State to revise rules to allow electric vehicles owners continued use of Oahu HOV lanes

This article was written by Nina Wu and published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on July 6, 2020.

Hawaii transportation officials today said they intend to revise administrative rules to allow electric vehicles to continue using High Occupancy Vehicle lanes regardless of the number of people in the car.

The HOV lanes are usually open to vehicles with two or more occupants and are available on various portions of the H-1 freeway, as well as Nimitz Highway and other highways, weekday mornings.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation earlier reminded EV owners with electric vehicle license plates that a number of perks, including free parking at state airports, and state and county parking lots and meters, in place since 2012 under Act 168, expired on June 30. HDOT said at the time that it supported the continued exemption of EVs from HOV lane restrictions.

In the meantime, the HDOT said it sent a letter to the Honolulu Police Department asking officers not to ticket EVs with license plates for illegal use of the HOV lanes during restricted hours.

Under a Hawaii statute, HDOT may authorize the use of HOV lanes to certain vehicles under its own administrative rules. There is no precise date for when that revision will take place yet.