Hybrid Vehicle Program Ending

U.S. Code (23 U.S.C. 166) provides guidance on HOV facilities, including eligibility for free use of Express Lanes by electric/gas hybrid vehicles referred to as low emission and energy efficient vehicles (LEEEVs). The LEEEVs exemption expires, unless the authorization is extended by Congressional action. It has not been extended this year, therefore, the authorization for LEEEVs expired on Sept. 30, 2019.

The official end date of the program in Colorado is May 31, 2020. Current permit holders may keep using the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes for free until the official date of the transponder switch on May 31, 2020.

Upon that date, transponders issued to previously qualifying hybrid vehicles will be converted to revenue transponders, which will charge the applicable toll for use of the Express Lanes. These sticker transponders do not have a free carpool option. If current permit holders choose to keep these transponders - no further action needed, the transponders will be converted automatically on May 31, 2020.

If current permit holders choose to close their ExpressToll account and use the Express Lanes without an ExpressToll pass, they will be charged the higher License Plate Toll (LPT) toll rate.

Due to the program not being extended, new applicants are no longer being accepted.

How can hybrids travel for free in the Express Lanes after May 31, 2020?

After May 31, current permit holders may use the I-25 and US 36 Express Lanes for free with a Switchable HOV Transponder and three or more people in the car. The Switchable HOV Transponder may be purchased for $18 from expresstoll.com, or if current permit holders plan to carpool only, they can order a Switchable HOV Transponder for free. The Switchable HOV Transponder is the only transponder that offers a free carpool option on the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes. For more information about Switchable HOV Transponders or to order yours, visit https://www.codot.gov/programs/expresslanes/get-a-pass or expresstoll.com.

What do I do with my hybrid decal after May 31, 2020?

There is no need to keep your hybrid decal after May 31, feel free to remove it from your vehicle. When were approved hybrids allowed access to Colorado's HOV Express Lanes with a single occupant? In May 2008 the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) hybrid vehicle program began. It allowed owners of qualified Hybrid Vehicles to apply for a permit to use HOV Express Lanes with a single occupant. Qualified and approved vehicles were required to display the HOV exemption permit and transponder.

How many permits were issued?

2,000 permits were issued. At this time, there are no plans to increase the number of permits to be issued.

Why were only 2,000 permits issued?

Federal law only allowed hybrids in HOV Express Lanes as long as travel speeds in the Express Lanes were not degraded. CDOT allowed a limited number of hybrids in order to monitor the traffic flow. At this time, there are no plans to increase the number of permits to be issued.

When will the permits expire?

May 31, 2020

What highways with HOV lanes does my permit allow me to travel on?

I-25 Express Lanes, US 36, Santa Fe Drive and State Highway 82

Hybrids are not allowed to travel for free on E-470 or the Northwest Parkway.

Does my hybrid vehicle allow for free travel on E-470 or the Northwest Parkway?

Even with an ExpressToll transponder, hybrids must still pay tolls if traveling on E-470 or the Northwest Parkway because they are not tax-funded highways.

Can I still keep my permit if I sell my hybrid?

Hybrid permits are non-transferable. Permit decals may not be sold, assigned, used or moved to a vehicle other than the original hybrid vehicle to which the sticker was assigned. Upon transfer of title of the original hybrid vehicle to another owner or expiration of the permit, the decal must be removed from the vehicle and returned to CDOT.

Why are transponders required?

Transponders allow the hybrid vehicle’s toll transaction to be “billed” at a $0.00 toll rate. Without a special hybrid transponder, the toll will be billed at the applicable toll rate. CDOT also uses the transponders for data collection purposes to monitor traffic flow and capacity in the Express Lanes.