehicles that qualify for the two remaining stickers below:


Top-Selling Plug-In Hybrids (qualify for green clean air sticker)


5. Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid

Why we love it: Honda's plug-in hybrid version of the popular Accord has a gas-only fuel economy of 47 mpg city/46 highway which rises to 115 when combined with electricity use. LaneWatch blind spot monitoring comes standard, as does a reaerview camera and touch-screen audio system.


4. Ford C-MAX Energi

Why we love it: The hatchback C-MAX Energi has a gas-only fuel economy of 40 mpg city/36 highway and increases to 88 when combined with electricity use. SmartGauge with EcoGuide comes standard to coach drivers to even greater efficiency. 


3. Ford Fusion Energi

Why we love it: The Fusion Energi offers identical mileage to its cousin, the C-MAX Energi above. SYNC Voice-Activated Technology and a rearview camera both come standard on the Fusion sedan.


2. Toyota Prius Plug-In

Why we love it: The ubiquitious Prius gets even greater fuel economy in its Plug-In version with gas-only mileage at 51 mpg city/49 highway and 95 when combined with regular charging. (For more information on Prius configurations, see What are the most popular ways to configure the Toyota Prius?)


1. Chevrolet Volt

Why we love it: The Volt lets drivers commute on pure electricity for an everyday range of up to 38 miles and seamlessly switches to gasoline for longer trips with a gas-only mileage at 35 mpg city/40 highway and 98 when combined with electric mode.


Top-Selling 100% Electric Vehicles (qualify for white clean air sticker)


5. Toyota RAV4 EV

Why we love it: The only 100%-electric SUV on the market has a driving range of 103 miles and a maximum speed of 100 mph. Toyota's Star Safety System comes standard and provides a suite of features including Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology.


4. Ford Focus EV

Why we love it: The Focus Electric is powered by a state-of-the-art 23 kWh liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery. It has an estimated range of 76 miles per charge and a top speed of 84 mph. The interior is also environmentally friendly with seat fabric made from 100% recycled materials and bio-based foam cushions.


3. BMW i3 EV

Why we love it: The i3 comes in both an electric version that offers a range of up to 110 miles and a plug-in hybrid that has gas-only fuel economy of 41 mpg city/37 highway and 117 when combined with electricity use.


2. FIAT 500e

Why we love it: The chic 500e combines the distinctive FIAT style and performance with a range of up to 87 miles. Voice-activated TomTom Navigation comes standard and one year of Sirius XM satellite radio is included.


1. Nissan LEAF

Why we love it: The LEAF provides a range of up to 84 miles and a smooth, quiet ride. The available CARWINGS system allows drivers to find the nearest charging station and even check in on their charge from their cell phone.


Coming soon:


Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric

Why we love it: The first pure electric Mercedes-Benz gives drivers a range of up to 85 miles and a versatile 5-door design with room for five adults and folding rear seats to accommodate additional cargo. 


BMW i8

Why we love it: The i8 is a true sports car that doubles as a plug-in hybrid. In pure electric mode it has a top-speed of 75 mph and a range of up to 20 miles, but in hybrid mode its TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder combustion engine boasts 228 hp and up to 236 lb-ft of torque, accellerating from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.2 seconds.


Whether or not the next car you want is on this list, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.