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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

HOV-Lane Exemption Extended for Vehicles with Clean Fuel Plates
Restrictions Continue for 1-95/395

RICHMOND - Beginning July 1, 2008, vehicles with clean special fuel license plates may continue to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of the number of passengers. The Virginia General Assembly approved a one-year extension on the HOV-lane exemption until June 30, 2009.

Vehicles displaying clean fuel license plates with a white background, registered before July 1, 2006, may travel on any open HOV lane at any time. However, vehicles displaying clean fuel plates with a blue background (registered on or after July 1, 2006) are not permitted to drive on the I-95/395 HOV lanes in Northern Virginia without the required number of passengers. These vehicles are allowed to utilize all other HOV lanes in Virginia during HOV hours, regardless of the number of passengers, including I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road.

During HOV-restricted periods, HOV-2 lanes require a minimum of two people per passenger vehicle and HOV-3 lanes must have a minimum of three. During all other times, HOV lanes are open to all passenger vehicles, except when the reversible lanes are closed.

In order for a vehicle to qualify for a clean fuel license plate, it must be exclusively powered by clean special fuel. Compressed natural gas, electricity, ethane, hybrid gasoline/electric, hydrogen, hythane, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, methane, solar or a combination of two of these fuels may qualify a vehicle for clean special fuel plates. Not all hybrids are eligible for the plates. Flexible fuel vehicle engines that do not utilize only a clean special fuel do not qualify.

The annual fee for clean special fuel license plates is $25, and $15 of the fee goes to the Virginia State Police HOV-enforcement fund. Visit for a list of qualifying vehicles and for information on applying for clean special fuel license plates.

Several other transportation-related laws were passed by the Virginia General Assembly during the last session. Manufactured or mobile homes will be considered real estate starting July 1 when equipment previously used for mobility is removed. The title issued for the manufactured unit may be returned to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for cancellation.

Also, registration fees may be less for vehicles containing equipment for customers with disabilities. Beginning July 1, the registration fee will be based on the weight of the vehicle minus the weight of any special equipment.

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