Parking and HOV Lanes: The Secret Perks of EV Ownership

Other benefits: Electric vehicles have low or no emissions

The benefits of owning an electric car are commendable. Electric vehicles are environmentally friendly, require less maintenance, and receive many tax deductions. But there are other benefits you may not be aware of: Owning an EV also means that you will have a more VIP experience when you slip into the parking lot.

You often park very close

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Have you ever entered some stores, businesses or hotels and noticed that there are some free EV charging stations near the entrance? These parking lots are marked exclusively for electric vehicle parking and may have an hour charge limit, but some parking lots allow night access.

Companies that include these points pay the privilege of hosting these charging stations, but they also know that they attract EV owners to stores more than other companies, so the cost is well worth it.

Charging equipment requires a lot of electricity, so it is located near the barrier-free access corridor and EV. You don’t have to charge your car all the time, but it’s a viable option if your battery is a bit low, and these locations are very close to the building, so it’s a great bonus.

Level 1-Level 2-Level 3 Price Description

Another parking benefit? According to the Kleinman Energy Policy Center, many cities offer free or discounted parking for electric vehicles at municipal garage charging stations. This advantage can save you money, as all-day parking fees in closed spaces such as municipal garages can be high.

The next time you get out of the electric car, keep an eye on the free charging station. Think of it as the eco-win of the day.

Charging an electric car away from home: everything you need to know

You can get HOV access by yourself

Highway HOV lane sign

Michael Vi / Getty Images

Driving in a HOV lane is very similar to earning a Fast Pass + at Disney World. It’s challenging and fun, and you may find it a bit better than the passengers in the non-HOV lane next to you.

HOV driveways are a great advantage for EV drivers, including those without passengers. Normally, these lanes are filled with shared vehicles, but in some states such as California, Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland, EVs can drive these lanes alone. Check the state website for more information, as each state’s HOV incentives are slightly different.

See the list of alternative fuel data centers states and counties that allow electric vehicles to enter the HOV lane or provide high occupancy (HOT) incentives for electric vehicles.

In many states, HOVs access electric vehicles through special tags or license plates, indicating that the vehicle is suitable for driving in crowded lanes. These benefits provide a strong incentive for people to buy electric vehicles, especially in densely populated areas such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Access to carpool lanes is the “single greatest incentive” to buy an electric vehicle for Californians living within 10 miles of a HOV lane, according to a UCLA study of car adoption. Electric car.

The possibility of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half is another benefit. Studies show that providing electric vehicles with access to HOV lanes could accelerate EV adoption in other regions and pose a barrier to emission reductions in the United States.

The models covered by the HOV lane program vary from state to state, so check your state’s transportation website for local requirements.

It should also be noted that the state’s HOV lane program is constantly evolving as the number of eligible vehicle registrations increases. States that pioneered HOV lane exemptions for electric vehicles, such as Arizona, California, and Virginia, reached their planned maximum HEV quota much earlier than expected due to the very successful program.

When looking for an electric vehicle, be sure to look for HOV access.

Electric vehicle qualifications, IDs, permits and other benefits

License plate of electric car

Image Source / Getty Images

After checking if your state offers HOV lane access to your electric vehicle, there is a little more to understand.

Some programs may have participant restrictions, so it makes sense to sign up early to take advantage of the benefits.


According to alternative fuel data centers, the method of identifying eligible vehicles varies from state to state. Some locations use special license plates or stickers that limit compatibility with nationally registered vehicles.

In addition, stickers and license plates are priced differently and may include an annual fee or a one-time fee. Some states, such as North Carolina and New Jersey, do not require an ID for the vehicle in question. This means that out-of-state certified EVs can also use high occupancy lanes. In contrast, in Garden State, qualified drivers are required to register a HOT transponder to receive a 10% reduction in charges.


Another thing to consider is permissions. Special permits for electric vehicles remain in the vehicle, not the driver. If you sell an EV, the license remains intact.

When buying a used electric vehicle, be sure to check with the current owner for the permit you need to stay in the car.

Other benefits for EV owners

It feels good to drive an electric car for a myriad of reasons. Access to HOV lanes is at the top of the list of people living in cities with less commuting and travel, but there are tax incentives and government incentives that can lower purchase prices, for example.

There are also lower repair and maintenance costs and fuel savings that far exceed the associated electricity bills.

The benefits of using an electric car seem almost endless. But arriving at your destination without the emissions that destroy the planet may be one of the best of all.

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Parking and HOV Lanes: The Secret Perks of EV Ownership

Fringe benefits: Electric vehicles produce little to no emissions

The benefits of EV ownership are worth celebrating: EVs are better for the environment, require less maintenance, and you get tax breaks galore.  But there are other perks you might not be aware of: Being an EV owner also means you’ll snag more of a VIP experience when you slide into a parking spot.  

You Often Get to Park Really Close 

Have you ever noticed that when you pull into certain stores, businesses, or hotels, a couple of free EV charging stations are near the entrance? These parking spots are marked for EV parking only and sometimes have a 1-hour time limit for charging although some do allow overnight access.

Businesses that include these spots do pay for the privilege of hosting these charging stations but they know it also attracts EV owners to their store over others, so the cost is worth it to them.

Because the charging equipment requires lots of electricity, they are within close reach of a barrier-free access aisle and the EV. You won’t always need to charge up your vehicle but it’s a convenient option for when your battery is a bit low, and it’s a sweet perk as these spots are super close to buildings.

Level 1 vs. Level 2 vs. Level 3 Charging Explained

Another parking perk? According to The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, many cities provide free or discounted EV parking at charging stations in municipal garages. This perk can save you quite a bit, as all-day parking fees can get pricey in covered spots such as city garages.

The next time you’re out and about in your EV, keep your eyes peeled for a free charging spot and consider it an eco-win for the day. 

Charging Your EV Away From Home: Everything You Need to Know
You Can Get HOV Access, Even if it’s Just You 
Michael Vi / Getty Images

Zipping along in the HOV lane is a bit like scoring a FastPass+ at Disney World. It’s empowering, fun, and you can feel a little bit superior over those drivers slogging along in the non-HOV lane next to you. 

HOV access lanes are a huge benefit for EV drivers, even those without passengers. Usually, those lanes are brimming with carpooling commuters and ride sharers, but EVers can drive solo in these lanes in a handful of states, including California, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, and more. Every state’s HOV incentives are a little different, so check your state websites for specifics.

Take a look at the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s list of states and provinces that let EVs in the HOV lane or offer high-occupancy toll (HOT) incentives for electric vehicles.

Many states give HOV access to EVs via a special sticker or license plate to indicate that the vehicle is eligible to drive in the high-occupancy lane. These benefits have hugely influenced folks to buy EVs, especially in densely populated areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. According to a UCLA study about EV adoption rates, access to the carpool lane is the “single biggest incentive” to buy electric vehicles for Californians living within 10 miles of an HOV lane. 

The ability to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half is another plus. Research has shown that providing HOV lane access for electric vehicles can jumpstart EV adoption in other areas and could make a dent in cutting emissions across the United States. 

Qualifying models for HOV lane programs vary by state, so be sure to check with your home state’s transportation website for the requirements in your area.

It’s also worth noting that state HOV lane programs are continually evolving as qualifying vehicle registrations have jumped in number. The states that paved the way in utilizing HOV lane exemptions for EVs—such as Arizona, California, and Virginia—discovered the programs were so successful that they reached their maximum planned HEV (hybrid electric vehicles) quota a lot earlier than anticipated.

Be sure to do your research into HOV access while you are researching EVs. 

EV Eligibility, IDs, Permits, and Other Perks 
Image Source / Getty Images

Once you’ve checked to see whether your state offers HOV lane access for your EV, there is a bit more to wrap your head around. 

Some programs may have a cap on participants, so it makes sense to apply early to get your benefits. 


According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, the ID method for eligible vehicles varies per state. Some places use special license plates or decals that limit eligibility to in-state registered vehicles.

Also, the fees for decals and license plates differ and may include yearly or one-time charges. Some states, like North Carolina and New Jersey, do not require identification for eligible vehicles, which means qualified out-of-state EVs may also use high-occupancy lanes. In the Garden State, in comparison, qualified drivers need to register their HOT transponders to receive a 10% toll discount.


Another thing to consider are permits. Special permits for EVs stay with the vehicle, not the driver. If you sell your EV, the permit remains with it.

If you buy a used EV, be sure you ask the current owner for any permits that should stay with the vehicle.

Other EV Owner Perks

You can feel good about driving an EV for countless reasons. Access to the HOV lane tops the list for those with heinous commutes or who live in cities with the worst traffic but there are tax rebates and state incentives that can drop purchase prices substantially, for instance.

There are also lower repair and maintenance costs, and fuel savings that far outweigh any associated electricity costs.

The perks of driving an EV seem almost limitless. But getting to your destination without planet-destroying emissions might be one of the best highlights of all. 

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