There's a move afoot to provide EZ-Pass discounts to hybrid vehicles that use bridges and tunnels in the New York metro area. We're already seeing that hybrids get an exemption to use the HOV lanes on the Long Island Expressway and now the Port Authority is considering a plan to provide a discount to certain hybrid vehicles that get better than 45 mpg.
I have a number of problems with this plan, not the least of which is that there are certain conventionally powered vehicles that get far better gas mileage, and yet they're not entitled to the discount because they aren't hybrid vehicles.
The Port Authority plan would grant discounts to owners of a Toyota Prius, Honda Insight (discontinued after 2004), and the Honda Civic Hybrid.
For example, a 2002 Volkswagen Golf diesel and a 1995 Geo Metro falls just one mile per gallon short of qualifying for the mileage standards. However, under the EPA standards at the time, the Golf significantly exceeded the 45 mpg rating. The Metro does better as well.
I think providing a green discount to hybrid vehicles defeats the purpose of the tolling of the highways, bridges and tolls. The vehicle is still riding on the highway and adding to traffic and damage to the physical roadway. Just because it may provide slightly less air pollution is not a justification to provide a discount. Combine that with the fact that there are other vehicles that provide high mileage and are not hybrids that could qualify under the program, and I see little reason to support it.
Labels: automobiles, hybrids, PANY-NJ, transportation