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Ontario's New Plates Will Help

Ontario is going to introduce a new, green license plate, available exclusively for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. And the benefits of the...


Ontario is going to introduce a new, green license plate, available exclusively for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. And the benefits of the plates won't just be aesthetic:Electric vehicles with the plates will be able to travel in the province's carpool lanes until 2015 - even if only one person is in the vehicle. Owners of eligible vehicles can also use recharging stations at GO Transit and other provincially owned parking lots. Owners of those vehicles will also have access to special parking spots at University of Toronto, some Wal-Mart locations, and at other private companies.California tried something similar a few years ago, issuing "Clean Air Stickers" to 85,000 owners of hybrid cars. The stickers let people use the carpool lanes even when driving alone and, in some places, exempted the cars from having to pay parking meters. As an incentive, the stickers worked extraordinarily well. When the stickers ran out in 2007, one Roseville Toyota dealer worried sales would drop, estimating that 20 percent of Prius buyers got one strictly for the sticker. The stickers now add up to $4,000 to the price of a used hybrid.Special driving privileges like this are a powerful incentive. Using them to encourage people to buy cleaner cars isn't a transportation panacea, but it can only help.And as an added bonus, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation let the public vote on four different designs for the plates. The one pictured above is the winner.Via Gas2.0.