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High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Access

Tired of sitting in traffic on your commute? Reduce your travel time with HOV access

Move into carpool lanes by driving electric!

A coveted benefit of electric vehicle (EV) driving is single-driver access to most HOV lanes throughout California.

The Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) program is for drivers of qualifying vehicles that meet specified emissions standards set by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in partnership with the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Currently, the fee for a CAV decal is $22.

HOV Sticker Color Overview

Orange HOV Sticker

In January 2020, the DMV began issuing a new orange decal for qualifying vehicles. This decal will be valid until Jan. 1, 2024.

Purple HOV Sticker

In January 2019, the DMV began issuing a new purple decal to replace the white and green decals for qualifying vehicles. This decal will be valid until Jan. 1, 2023.

Red HOV Sticker

In March 2018, the DMV began issuing a new red decal to replace the white and green decals for qualifying vehicles. This decal will be valid until Jan. 1, 2022.

White and green decals are no longer valid. Certain owners issued white or green decals after Jan. 1, 2017, are eligible to renew for a red decal.

In the future, the DMV will issue different color decals each year that will be valid for a maximum of five years. All decals expire on January 1, four years after the first year they were issued.

Income-Based CAV Decal Program

The Income-Based Clean Air Vehicle decal program may allow a new vehicle owner of a used vehicle that was previously issued a CAV decal prior to January 1, 2017, to be issued a CAV decal, valid until January 1, 2024, if the new owner meets the following criteria:

  • The new, current registered owner is NOT the owner of the vehicle when the decals issued prior to January 2017, expired;
  • The applicant’s total annual household income is at or below $65,760 (this amount is subject to change)
    • Total Annual Household Income requires the disclosure of the annual income of all members of the household, age 17 and older, who reside together and share common living expenses regardless if they are related
  • The new registered owner name(s) matches DMV records

CAV Decal Restrictions for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Since the CAV program’s inception, eligibility requirements have varied for those who also receive funds from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). Currently, participation in both the CAV and CVRP is based on the applicant’s gross annual income and the vehicle type.

Vehicle type At or above income cap* Under income cap*
Plug-in hybrid CAV decal only CAV decal & CVRP rebate
Battery electric CAV decal only CAV decal & CVRP rebate
Fuel cell electric CAV decal or CVRP rebate CAV decal & CVRP rebate

*Income caps based on tax status

Obtaining Your HOV Lane Decal

  • Visit the CARB website for a list of eligible vehicles
  • When purchasing or leasing your vehicle, ask if it will come with an HOV decal
  • If not, complete the DMV application and mail to
      Department of Motor Vehicles
      Special Processing Unit – MS D238
      P.O. Box 932345, Sacramento, CA 94232
  • Include a check for $22 made payable to the Department of Motor Vehicles

For more information about the CAV program, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/decal.