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Clean Air Vehicle Decals - High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Usage

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Clean Air Vehicle Decals - High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Usage

The Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decal Program is administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in partnership with the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The program authorizes a vehicle that meets specified emissions standards to be issued a CAV decal to allow single occupancy use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes.

All CAV decals

The CAV Decal Program is subject to authorization by the Federal Highway Administration. If federal authorization is withdrawn, the program may end sooner than specified in state law.
  • 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.
  • All CAV decals are issued to the vehicle and must remain with the vehicle to which they were originally issued. CAV decals cannot be transferred to any other vehicle. If you purchase a vehicle that has CAV decals, you must transfer the decal to your name. Refer to question #7 in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.
  • CAVs that meet the posted minimum occupancy requirements for carpool lanes are not subject to the above restrictions.

CAV Decal Color and Expiration:

Decal Type
Year First Issued
Decal Expires
Description
2020 cav decal
2020
1/1/2024
These CAV decals are issued to vehicles that meet California's super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV), inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) and transitional zero emission vehicle (TZEV) evaporative emission standard for exhaust emissions.  Compressed natural gas (CNG) and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fueled vehicles may also qualify for the CAV decal program.

Visit CARB's website at www.arb.ca.gov, Carpool Stickers, for additional information on vehicle eligibility.


Image of a Purple Clean Air Vehicle Decal
2019
1/1/2023

Red Clean Air Vehicle Decal
2018
1/1/2022
Green Clean Air Vehicle Decal
2012
1/1/2019
Green CAV decals were issued to vehicles that met Enhanced AT PZEV (TZEV standards for exhaust emissions.)

Vehicles issued a green decal prior to January 1, 2017, are no longer eligible for this program after January 1, 2019. View the CAV Decal Issued Prior to January 1, 2017 by VIN list and search by vehicle identification number (VIN) to check if the vehicle has been issued a CAV decal. See Income-Based (IB) CAV decal program for possible exception. 


White Clean Air Vehicle Decal
2000
1/1/2019
White CAV Decals were issued to ZEVs, CNG, LPG, and ULEV standard for exhaust emissions and the federal ILEV standard.  Ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are no longer eligible to participate in this program after January 1, 2019. 

Vehicles issued a white decal prior to January 1, 2017, are no longer eligible for this program after January 1, 2019. View the CAV Decal Issued Prior to January 1, 2017 by VIN list and search by vehicle identification number (VIN) to check if the vehicle has been issued a CAV decal. See IB-CAV decal program for possible exception. 


Yellow Clean Air Vehicle Decal

2004
7/1/2011
These decals were issued to early models of qualifying hybrid vehicles.


Note: If you purchased a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle on or after January 1, 2018, and your gross annual income is above the thresholds provided in FAQ #10, a CAV decal cannot be issued to you if you have received a consumer rebate through CARB’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). If your gross annual income is above specified thresholds, you may have to choose between a CAV decal and a CVRP rebate. For additional information, visit CARB's website at www.arb.ca.gov.

Income-Based (IB) Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decal Program

The Income-Based (IB) Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decal program may allow a new vehicle owner of a used vehicle that was previously issued a CAV decal prior to January 1, 2017, to be issued a CAV decal, valid until January 1, 2024, if the new owner meets the following criteria:
  • The new, current registered owner is NOT the owner of the vehicle when the decals issued prior to January 2017, expired;
  • The applicant’s total annual household income is at or below $65,760 (this amount is subject to change).
    • Total Annual Household Income requires the disclosure of the annual income of all members of the household, age 17 and older, who reside together and share common living expenses regardless if they are related.
  • The new registered owner name(s) matches DMV records.
See the Income-Based Clean Air Vehicle Decal Program (REG 1000 IB) form for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The following does not apply to CAV decals purchased in advance by new vehicle dealers.

CAV Decal Eligibility and Requirements

1. How do I determine if my vehicle is eligible for a CAV decal?

Check CARB’s eligibility list at www.arb.ca.gov or call CARB's toll free number at 1-800-242-4450 to determine your vehicle's eligibility.

2. What is an original CAV decal application?

An original CAV decal application applies to a vehicle that has never been issued CAV decals.

3. I just purchased my eligible vehicle. Can I immediately apply for a CAV decal?

No. The vehicle must be registered in your name. 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.

4. Can I apply for the CAV decal when the vehicle is registered in my relative's or friend's name?

No. The name(s) on the decal application must match the name(s) of the vehicle’s registered owner(s). EXAMPLE: A son or daughter may not apply for decals for a vehicle registered in their parents' name.

5. Does my current address have to be on DMV records first before applying?

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) form with your CAV decal application or complete an online Change of Address before submitting your application.

6. Can I submit the CAV decal application before the dealer and DMV complete the ownership transfer application?

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 you receive the registration card from DMV which completes transfer of ownership by DMV. If the CAV decal application is submitted prior to completion of transfer of ownership, the application and fee will be returned to you unprocessed and must be resubmitted once the vehicle is in your name.

7. I acquired a vehicle with CAV decals and transferred the vehicle into my name. Do I also have to transfer the CAV decal ownership into my name?

Yes. If you purchase a vehicle with existing decals, you must transfer the decals to your name using the Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decals (REG 1000) form and checking the "Transfer to new owner" box in Section 2. There is no cost provided 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.

8. My vehicle does not qualify for CAV decals; does DMV approve "hardship" requests?

No. The DMV is not authorized to approve hardship requests and can only issue CAV decals to eligible vehicles as determined by CARB.

9. 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 expired?

No. Under the new CAV decal 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 Section 5205.5.)

10. Can I apply for CAV decals and for a rebate from CARB’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP)?

For a vehicle purchased on or after January 1, 2018, an applicant's participation in both the CAV Decal Program and the CVRP is based upon both the applicant's gross annual income and the vehicle type:

Gross Annual Income

Vehicle Type

Battery or Plug-in Hybrid Fuel Cell

AT or ABOVE

  • $150,000 for single filers
  • $204,000 for head-of-household
  • $300,000 for joint filers
Clean Air Vehicle Program ONLY

Clean Air Vehicle Program OR

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

(New owner has 60 days from date of purchase to choose between the two programs.)

UNDER:

  • $150,000 for single filers,
  • $204,000 for head-of-household
  • $300,000 for joint filers

Clean Air Vehicle Program AND

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

Clean Air Vehicle Program AND

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

11. What do I do if my new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle was issued CAV decals through the dealership prior to purchase, my income level is above the income levels (as specified in question #10), and I choose the rebate over the CAV decals already issued?

Do not place the CAV decals on your vehicle. Return the CAV decals to the department by mailing the decals 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

12. How can I check if an eligible vehicle was previously issued a CAV decal prior to January 1, 2017?

View the CAV Decal Issued Prior to January 1, 2017 by VIN list, available on the DMV website to check if a vehicle was previously issued a decal; you will need the vehicle identification number (VIN) and can search the list using the last five digits of the VIN. 

13. If my newly-acquired used vehicle was issued a CAV decal under the previous owner’s name before January 2017; can I apply for a CAV decal?

Effective January 1, 2020, new law established an Income-Based Clean Air Vehicle Decal Program that will allow a new owner of a used CAV to apply for, and possibly receive, a CAV decal that will be valid until January 1, 2024, if the owner meets the annual household income thresholds. 

Income-Based (IB) CAV Decal Program

14. What is the difference between the IB-CAV decal and CAV decal?

  • The IB-CAV decal is only valid from January 1, 2020, through January 1, 2024, regardless of when the decal was issued during that time frame and the same color decal will be issued.
  • A CAV decal is valid until January 1 of the 4th year after the year of issuance, regardless of when the decal was issued during the year of issuance. A different color is issued every year to reflect the different expiration dates. 

15. Why do I have to include everyone in my household for the IB CAV decal application?

Tax authorities define total annual household income as the annual income of all members of a household, age 17 and older, who reside together and share common living expenses regardless if they are related. This includes, but is not limited to, a spouse, significant other, family member(s), and/or roommate(s).

16. Who sets the income amount for the IB-CAV?

The California Department of Housing and Community Development sets the state’s median income, which is updated annually.  California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 5205.5 sets the annual household income for the IB-CAV decal at or below eighty percent (80%) the California’s median income.

17. I purchased a new vehicle that has never been issued a CAV decal. The vehicle is on the eligible list for the CAV decal and I meet the income requirements. Should I apply for the IB-CAV decal or the current year’s CAV decal?

Apply for the current year’s CAV decal. The IB-CAV decal is only valid from January 1, 2020, through January 1, 2024, regardless of when the person applied for the IB-CAV decal. The current year’s CAV decal is valid through January 1st on the fourth year after the year of issuance (see CAV DECAL COLOR AND EXPIRATION table above).

How to Apply for a CAV Decal

18. How do I apply for a CAV decal?

You must complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal, REG 1000, form, and submit the completed application with the $22 decal fee to the address printed on the form.  Do not send cash.

Incomplete applications will be returned to you with your fee, delaying the processing of your application.  Here are some guidelines to help ensure your application is complete:

  • Ensure your vehicle is on the CARB eligibility list by checking CARB’s Carpool Stickers webpage or calling 1-800-242-4450.
  • Provide all vehicle information at the top of the form.
  • In section 1, provide your (the current registered owner’s) name and address.
    • 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 before submitting your application or submit a completed Change of Address (DMV 14) form with your application.
      Note: This also applies if you are adding a new or separate mailing address currently not on file with DMV.
  • In section 2, check:
    • “Original decals”, if the vehicle has never been issued a CAV decal;
    • Check the correct box for your vehicle’s motive power.
  • In section 3, read all important information, print your name, telephone number, and sign the form:
    • 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.)

19. How do I apply for the IB-CAV decal?

To apply for the Income-Based (IB) CAV decal you must complete two forms: 

  • Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000).
  • Income-Based Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000 IB). 

Mail the completed REG 1000 and REG 1000 IB with the $22 fee to the address listed on the REG 1000 form. Do not send cash.

Incomplete applications will be returned to you with your fee, delaying the processing of your application.  Here are some guidelines to help ensure your applications are complete:

  • Ensure your vehicle is on the CARB eligibility list by checking CARB’s Carpool Stickers webpage or calling 1-800-242-4450. Do not assume because the vehicle was issued a CAV decal prior to January 2017 that the vehicle is eligible today.
  • Form #1 - Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000):

    • Complete section 2 the REG 1000 form as follows:
      • Check the “Transfer to new Owner” box.
      • Check the “Income-Based CAV Decal Program” box.
      • Check the correct box for your vehicle’s motive power.

For additional information on how to complete the REG 1000, see FAQ #18 above.

Form #2 - Income-Based Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000 IB):

Complete the REG 1000 IB form as follows:

    • In Section 1, provide the owners name and address. This information must match the REG 1000.

      • Check the appropriate address box for “Address Used For Your Most Recent Tax Filing”.

      • Provide the last four digits of your social security number (SSN) and your California (CA) driver license (DL) or identification card (ID) number.

      • Provide the Issue Date of your CA DL/ID, found in the lower right corner of your card, under “ISS”.

    • sample dl showing where to find issue date      sample provisional dl showing where to find issue date
    • In Section 2, list all members of your household, age 17 and older. List your name first as the applicant. You may attach an additional form if there are more than four (4) members in your household.

      • Total all Annual Income amounts.

    • In Section 3, provide all vehicle information. This information must match the REG 1000.

    • In Section 4, read all the important information, print your name, telephone number, and sign the application. 

      • An original signature is required.

Submit the forms and the $22 decal fee to the address shown on the REG 1000 form.

After Receiving CAV Decals

20. What will I receive with my CAV decals?

You will receive a set of four (4) CAV decals – two (2) large decals and two (2) small decals, a CAV decal Identification Card that must remain in the vehicle, a receipt for the fee paid, and an instructional insert on where to place the decals on your vehicle.

21. How soon will I receive the CAV decals?

Applications are processed in the order they are received and usually within 30 business days.

22. Must I wait to drive as a sole occupant in the HOV lanes until the CAV decals are received and affixed to my vehicle?

Yes. Do not drive as a sole occupant in the HOV lanes until you receive the CAV decals and affix them to your vehicle.

23. Can local DMV offices issue CAV decals or CAV decal ID card?

No. All CAV decal applications are processed at DMV Headquarters and must be mailed to the address shown on the REG 1000 form.

24. Where do I place the CAV decals on the vehicle?

CAV decal placement:

IMPORTANT: All four decals must be placed on the vehicle.  Compare the CAV decal number with the number shown on the CAV decal ID card before affixing the CAV decals to your vehicle. If they do not match, contact DMV at 1-800-777-0133.

Carefully peel CAV decals from the backing material and apply as follows:

1.) 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.

Image of where the decal should be place on your car.

2.) Small Decals-

    • Affix decals on the front right and left sides of the bumper (or bumper area) as shown below with the state seal on the bottom.


CAV small decal placementsample small CAV decal

WARNING:
Do not attempt to remove or reposition CAV decals after application. Doing so will result in the destruction of the decals.

25. My name is misspelled on my CAV decal ID card. Do I need to notify DMV to obtain an updated CAV decal ID card?

Yes. You have to notify DMV if the information on the CAV decal ID card needs to be corrected by completing and mailing a REG 1000 form to the address shown on the form. 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.

26. 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?

No. The process of changing the address for your decal record is a separate process and you should complete the Change of Address online or mail a completed Change of Address (DMV 14) form to the department. For your CAV decal, you should also complete a REG 1000 form and check the “Information correction/update” box in Section 2. There is no fee required for corrections or updates. You will receive a new CAV decal ID card within 30 business days.

27. If I am stopped by law enforcement, what documentation do I need to show the officer for my CAV decals?

You must present your current registration card and your CAV decal ID card.

28. Can I affix the CAV decals to another vehicle?

No. CAV decals are not transferrable and must remain with the vehicle they were initially issued to.

Replacement CAV Decal

29. How do I apply for replacement CAV decals?

Effective January 1, 2018, California law prohibits a vehicle from being issued more than one set of decals, unless the vehicle was involved in an accident in which body work affected decal placement or if the decals were lost or stolen or not received from DMV. Replacement decals will be the same color with the same expiration date that were initially issued to the vehicle.  To apply for replacement CAV decals or ID card:

  • Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) form.
    • In Section 2,
      • Check the "Replacement Decals" box and provide the decal number.
      • Check the appropriate reason box for the replacements.
  • Mail to the address shown on the application with the $22 fee using check or money order. Do not send cash.

30. Can I apply for a replacement CAV decal ID Card?

Yes. To apply for replacement CAV decal ID Card:

  • Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) form.
    • Check the "Replacement ID Card” box only in Section 2 of the REG 1000 and mail the application to the address listed on the form.
  • There is no fee and you will receive a new CAV decal ID card within 30 business days.

31. I only need one replacement CAV decal; will DMV just send one replacement CAV decal with the same number?

No. The CAV decals come in a set of four decals. The new CAV decals must be placed on your vehicle following decal placement instructions. The vehicle surface should be clean and dry before placing a replacement decal on top of an older decal.

32. What should I do if the original CAV decal was received or found after it was replaced and cancelled?

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 mailing address) if they were received or found after being replaced and cancelled. The newest set of decals you were issued are the valid decals.  To avoid a citation, verify that the CAV decal number on the CAV decal ID card matches the actual number on the decals that are on the vehicle.

Other Information

33. I want to convert my gasoline powered vehicle to a qualifying fuel type so I can qualify for CAV decals. What are the requirements?

Contact CARB prior to any conversion to determine if converting your vehicle is possible and follows current law. For more information, visit CARB’s website at www.arb.ca.gov or call 1-800-242-4450.

34. Why is there a “CNG Advisory” on the application for me to “Check Tank Expiration Date” of my CNG vehicle?

The advisory was added to the form to bring to the vehicle owner’s attention that clean vehicles’ natural gas tanks do expire and the dangers of an expired fuel tank. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center website at www.afdc.energy.gov.



 
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