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Trying To Phase Out Yellow Carpool Stickers in CA

And other stories in the news

Do hybrids still deserve the yellow sticker?

If you’re a nerd like me, and you own a Toyota Prius, you may have been tempted to get one of those ugly yellow stickers to put on your car’s rear bumper. They’re the ones that let you use the HOV lanes and HOV freeway entrances even if you’re driving alone.

The state program that allowed their use is due to expire. But it’s been extended once and may be extended again. Some carmakers object to that and they’ve written a letter to a California lawmaker to explain their opposition.

Honda, Ford and some environmental groups that include Plug-In America argue the time has passed for doling out HOV privileges to hybrid vehicles. They argue that should be reserved for more advanced green technologies, such as plug-in hybrids, fully electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles.

It sounds progressive, and it probably is. Though I wonder if part of the plan is to sneak some market share away from Toyota.

I was not tempted to get a yellow sticker because I considered them an eyesore. I also can get to work without using the freeway, and I spend a lot of time driving my kids around, which gives me HOV status anyway.

Small Cars are Safer than you Think

If you’ve grown up with the idea that big heavy cars are safer on the road than little cars, you may still be right. But you don’t have to wrap yourself in a huge amount of steel to be safe, because some little cars do pretty well.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety came out with news of their new crash tests, and six of 13 small cars they tested received the Top Safety Pick Award. Those cars included the 2012 Ford Focus, the Nissan Juke, the Honda Civic as well as the latest version of the Prius.

Take a look at the IIHS’s ratings to see if your car is in there.

Car Makers Must Reveal their "Greenness"

The EPA is now requiring car makers and dealers to put a window sticker on cars they’re trying to sell that tells buyers how those cars do for gas mileage. The stickers will estimate how much a driver of the car will have to spend on fuel in a year. They will also rate the vehicle on a one-to-10 scale for smog and greenhouse emissions.

Defending California’s Train to Nowhere

Yesterday the U.S. government told California it would not change the terms of federal high-speed rail grants, of which California has been awarded $3.5 billion. Too bad, many have said, because the feds are requiring California to begin building it’s planned bullet-train line in the Central Valley. People have called it the “train to nowhere.”

But this editorial argues California’s snooty coastal critics should not insist that construction begin in L.A. or San Francisco. It argues that high-speed rail construction began in the provinces in Germany. Secondly, Bakersfield and Fresno are not exactly nowhere. Fresno’s metro area has nearly a million people.

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