Hundreds of people gathered at the Mercury News parking lot for Roadshow’s Prius Party on Sunday, marking the end of an era for California drivers. The party was held to remove the yellow carpool stickers that allowed drivers of hybrid cars to use the carpool lanes as single motorists. 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 solo in the carpool lane.
The event saw the participation of several notable figures, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who drove up in his Hummer while his wife followed in their Prius. The party also featured booths set up by Bay Area air district officials to help drivers line up carpools and showcase super-clean vehicles like Nissan Leafs, Prius plug-ins, Tesla cars, and cars that run on compressed natural gas.
While the end of the carpool sticker program was met with some sadness, it also highlighted the popularity of white stickers, which now allow all-electric cars and vehicles running on alternative fuels to use the carpool lane. The rush for white stickers has increased, with the state issuing over 15,000 of them. This surge in demand may be fueling sales of electric vehicles.
Overall, the Prius Party celebrated the end of the carpool sticker program while also promoting alternative transportation options and clean energy vehicles. Despite the nostalgia for the carpool lane privileges, drivers like Steve Wozniak saw the end of the program as a chance to explore new transportation options and continue contributing to a cleaner environment.
– Mercury News archives