No matter where you drive in California, navigating traffic can be highly stressful, especially when it seems like rush hour is never ending.
Taking advantage of HOV or carpool lanes is a great way to bypass the traffic on freeways, but a passenger must be in the car with you, which isn’t always a feasible option for everyone.
In an attempt to ease traffic congestion and meet its climate goals, the state began producing “carpool stickers” – officially known as Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decals – which allow drivers to use the carpool lane without having another passenger in the car.
The catch is that the carpool sticks are only available for certain electric and hybrid vehicle models from car makers like Ford, Nissan, Chevy and Honda dating back to 1998.
Certain cars that run off hydrogen or compressed natural gas are also eligible for the carpool sticker.
But decals do expire, and not every high mileage vehicle qualifies, so you may be wondering how you get one in 2022.
To get a new CAV sticker, Californians would have to determine if their vehicle, or one they are considering purchasing, is eligible. Residents can call 1-800-242-4450 or check online to see if their car has already been approved to receive a carpool sticker. The online list provides eligible makes and models dating back to 1998.
Drivers must then complete a Clean Air Vehicle Decal application and send it to the appropriate address listed on top of the application. As the application website states, a $22 fee is required to apply for the application.
Drivers will usually hear back from the DMV within 30 days to see if they have been approved for a carpool sticker.
If your application is approved, drivers will receive a CAV decal and ID card stating that you can drive in a carpool lane alone. The DMV urges people to wait to receive an official response from their office before driving in the carpool lane without a passenger.
Californians could visit the California Air Resources Board or state Department of Motor Vehicle for further details on why some vehicles do and don’t meet the sticker standards.
The carpool stickers are only eligible for four years and can’t be renewed under California law. The website stated that the stickers could only be replaced if the car was involved in an accident or the decals were lost or stolen.
To request a replacement, drivers must complete another application and pay a $22 replacement fee for the decals. A new ID will be sent to you with a completed application.