Clean Air Vehicle Decals for Using Carpool and HOV Lanes

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If you drive a vehicle that meets certain emissions standards and other criteria, you may be able to get Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decals and a CAV decal identification (ID) card, which allow single occupancy use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes.

The CAV decal program is run by DMV in partnership with the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The program allows a vehicle that meets specified emissions standards to display CAV decals and to use HOV (carpool) lanes with only one occupant in the vehicle (see California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§5205.5 and 21655.9).

  • The CAV Decal Program is subject to authorization by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). If authorization is not granted, the program may end sooner than specified in state law.
  • The California Department of Transportation (DOT) or federal authorities can restrict carpool lane use at any time for 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 these restrictions.
  • All CAV decals are issued to the vehicle and must remain with that vehicle. 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.
  • If your vehicle was originally issued white or green decals prior to 2017, your vehicle is no longer eligible to participate in the CAV decal program (as of January 1, 2019). View the CAV Decal Issued Prior to January 1, 2019 by vehicle identification number (VIN) to check if a vehicle was issued a CAV decal prior to January 1, 2017. You will need the VIN to search the list.
  • If you purchased your vehicle on or after January 1, 2018, a CAV decal cannot be issued to you if you have received a consumer rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), unless you meet specified gross annual income requirements. If your gross annual income is above specified thresholds, you may have to choose between a CAV decal and a CVRP rebate.
Gross Annual IncomeBattery or Plug-In HybridFuel Cell
AT or ABOVE
– $150,000 for single filers
– $204,000 for head-of-household
– $300,000 for joint filers
Clean Air Vehicle Program ONLYClean 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

If your new vehicle was issued CAV decals through the dealership, your income level is above the requirement to participate in both the CAV and rebate programs, and you choose the rebate option, mail the CAV decals with a completed Statement of Facts (REG 256) to:

Mail to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Special Processing Unit – MS D238
PO Box 932345
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450

The IB 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 $69,680 (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.

To apply for CAV decals and a CAV decal ID card, you will need:

Applications are processed in the order they are received (usually within 30 business days). You must wait to drive in HOV lanes (as a sole occupant) until you receive your decals and ID card, and affix the decals to your vehicle.

View CAV decal and ID card fees

To apply for IB CAV decals and an IB CAV decal ID card, complete the steps above AND:

Carefully peel the decals from the backing material and affix them to your vehicle:

  • Large decals: Place one decal on each side of the vehicle, on the rear quarter panels behind the wheel wells, with the state seal pointed up.
How to affix a large CAV decal to your vehicle.
  • Small decals: Place decals on the right side of both front and rear bumpers (or bumper area) with the state seal pointed up.
Affixing a small CAV decal to the front of your vehicle.

Do not attempt to remove or reposition CAV decals after application. Doing so will destroy the decals.

Displaying CAV decals on your vehicle and possessing a CAV decal ID card authorizes you to use HOV lanes, even when you are the sole occupant of your vehicle. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you must present your current registration card and your CAV decal ID card.

California law prohibits a vehicle from being issued more than one set of decals, unless the vehicle was involved in an accident and body work affected decal placement, the decals were lost or stolen, or they were not received from DMV.

To apply for replacement CAV decals or ID card:

  • Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) form.
  • Check the “Replacement Decals” and/or “Replacement ID Card” box (as applicable), and check the appropriate reason box in Section 2.
  • Mail to the address listed on the application. There is a $22 fee for replacement decals (check or money order). There is no fee for a replacement ID card.

Replacement decals will be the same color with the same expiration date that were initially issued to the vehicle.

If you find the original CAV decals after you replace them, surrender the originals to DMV with a letter of explanation (for example, you requested a new set of CAV decals, received them, and the missing original CAV decals were found later). Send the original decals and letter to:

Mail to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Special Processing Unit – MS D238
PO Box 932345
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450

For your CAV decals and ID card to be valid, it is important that the information you have on file with the CAV Decal Program is correct and up-to-date.

Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) form and check the “Information correction/update” box in Section 2 to:

  • Correct your name on your ID card.
  • Update your address.
  • Update your license plate number.
  • Transfer CAV decal ownership to your name if you acquire a vehicle with CAV decals.

There is no fee for corrections or updates. You will receive a new CAV decal ID card within 30 business days.

Decal TypeYear First IssuedDecal ExpiresDescription
2020 Clean Air Vehicle decal.20201/1/2024These 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.
2019 Clean Air Vehicle decal.20191/1/2023These 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.
2018 Clean Air Vehicle decal.20181/1/2022These 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.
2012 Clean Air Vehicle decal.20121/1/2019Green 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 VIN
 to check if the vehicle has been issued a CAV decal. See Income-Based (IB) CAV decal program for possible exception. 
2000 Clean Air Vehicle decal.20001/1/2019White 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 VIN
 to check if the vehicle has been issued a CAV decal. See IB-CAV decal program for possible exception. 
Yellow clean air vehicle (CAV) decal.20047/1/2011These decals were issued to early models of qualifying hybrid vehicles.

If you purchased a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle on or after January 1, 2018, and your gross annual income is above the thresholds listed above in “Rules, Regulations, and Eligibility”, 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.

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 conversion to determine if converting your vehicle is possible and follows current law. For more information visit the CARB website or call 1-800-242-4450. You must obtain a certification from CARB if your vehicle’s motive power was changed as a result of an aftermarket conversion (for example, gasoline to electric). A copy of the CARB certification letter must be attached to the CAV decal application.

If my vehicle is on the CARB Eligibility List, why was my CAV decal application denied?

Your CAV decal application could have been denied for the following reasons:

  • CARB indicated that you had applied for or received a rebate from the CVRP for the vehicle and/or you do not meet the income requirements.
  • The vehicle was previously issued a CAV decal and not eligible for the new CAV decal Program.

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 United States Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) website at www.afdc.energy.gov.

Income-Based (IB) CAV Decal Program

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 fourth 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.

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

Annual household income is defined 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).

Who sets the income amount for the IB-CAV?

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

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).

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