Hundreds of people gathered at the Mercury News parking lot for the Prius Roadshow Fiesta on Sunday, marking the end of an era for California drivers. The event was held to remove the yellow carpool stickers that allowed hybrid car drivers to use the carpool lanes as individual drivers. The stickers, which were issued to drivers of Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, and Honda Insight hybrids, expired on July 1, 2011.
The carpool sticker program was introduced by the state six years ago to incentivize the purchase of hybrid cars and encourage drivers to switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles. However, with the expiration of the stickers, drivers can no longer enjoy the privilege of driving alone in the carpool lane.
The event featured the participation of several prominent personalities, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who arrived in his Hummer while his wife followed in her Prius. The fiesta also included booths set up by officials from the Bay Area Air District to help drivers find carpool options and showcase super clean vehicles such as Nissan Leafs, Prius plug-ins, Tesla cars, and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.
While the end of the carpool sticker program was met with some sadness, it also highlighted the popularity of the white stickers, which now allow fully electric cars and vehicles running on alternative fuels to use the carpool lane. The demand for white stickers has increased, with the state issuing over 15,000 of them. This increase in demand could be driving electric vehicle sales.
Overall, the Prius Fiesta celebrated the end of the carpool sticker program while promoting alternative transportation options and clean energy vehicles. Despite the nostalgia for carpool lane privileges, drivers like Steve Wozniak saw the end of the program as an opportunity to explore new transportation options and continue contributing to a cleaner environment.
– Mercury News archives