The yellow "Access OK" Clean Air Vehicle sticker your hybrid car has been sporting since 2005 is set to expire on July 1st, meaning you and 85,000 other Prius owners will no longer have breezy free rides through the carpool lane. (Yes, we're assuming everyone in the audience drives a Prius.) After June of this year, hybrid drivers caught flying solo in the diamond lane will get ticketed just like every other clunker on the road.
Anyone who can't stand the thought of paying a toll to ride in tranquil, passenger-free solitude might want to start looking in to alternative fuel vehicles: The DMV is still issuing an unlimited number of white Access OK stickers to drivers of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells or 100% electric vehicles. Those decals won't expire until 2015. If that technology still sounds scary to you, the Chronicle also reports the DMV will begin a new green sticker program in January of next year for plug-in hybrids. Like say, the not-altogether-ugly Chevy Volt, a few of which have recently been spotted around town.