My wife drives a C-Max Energi with the Green HOV decals. I drive a Fiat 500E with the White HOV carpool sticker. They both are entitled to be in HOV diamond carpool lanes but there is one big difference. Her car, along with the Plugin Prius, Chevy Volt, and Fusion Energi are not allowed to drive on the Bay Bridge with the discounted toll of $2.50. They're suppose to pay $6 during commute time yet I see Plugin Priuses drive through the carpool toll everyday.
There is clearly confusion and no one knows. So if you are coming from Google or a search result with the phrase "Green HOV Bridge Toll", hopefully this page will set the record straight. Sorry Plugin Prius, you won't like what you will read.
People were confused because the old Caltrans 511 web page made references to white and yellow stickers. Since the yellow stickers expired, people thought that page was out-dated and assumed green stickers had the same privileges as white. This not a Green vs White HOV sticker debate, this is just the facts. Green HOV decals for plugin hybrids are not allowed to get discount toll as you will read on this page.
The California Clean Air Resource Board is the authority on this. On their FAQ, page:
White stickers are defined as ILEV cars. Meaning, PURE Electric cars meet the Federal Inherently Low Emission standards. A Volt and Plugin Prius are TZEV, Transitional zero emissions. That is the key difference and those initials and definitions are very important in the eyes of the law.
So now, you must read the actual toll pages of the various bridges and you will see, it explicity states those benefits only apply to ILEV cars.AKA White Sticker cars like my Fiat 500E, Tesla Model S, RAV4EV or Nissan Leaf.
The Golden Gate Bridge goes as far as actually stating the decal color and who gets what.
All those pages have this which I highlighted.
So there you have it. All these bridges are operated by the Bay Area Toll Authority.
On their website, http://bata.mtc.ca.gov/tolls/schedule.htm
- The Bay Area Toll Authority grants reduced rate passage on the above bridges to inherently-low-emission vehicles with DMV-issued decals, such as electric cars, that use FasTrak® to pay the toll.
- The reduced rate is the same as the reduced rate for high-occupancy vehicles and applies only during the hours when the reduced rate applies to high-occupancy vehicles.
So you can see, it is very clear what the rules are. ILEV cars like the Leaf and Fiat 500E get the discount. TZEV classified cars such as the Plugin Prius (PIP) are violating toll fare and those owners may not know it.