California’s Clean Air Decals
The California legislature adopted programs to allow single occupancy use of select advanced clean cars in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes to promote the purchase and lease of the cleanest models. This type of incentive for early purchases of the cleanest vehicles helps motivate consumers to select these new technologies that build demand and, over time, bring down costs.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers this program in partnership with the California Air Resources Board, with DMV issuing Clean Air Decals to owners of eligible vehicles. Below is information about the Clean Air Decal program currently being administered.
White Clean Air Decals are available to an unlimited number of qualifying zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) such as battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as the cleanest dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The expiration date for the white decals is January 1, 2019.
Green Clean Air Decals are available to cars certified in California as transitional zero-emission vehicles (TZEV). These are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that meet the most stringent emission standards. The expiration date for the green decals is January 1, 2019.
New Decals (beginning January 1, 2019)
Assembly Bill 544, signed into law in October 2017, puts into place a new program (to begin January 1, 2019) that continues to allow eligible single-occupant vehicles into carpool lanes. Below are frequently asked questions about the new decal program. More details will be provided as the program is more fully developed.
Which cars are eligible for the new decal?
The vehicle eligibility requirements for the new decal mirror those used for the current white and green decal programs.
What if I obtained a white or green Clean Air Decal for my car in 2017 or 2018?
These decals are valid through the end of 2018. You will be able to apply for the new decal program. Eligibility and application details will be available at a later date.
When does the new decal expire?
For decals reissued to applicants with original stickers received in 2017 and 2018, the new decals expire on January 1, 2022. Any decal originally issued after January 1, 2019 expires three full years plus the partial year from when the decal was issued. All decals expire on September 30, 2025.
If I buy a used eligible battery-electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell car, can I apply for a Clean Air Decal? When would that decal expire?
Used cars are eligible for a Clean Air Decal providing they have never previously had one. The expiration date of the decal is based on the application date for the decal, which is three full years plus the partial year.
For Decals Issued on:
Will Be Valid until:
January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2018
January 1, 2019
January 1, 2019 or after to a vehicle that was issued a decal in 2017 or 2018
January 1, 2022
January 1, 2019 or after to a vehicle that did not previously have a decal
January 1st of the fourth year after the year of issue.
January 1, 2022 or later
All decals expire on September 30, 2025
Are there income eligibility requirements for the new decal if I’m applying for a plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicle?
No. However, starting on January 1, 2018, if a consumer’s gross annual income is above the thresholds provided below, they are only eligible for the Clean Air Decal and not a rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).
Are there income eligibility requirements for the new decal if I’m applying for a fuel cell vehicle?
Yes. Starting January 1, 2018, if a consumer’s gross annual income is above the thresholds provided below, they have to choose between getting a Clean Air Decal or a CVRP rebate.
Annual Income Requirements
Battery or Plug-in Hybrid
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP)
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) promotes clean vehicle adoption by offering rebates of up to $7,000 for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. As long as funds are available, eligible California residents can follow a simple process to apply for a CVRP rebate after purchase or lease of an eligible vehicle. The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) administers CVRP throughout the state for the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Income eligibility requirements apply to rebate applications submitted on or after March 29, 2016. Requirements vary based on vehicle purchase/lease date. Additional information about these income eligibility requirements can be found on the clean vehicle rebate website.
California and the federal government, as well as cities, counties, energy providers and private companies are also doing what they can to promote advanced clean cars. Visit DriveClean to search for all of the different incentives that may be available.