Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decals - High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Usage
Note: Beginning January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 544 creates a new decal program to allow certain low emission vehicles to access high-occupancy vehicle lanes, regardless of vehicle occupancy level, for a four-year term. Access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes for vehicles with green and white decals will expire January 1, 2019. Vehicles issued a green or white decal in 2017 or 2018 will be eligible to reapply for a decal in 2019 granting them access to high–occupancy toll lanes until January 1, 2022.
A vehicle that meets specified emissions standards may be issued CAV decals that allow the vehicle to be operated by a single occupant in highway lanes designated for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV). See California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§5205.5 and 21655.9.
The fee for a clean air vehicle decal is $22.
Effective January 1, 2018, the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot issue a CAV decal to an applicant who has received a consumer rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), nor can an applicant participate in both the CAV Decal Program and the CVRP unless income restrictions are met. (See Question #6 in the FAQs.)
For additional information, visit the California Air Resources Board's (ARB) website at www.arb.ca.gov.
To ensure your CAV decal application is complete, please refer to question #4 in the FAQs before submitting your application.
Red CAV Decals
Beginning in March 2018, the department will begin issuing a new single-color red decal for qualifying vehicles pursuant to CVC §§5205.5 and 21655.9. The new red decal will be valid until January 1, 2019, and will be issued to vehicles that meet California's super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV) standard for exhaust emissions and the federal inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) evaporative emission standard, as well as vehicles that meet the state’s enhanced advanced technology partial zero-emission (enhanced AT PZEV) vehicles or transitional zero emission vehicle (TZEV) standard. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles may also qualify. Visit the California Air Resources Board's (ARB) website at www.arb.ca.gov for additional information on vehicle eligibility.
White CAV Decals
White CAV decals are issued according to the following criteria:
- A vehicle that meets California's super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV) standard for exhaust emissions and the federal inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) evaporative emission standard. This includes certain zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Vehicles that meet these requirements are certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell). Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles also qualify for white CAV decals.
- A 2004 model-year or older vehicle that meets the California ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standard for exhaust emissions and the federal ILEV standard.
Green CAV Decals
Green CAV decals are issued to vehicles that meet California’s Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions (Enhanced AT PZEV) or Transitional Zero-Emission (TZEV) standards for exhaust emissions. Vehicles that meet these requirements are usually plug-in Hybrids.
Yellow CAV Decals (Program ended 7/1/11)
The Hybrid CAV decal program ended on July 1, 2011. Owners of hybrid CAV displaying yellow CAV decals are no longer allowed to operate their vehicle in a HOV lane unless the minimum passenger requirements are met. After July 1, 2011, use of an HOV lane, without the minimum required passengers, may subject the driver to citation. These vehicles do not qualify for any other type of decals.
All CAV decals
State law extends the use of CAV decals for SULEV, ILEV, and certain ULEV vehicles (white) and enhanced AT PZEV or TZEV (green) through January 1, 2019. All CAV decals must also be reauthorized for use by the Federal Highway Administration. If reauthorization is not granted, the Clean Air Vehicle decal program may end sooner than state law currently allows.
- Carpool lane use may be restricted at any time by the California Department of Transportation and federal law for all CAVs carrying fewer occupants than the posted minimum requirement, if their presence contributes to increased traffic congestion, increased travel times, decreased sustained travel speeds, or other factors affecting any carpool lane or segment of that lane.
- CAVs that meet the posted minimum occupancy requirements for carpool lanes are not subject to the above restrictions.
- All CAV decals remain with the vehicle they were originally issued to and cannot be transferred to any other vehicle. If you purchase a vehicle that has CAV decals, you may transfer the decal to your name. Refer to the following frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Frequently Asked Questions
Note: The following does not apply to CAV decals purchased in advance by new vehicle dealers.
How to Apply for Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decals
1. Q: How do I determine if my vehicle is eligible for a CAV decal?
A: Visit the California Air Resources Board (ARB) website or call ARB's toll free number at 1-800-242-4450 to determine you vehicle's eligibility.
2. Q: I don't know the exhaust standard type (e.g., ZEV, AT PZEV, etc.) of the vehicle I have and/or the motive power. Where can I find this information?
A: Visit the ARB website or call 1-800-242-4450.
3. Q: What is an original CAV decal application?
A: An original CAV decal application applies to a vehicle that has never been issued CAV decals.
A: To apply for original CAV decals:
- Ensure your vehicle is on the ARB eligibility list by checking the ARB website or calling 1-800-242-4450.
- Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal REG 1000 (PDF).
- Complete the vehicle information at the top of the application.
- Complete Section 1 with the Current Registered Owner’s Name and Address.
- The vehicle must be registered in the applicant’s name. If this is a recently acquired vehicle, the transfer of ownership (from dealership or private party) must be completed before the application can be submitted. You will receive a registration card from DMV once the transfer of ownership is complete.
- The address on the application must match the address on the vehicle registration card. If your address needs to be updated, you may complete a Change of Address online at www.dmv.ca.gov before submitting your application or submit a Change of Address (DMV 14) with your application. NOTE: This also applies if you are adding a new or separate mailing address currently not on file with DMV.
- Complete Section 2 by checking “Original Decals”, if the vehicle has never been issued a clean air decal, and check the correct boxes for your vehicles exhaust standard and motive power.
- If you are unsure of your vehicles’ exhaust standard or motive power, visit the ARB website or call 1-800-242-4450
- Complete Section 3 by reading all important information, printing your name, telephone number and sign the application.
- An original signature is required.
- The signature for a company or business must include the printed name of the company/business and an authorized representative’s countersignature on the signature line (e.g., ABC CO. by JOHN SMITH or JOHN SMITH for ABC CO.)
- Submit the completed application and $22 decal fee to the address shown on the form.
5. Q: I acquired a vehicle with CAV decals and transferred it into my name. Do I also have to transfer the CAV decal ownership into my name?
A: Yes. If you purchase a vehicle with existing decals, you must transfer the decals to your name using the Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) form, check the "Transfer to new owner" box Section 2. There is no cost provided that all required CAV decals are present on the vehicle. You will be issued a new CAV decal ID card with your name once your CAV decal transfer application is processed.
A: For a vehicle purchased on or after January 1, 2018, an applicant cannot participate in both the Clean Air Vehicle Decal Program and the CVRP unless the income restriction for tax return falls below: $150,000 for a single person, $204,000 for a head of household, and $300,000 for a joint tax return.
7. Q: What do I do if my new vehicle was issued CADs through the dealership prior to purchase, my income level is above the income levels (as specified in question #6) to participate in both the CAD and rebate programs, and I choose the rebate over the CADs already issued?
A: Do not place the CADs on your vehicle. Mail the CADs with a completed Statement of Facts (REG 256) form explaining why they are being returned to:
DMV - Special Processing Unit, M/S D238
P.O. Box 932345, Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
8. Q: Can I apply for the CAV decal when the vehicle is registered in my relative's or friend's name?
A: No. The name(s) on the decal application must match the name(s) of the registered owner(s). EXAMPLE: A son or daughter may not apply for decals for a vehicle registered in their parent's name.
9. Q: Can I submit the CAV decal application before the dealer and DMV complete the ownership application?
A: No. The vehicle must be in your name on DMV records before CAV decals can be issued. If you just purchased the vehicle from a dealership, you must wait until transfer of ownership is completed by DMV. If the CAV decal application is submitted prior to completion of transfer of ownership, the application will be returned to you unprocessed and must be resubmitted once the vehicle is in your name.
10. Q: How do I know when the vehicle is in my name?
A: You will receive a registration card from DMV once the transfer of ownership is completed.
11. Q: Does my current address have to be on DMV records first before applying?
A: Yes. If you recently moved and the address on your CAV decal application does not match DMV records, you must attach a Change of Address (DMV 14) (PDF) form with your CAV decal application or complete an online Change of Address before submitting your application.
Conversions of Fuel Type or Motive Power
12. Q: I want to convert my gasoline powered vehicle to a qualifying fuel type so I can qualify for CAV decals. What are the requirements?
A: Contact ARB prior to conversion to determine if converting your vehicle is possible and follows current law. For more information visit the ARB website or call 1-800-242-4450.You must obtain a certification from ARB if your vehicle's motive power was changed as a result of an aftermarket conversion (e.g., gasoline to electric). A copy of the ARB certification letter must be attached to the CAV decal application
Receiving CAV Decals
13. Q: Can local DMV offices issue decals or decal ID cards?
A: No. Local DMV offices do not issue CAV decals nor can they print decal ID cards. All CAV decal applications must be mailed to the address shown on the REG 1000 (PDF) form.
14. Q: How soon will I receive the CAV decals?
A: Applications are processed in the order they are received and usually within 30 business days.
15. Q: Must I wait to drive as a sole occupant in the HOV lanes until the CAV decals are received and affixed to my vehicle?
A: Yes. Do not drive as a sole occupant in the HOV lanes until you receive the CAV decals and affix them to your vehicle.
Replacement CAV Decals
A: To apply for replacement CAV decals or ID card:
- Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) PDF form.
- Check the "Replacement Decals" box and the box for the appropriate reason for replacement or check the "Replacement ID Card Only" box in Section 2 of the REG 1000.
- Check the Replacement box in Section 2, check the appropriate box for the reason a replacement is being requested and provide the previous decal number:
- Stolen – If the CAV decals were stolen off the vehicle, you can find the decal number on the CAD Certificate and/or the new Registration card that was sent with the decal for the decal number.
- Lost or Damaged – If the decals were lost or damaged (this includes if the vehicles was repainted with the decals still on the vehicle), please refer to the CAD Certificate and/or the new registration card that was sent with the decal for the decal number.
- Not Received – You are not expected to know the decal number if the decals were not received from the department or the previous vehicle owner. Replacement CAV decals will not be issued within 30 days of the most recent decal issuance, to allow sufficient time for mailing.
17. Q: I only need one replacement CAV decal; will DMV just send one replacement CAV decal with the same number?
A: No. The new set of CAV decals must be placed on your vehicle following decal placement instructions. It may be necessary to remove all remaining CAV decals.
18. Q: Do I have to surrender the remaining CAV decals?
19. Q: Does DMV cancel the original CAV decal number when replacements are issued?
A: Yes. The previously issued CAV decal number is cancelled and no longer valid.
20. Q: What should I do if the original CAV decal was received or found after it was replaced and cancelled?
A: All sets of the previously issued CAV decals must be surrendered with a letter of explanation (e.g., you requested a new set of CAV decals, received them, and the missing original CAV decals were found later) to DMV (see the REG 1000 form for the address) if they were received or found after being replaced and cancelled. The newest set of decals you were issued are valid. To avoid a citation, verify the CAV decal number with the CAV decal ID card to ensure it matches the actual CAV decal number on the vehicle.
Vehicle Does Not Qualify
21. Q: My vehicle does not qualify for CAV decals, does DMV approve "hardship" requests?
A: No. The DMV is not authorized to approve "hardship" requests. They can only issue CAV decals to eligible vehicles as determined by the ARB.
22. Q: My vehicle was eligible and issued clean air decals prior to January 1, 2017; can I apply for new decals after January 1, 2019, when my white or green decal expires?
A: No. Under the new CAV program, vehicles that were issued CAV decals prior to January 1, 2017, are no longer eligible to receive new decals after January 1, 2019, (California Vehicle Code 5205.5).
CAV Decal Placement
23. Q: Where do I place the CAV decals on the vehicle?
A: CAV decal placement:
Carefully peel CAV decals from the backing material and apply as follows:
- Large Decals-
- Place on the rear quarter panels, one on each side of the vehicle, behind the wheel wells, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
- Place on the rear quarter panels, one on each side of the vehicle, behind the wheel wells, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
- Small Decals-
- For white decals, place on the right side of the rear bumper only, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
- For green and red decals, place on the right side of each bumper, front and rear, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
Do not attempt to remove or reposition CAV decals after application. Doing so will result in the destruction of the decals.
After Receiving CAV Decals
24. Q: My name is misspelled on my CAV decal ID card. Do I need to notify DMV to obtain an updated CAV decal ID card?
A: Yes. You have to notify DMV if the information on the CAV decal ID card needs to be corrected by completing a REG 1000 form and check the “Information correction/update” box in Section 2. There is no fee required for corrections or updates and you will receive a new CAV decal ID card within 30 business days.
25. Q: I have a new address or a new license plate number. Does changing the information on my vehicle registration also update information for my CAV decal record?
A: No. The process of changing the address for your decal record is a separate process. You need to complete a REG 1000 form and check the “Information correction/update” box in Section 2. There is not fee required for corrections or updates. You will receive a new CAV ID card within 30 business days.
26. Q: If I am stopped by law enforcement, what documentation do I need to show the officer for my CAV decals?
A: You must present your current registration card and your CAV decal ID card.
27. Q: Can I affix the CAV decals to another vehicle?
A: No. All CAV decals remain with the vehicle they were originally issued to and cannot be transferred to any other vehicle.