Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decals - High Occupancy Vehicle HOV Lane Usage

See Question #6 in the Q&A Section below on how to avoid delays and keep from having your CAV Decal application from being returned unprocessed.

A vehicle that meets specified emissions standards may be issued CAV decals that allow the vehicle to be operated by a single occupant in the HOV (carpool or diamond) lanes of California’s freeways. See California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§5205.5 and 21655.9.

For more information or to find out if your vehicle qualifies, check the California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) website.

White CAV Decals

White CAV decal

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).
  • 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.
  • Certain Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicles (AT PZEV).

Green CAV Decals

Green CAV decal

Green CAV decals will be issued to the first 40,000 applicants that purchase or lease cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (Enhanced AT PZEV) or Transitional Zero-Emission Vehicle (TZEV) requirements. Vehicles qualifying for this new CAV decal will be added to ARB’s website. For more information, including ARB’s most recent count of the total number of green decals issued, visit www.arb.ca.gov.

Yellow CAV Decals (Program ended 7/1/11)

End of Yellow CAV Sticker Program

Important Information:
The Hybrid CAV decal program ended on July 1, 2011. Owners of hybrid CAV displaying yellow CAV decals are no longer able 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 a citation. These vehicles do not qualify for any other type of decals.

All CAV decals

All CAV decals must also be reauthorized for use by the Federal Highway Administration. If reauthorization is not granted, the Clean Air Vehicle sticker program may end sooner than state law currently allows.

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.

  • 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 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 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.


4. Q: My vehicle does not have CAV decals. How can I apply for CAV decals?

A: To apply for original CAV decals or transferring a vehicle with CAV decals to your name:

  • Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal REG 1000 (PDF).
  • Complete the vehicle information at the top of both pages, along with Sections A, B, C (if applicable), and F.
  • Submit the completed application and $8 decal fee (originals) to the address shown on the REG 1000 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) (PDF). 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.


6. Q: How can I avoid delays and keep from having my CAV decal application returned unprocessed?

A: To avoid delays, make sure (see Question 16 below for replacements):

  • The vehicle is on the ARB eligible vehicle list by checking ARB website or by calling 1-800-242-4450.
  • The $8 decal fee made payable to DMV is included with the original application.
  • All appropriate sections (including checkboxes) are completed in full and signed on the REG 1000 (PDF) form. NOTE: If you are unsure of your vehicle's exhaust standard/motive power, check ARB's website at www.arb.ca.gov.
  • Your current address is the same as the address on DMV records or a Change of Address (DMV 14) (PDF) form is submitted with the REG 1000 (PDF) or you completed an online Change of Address before submitting your application. NOTE: This also applies if you are adding a new or separate mailing address not currently on DMV records.
  • The vehicle is in your name and you are the applicant.
  • The vehicle ownership transaction from a recently acquired vehicle (e.g., from a dealership) has been processed and you are in possession of a DMV issued registration card in your name.
  • Page two of the REG 1000 is included, is signed with an original signature, and contains at the top of both pages (page one AND page two) the same vehicle identifying information (i.e., license plate, VIN, year, make, and model) even if you are NOT applying for replacement decals. NOTE: 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.).

Name/Application Requirements

7. Q: Are assigned license plates required before I apply for CAV decals?

A: Yes. The vehicle must have permanent license plates assigned before CAV decals can be issued.


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, otherwise your application will be returned unprocessed.


Conversions of Fuel Type

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 ARB 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

16. Q: How do I apply for replacement CAV decals or ID card?

A: To apply for replacement CAV decals or ID card:

  • Complete an Application for Clean Air Vehicle Decal (REG 1000) (PDF)
  • Check the “Replacement Decals” box and the box for the appropriate reason for replacement or check the “Replacement ID Card Only” box.
  • All damaged and remaining CAV decals currently on the vehicle must be removed from the vehicle and returned (including decals in pieces) to DMV with the decal application. In Section E, state the number of decals not surrendered to DMV, the reason why the decals are unobtainable, and that there are no remaining decals on the vehicle.
  • Stolen CAV decals will require a police report with the application.
  • Lost, Not Received, Damaged, or Destroyed CAV decals will require a completed Statement of Facts under Section E of the REG 1000 (PDF) form, giving the details for the need of replacement CAV decals. State the number of decals lost, not received, damaged, or destroyed and also state that there are no remaining decals on the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle was repainted with the decals attached, state the details in Section E of the REG 1000 (PDF) form and submit a copy of the invoice for the repaint work performed.
  • If the vehicle was involved in an accident and the front and/or rear bumper was damaged and replaced, check the appropriate box on the REG 1000 (PDF). A copy of a repair shop report showing repair to the front and/or rear of the vehicle must be submitted if all originally issued CAV decals are not surrendered to DMV. Any remaining decals must be returned to DMV. You must state in Section E the number of decals not surrendered to DMV, the reason why the decals are unobtainable, and that there are no remaining decals on the vehicle.
  • Check the “Other” box for reasons other than those listed above and provide an explanation on the Statement of Facts section of the REG 1000 (PDF) form.
  • Mail the completed REG 1000 (PDF) form and the $8 replacement fee to the address listed on the form.

NOTE: For nonreceipt of CAV decals, replacements will not be issued until 30 days from the CAV decal issue date 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. CAV decals are issued in sets of three (white decals) or four (green decals). A new set of CAV decals with a new number is issued for replacements. All remaining CAV decals on your vehicle need to be surrendered, and the new set of CAV decals needs to be placed on your vehicle.


18. Q: Do I have to surrender the remaining CAV decals?

A: Yes. All damaged and remaining CAV decal(s) must be removed from the vehicle and surrendered (including decals in pieces) to DMV with the CAV decal application (tape decals on a separate sheet(s) of paper). You must indicate on the application the total number of CAV decals surrendered to DMV. If less than three (white) or four (green) are surrendered, explain the reason in the Statement of Facts section on the REG 1000 (PDF) form.


19. Q: Can I send photos of the remaining CAV decals on the vehicle instead of surrendering them?

A: No. Photos are not accepted.


20. 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.


21. 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 (PDF) 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

22. 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.


CAV Decal Placement

23. Q: Where do I place the CAV decals on the vehicle?

A: CAV decal placement:

IMPORTANT: 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.
      CAV decal location vehicle sidepanels
  2. 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 decals, place on the right side of each bumper, front and rear, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
      CAV decal location vehicle front and rear
      WARNING:
      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 or I have a new address or a new license plate. Do I need to notify DMV to obtain an updated CAV decal ID card?

A: Yes. You have to notify DMV by completing a REG 1000 (PDF) form if the information on the CAV decal ID card needs to be corrected (e.g., misspelling, new address and/or new license plate number). There is no fee required for corrections or updates and you will receive a new CAV decal ID card within 30 business days.

Check the “Information Change/Update” box, state what is required, and indicate the reason (e.g., “I moved– Address Change Only”) in the Statement of Facts section on the form.


25. Q: Does changing my license plate number and/or address on my vehicle registration also update the 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 (PDF) form to change your address and to update the new license plate number on your CAV decal record. Refer to question 11 for change of address information.


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.


28. Q: My Enhanced AT PZEV vehicle (green decal) was a total loss salvage or nonrepairable and I bought a replacement Enhanced AT PZEV vehicle. Can I obtain CAV decals for my new vehicle?

A: Owners of qualifying Enhanced AT PZEV vehicles purchased to replace a previous Enhanced AT PZEV may obtain replacement CAV decals if the original CAV decals were issued prior to the 40,000 limit statutory limit.


29. Q: Can I still apply for replacement Enhanced AT PZEV vehicle decals once the 40,000 statutory limit for plug-in hybrids is reached?

A: Yes. An application for replacement CAV decals must be filed within six months of the original vehicle’s total loss/salvage or nonrepairable reported “wrecked” date.


30. Q: Is there a statutory limit for the number of white CAV decals (e.g., zero-emission-all electric vehicles) DMV can issue?

A: There is no limit for the issuance of white CAV decals.