Assemblymember Al MuratsuchiSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Assembly Bill (AB) 2013 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee yesterday, a promising start for a bill that seeks to increase the cap on Green HOV Stickers from 40,000 to 85,000 as the original number of stickers available to the public dwindles.

The popular program is designed to promote sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles by allowing owners with the DMV issued stickers use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), or carpool lanes, regardless of occupancy. However, with less than 3,000 stickers remaining and supplies expected to be depleted as early as May, the passage of AB 2013 will be critical to ensuring consistent incentives for alternative fuel vehicles continue to grow the market.

“AB 2013 is a win-win for California’s economy and the environment. We want to bolster this fledgling market and encourage drivers to adopt hybrid fuel technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Assemblymember Muratsuchi. “The Green HOV Sticker program has proven effective in getting alternative vehicles on the road, which in turn helps us achieve our state’s clean air goal. I am pleased the Transportation Committee recognized that we cannot afford to end an incentive program like this just as the market is starting to take off.”

California has consistently supported efforts to incentivize the purchase of low emission vehicles. In 2004 and 2006, legislation was passed that allowed hybrid vehicles to access HOV lanes using Gold HOV Stickers. The program was highly successful as hybrid vehicles reached their 85,000 sticker limit in 2007. However, access to HOV lanes for Gold Sticker vehicles expired in 2011. In 2010 a new program for plug-in hybrids was created, establishing a Green HOV Sticker with an initial cap of 40,000. In 2012, separate Assembly and Senate bills extended the sunset date for Green and White HOV Stickers to 2019. Demand for the stickers has reached approximately 2,500 a month and has consistently grown year after year.

Having garnered unanimous bipartisan approval in the Assembly Transportation Committee, AB 2013 now goes on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assemblymember Muratsuchi represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, the Los Angeles communities of Harbor City and Harbor Gateway, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance and the unincorporated communities of El Camino Village and West Carson.