High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption
States are allowed to exempt certified alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) from HOV lane requirements within the state. Eligible AFVs are defined as vehicles operating solely on methanol, denatured ethanol, or other alcohols; a mixture containing at least 85% methanol, denatured ethanol, or other alcohols; natural gas, propane, hydrogen, or coal derived liquid fuels; or fuels derived from biological materials. EVs are defined as vehicles that are recharged from an external source of electricity and have a battery capacity of at least 4 kilowatt-hours. States are also allowed to establish programs allowing low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles to pay a toll to access HOV lanes.
Vehicles must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and appropriately labeled for use in HOV lanes. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for planning and implementing HOV programs, including the low-emission and energy-efficient vehicle criteria EPA established. States that choose to adopt these requirements will be responsible for enforcement and vehicle labeling. The HOV exemption for AFVs and EVs expires September 30, 2025 and low-emission and energy-efficient vehicle toll-access to HOV lanes expires September 30, 2019.
(Reference Public Law 114-94 and 23 U.S. Code 166)