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CA carpool sticker -- Best to order in November for 2021?

Braveanthony

Member
Feb 6, 2021
23
11
Los Angeles
It’s unbelievable in this time of age. Having to mail in application with a check. Taking 3 months to process. Is it laziness of dmv employees or public employees not steiving to be efficient and effective? DMV hasn’t improved since the 80s. I think things were actually faster back then.
 

Hexo09

Member
Mar 8, 2021
90
88
Bay Area, CA
Weird question, but I’m new at this: I would mostly get that sticker to be able to get the CAV Fastrak tag for the discounted toll. I guess it’s a two-parter: 1) can you use the CAV tag at any toll lane and still get the discount? 2) if you do, can I still somehow get in trouble for using the CAV tag without the sticker on? Putting a sticker on my car (way before Tesla) has never been something I would imagine doing, so it would really bother me to do it.

And I guess 3) is it worth it at this point for me to apply this year, if it’s been taking 3 months for people to get it? I’ll have to pay the fee again for 2022 anyway, right?
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,518
5,463
Weird question, but I’m new at this: I would mostly get that sticker to be able to get the CAV Fastrak tag for the discounted toll. I guess it’s a two-parter: 1) can you use the CAV tag at any toll lane and still get the discount?
Fastrak's FAQs answers pretty much all of your questions:
Clean Air Vehicles - FasTrak
How do eligible clean air vehicles use express lanes? - FasTrak
Answer to #1 is NO, you must travel through the given carpool lane (and at the designated time) to receive the discount.

"For CAVs to be eligible to receive the discounted carpool toll rate at the state-owned toll bridges, you must:
-Display valid clean air decals
-Have a FasTrak account in good standing
-Travel through a designated carpool lane"

The CAV tag was only created to facilitate the 50% discount on certain Express Lanes because: "The FasTrak CAV toll tag is the only transponder that will communicate discounted toll rates to roadside toll equipment."

2) if you do, can I still somehow get in trouble for using the CAV tag without the sticker on? Putting a sticker on my car (way before Tesla) has never been something I would imagine doing, so it would really bother me to do it.
Again, the CAV tag was designed to provide the 50% discount on certain Express lanes (given they depend on the transponder and can't depend on cameras to detect the stickers). It's not as an alternative to the carpool stickers, which the cameras at the bridges capture. Without the stickers you can be fined for a carpool violation if you don't travel with the required amount of people.

If instead you are asking just about regular carpool lanes without cameras, you are completely at the mercy of the given CHP officer, but by the book they can cite you for it, even if you have the stickers with you.
Driving In California HOV lanes without bumper decals.

I don't want that many stickers on my car either, but I guess we just have to suck it up and put them on. You can apply one of those films that make them more easy to remove in the future when they expire.

And I guess 3) is it worth it at this point for me to apply this year, if it’s been taking 3 months for people to get it? I’ll have to pay the fee again for 2022 anyway, right?
No, the sticker for the current year is valid until January 1, 2025. You will not have to pay another fee next year (or years after). If you wait for next year or any year after, it will expire on September 30, 2025, due to the fact that is when the program ends.
Current Clean Air Vehicle Decal | California Air Resources Board
 
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,518
5,463
Thanks for taking the time to respond, when I clearly could have done a more thorough Google search!
Just for completeness I should mention that according to that page, the carpool stickers do not exempt you from the minimum passenger requirement on the Golden Gate Bridge. Don't want people fined because of that, even though it doesn't make a lot of sense why they have that bridge as an exception.
 

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