The New York Times reports that Toyota's upcoming Prius Plug-In electric vehicle has passed the newly-toughened California green car standards. Previously, any hybrid qualified for the HOV lane, but as of July, a car must be fully electric or use alternative energy to get in the carpool lane with a single passenger.
The Toyota Prius was eligible under the previous rules, and given the history of that car in California, the Japanese automaker is predicting a big hit with the Prius Plug-In, at least in the Sunshine State.
"When those cars were eligible for California's HOV lanes, we sold out our allotment in no time," Toyota spokesman Sam Butto told the news source. "We expect that the ability to use the HOV lanes will be one of the most popular reasons people will buy the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. We may sell one in three or one in four of our plug-in hybrids in California."
The Prius Plug-In also qualifies for a nationwide tax credit of $2,500. It goes on sale in March in 14 states, with Toyota expanding to the rest of the country after that.
If you take the HOV lane often on your way to work, you definitely need to keep up with your maintenance. Having a reliable car to get to your job is one thing, but breaking down in the HOV lane and backing up traffic for miles is quite another. Taking your car in to a certified mechanic for regular tune-ups and oil changes can go a long way toward preventing this nightmare scenario.