Ohhh, this is fascinating: apparently California is allowing drivers of hybrid cars to use the carpool lanes regardless of the number of people in the car. The idea is to attract more people to hybrid cars which supposedly save fuel and have cleaner emissions. But since so many single-person hybrids are doing it, the carpool lanes are being clogged and are slowing down due to these people driving slower in order to achieve optimum mileage. And, as expected, it’s creating a certain amount of hybrid backlash.
I can understand why. The carpool lane is used primarily for people to get to work more quickly, right? Sure, it saves gas, but mostly it’s a speedier way to work than the other lanes. So why in the hell would you want to flood the carpool lanes with single-person cars just because they get better mileage? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole purpose of the carpool lane? Maybe I’m missing something.
I do know that a lot of people who drive hybrids are almost fanatical about doing everything they can to get the best mileage possible. Just do some Googling and you can find plenty of message boards, websites, newsgroups, etc. filled with excited hybrid drivers chatting about their techniques for hitting that mileage “sweet spot.” So I totally believe that, given the chance, many of them would zip into the carpool lanes and drive according to their mileage goals rather than the speed limit or the flow of traffic. (Before someone accuses me of condemning all hybrid drivers, which someone will, notice that I’m not saying all hybrid drivers are like this. Hybrids are a good thing, but keep up with the flow of traffic, people!)