Lane change: Not all hybrids will be able to ride solo in Va. HOV lanes

Thousands of drivers of hybrid vehicles will lose the right to use high occupancy vehicle lanes in Virginia while driving solo under a new federal law that goes into effect at the end of September.

Under the new law, only hybrid plug-in electric cars will continue to have single-driver privilege while using the HOV lanes. Other types of hybrid vehicles will need the required number of occupants to use the HOV lanes, even if they have a clean special fuel display on the license plate.

Other alternative fuel vehicles with clean special fuel plates will continue to have HOV access.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement that more than 16,000 Virginians with registered clean special fuel license plates can expect a letter in the mail notifying them of the changes.

VDOT will also be converting HOV lanes on Interstate 395 to Express Lanes starting this fall. All vehicles, excluding motorcycles and buses, will be required to have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex.

The DMV said the conversion date will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

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