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California to consider opening carpool lanes to those who buy Carbon Offsets

As a Californian who does not drive a HOV I’m curious why they would offer these stickers to people who drive Hummers and SUVs who purchase offsets and not just offer more stickers to the people who have already purchased hybrids?

SACRAMENTO – Senator Jim Battin (R- La Quinta) announced today legislation that would encourage every owner of a polluting, flashy, fuel sucking car to buy their way into an environmentally conscious “carbon neutral” lifestyle. SB 1374 would allow auto owners who purchase carbon credits that offset the carbon dioxide emissions of their vehicles to participate in the Clean Air – High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) decal program, allowing the driver to use an HOV lane. LAList

That’s right.  The State of California had a limited supply of these special decals and they are now in high demand.  I was told when I was thinking of buying a Prius that it would add up to five thousand dollars to the purchase price if the stickers were included.

So wait, buy carbon offsets and still drive your Hummer and those people who want to buy a hybrid will do without or they will have to pay a higher price for a used hybrid?  Does any of this make sense to you?


On February 28, the California State Air Resources Board (CARB) is scheduled to consider under its AB 32 implementation plan how voluntary early actions can start saving the planet. “I can’t think of a better way to become a true champion of the environment and reduce your carbon foot print than by going “carbon neutral” with your car,” stated Battin.

Battin himself decided to go “carbon neutral” immediately after he was scolded by the Contra Costa Times’ article that read, “Lawmakers’ flashy, fuel-sucking cars on road at the expense of taxpayers”.

“I was embarrassingly caught using excess energy. The only thing I could do was take action,” Battin declared.

Battin immediately purchased for $45 a DriveNeutral Certificate which simply states that his CO2 emissions have been offset for one year. The obvious next question is if he has gone “green” and is “carbon neutral” why shouldn’t he and other environmentally conscious drivers have the same rights as low-emission drivers and live the HOV lane good life? 

Now you see, they fail to mention the fact that there are many Californians who have purchased hybrids and do not even get a chance to get these stickers because they’ve run out!      

Congrats California, you have too many hybrids on the road! California has been issuing stickers to owners of hybrid vehicles so that they may drive in the HOV lane with only one person in the car as opposed to having passengers. While I am sure that most people bought their hybrids to help the environment, this was quite an added bonus here in gridlock land. But now, California has run out of the 85,000 stickers that were offered under state law. So if you just bought a hybrid, you are out of luck.

The Good Human 

Just look at my Google Search on this topic and you will see that many people are now torn about the purchase of a new hybrid or selling their used one.  But sure, go ahead and let people buy their way out of their guilt?

Sorry, I find this to be rather silly that they limited stickers to hybrid drivers but will consider this as another option, especially when people have questioned the actual usefulness of carbon offsets. 

So, what do you think?


  1. Adam Adam February 27, 2008

    Sounds dumb. When you buy a hybrid or electric car, it’s pretty likely to remain a hybrid or electric car. If you buy “carbon credits” for one year, is the CHP going to have to start monitoring whether you keep buying those credits the next year, and so on? I think they’ve got better things to do.

  2. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski February 27, 2008

    Does this mean they’ll stop making fun of Al Gore?

  3. Gus Ayer Gus Ayer February 27, 2008

    Here’s the best parody of carbon offsets that I’ve seen. For a robust laugh, take a minute and watch the video.

    Battin, of course, has no chance of passing this bill, especially when there are tens of thousands of hybrid owners waiting patiently for additional stickers to be issued. Their vehicles actually save fuel, pollute far less, and contribute far less carbon to the atmosphere.

    This is just Republican humor. When you’ve relegated yourself to permanent minority status by forcing all your moderates to march to ultra-right orders, and the Governor of your own party isolates your out-of-touch environmental positions, what’s left are press releases and bills that will never get out of committee.

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