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DMV News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cars with Clean Special Fuel Plates Get Continued HOV Exemption
Required Number of Passengers Waived in Certain Instances

RICHMOND - The Virginia General Assembly approved an exemption for vehicles registered with clean special fuel license plates to continue to use certain High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of the number of passengers.

Image of a clean special fuel license plate.

During HOV-restricted periods, HOV-2 lanes require a minimum of two people per passenger vehicle and HOV-3 lanes require a minimum of three. However, vehicles bearing clean special fuel license plates may travel on certain HOV lanes regardless of the number of travelers in the vehicle.

Last year Virginia law further limited HOV-lane exemptions for hybrid vehicles through the creation of a new clean special fuel license plate.

The clean special fuel plate with the Earth symbol in the center is issued to qualifying vehicles registered on or after July 1, 2011. Vehicles registered with this plate are exempt from the occupancy requirements in HOV lanes except those located in the I-95/395 corridor and on I-66.

Image of a clean special fuel license plate.

The clean special fuel plate with the Earth symbol on the right was issued to qualifying vehicles registered between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2011. Vehicles registered with this plate are exempt from the occupancy requirements in HOV lanes except those located in the I-95/395 corridor.

The clean special fuel plate with the Earth symbol on the left was issued to qualifying vehicles registered before July 1, 2006. Vehicles registered with this license plate are exempt from occupancy requirements in all Virginia HOV lanes.

The annual fee for clean special fuel license plates is $25. DMV distributes $15 of each qualifying plate sale to the Virginia State Police HOV Enforcement Fund.

Image of a clean special fuel license plate.

For a vehicle to qualify for a clean special fuel license plate, it must be exclusively powered by clean special fuel. Visit www.dmvNOW.com for a list of qualifying vehicles and for information on applying for clean special fuel license plates.

In other legislation, an annual $50 license tax will be required for electric motor vehicles registered in Virginia beginning July 1. Motor vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel pay a 17.5 cents per gallon tax when fuel is purchased.

In addition to addressing clean special fuel plates and electric vehicles, the 2012 General Assembly authorized two new special license plates for purchase - Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, which will be available in the coming months.

The fees for special plates normally range from $10 to $25, and can be a one-time or annual fee. The special plate fees are paid in addition to the regular vehicle registration fees, if applicable. About 1.14 million (or 14.6 percent) of all registered vehicles in Virginia display one of more than 200 special plates available in the Commonwealth. The most popular special plates in 2011 were the Scenic (mountain to sea), Heritage (cardinal), Autumn (leaves) and Virginia Lighthouses.

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