In May 2008 the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) hybrid vehicle program began and allowed owners of qualified hybrid vehicles to apply for a permit to use High Occupancy Vehicle ("HOV") lanes and High Occupancy Toll ("HOT") lanes with a single occupant. Qualified and approved vehicles must display the required HOV exemption permit and transponder.
U.S. Code (23 U.S.C. 16) 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, therefore, the authorization for LEEEVs expires on Sept. 30, 2019. All LEEEVs will be required to be treated as either a single occupant vehicle (SOV) or HOV, the low emission vehicle transponders will be switched to regular transponders.
Current permit owners may keep using the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes for free after Sept. 30, 2019, until the official date of the transponder switch. Date of the switch will be announced soon.
Upon termination of this program, all current permittees are required to surrender any outstanding permits to CDOT and remove identifying stickers from their vehicles. Upon termination of this program, transponders issued to previously qualifying hybrid vehicles shall either be surrendered to CDOT or converted to revenue transponders for qualifying use of the Express Lanes. No hybrid vehicles previously qualifying for free use of the Express Lanes under these rules shall be authorized to continue use of the Express Lanes for free unless otherwise compliant with requirements for HOV lane use.