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To us, the most compelling reason to buy a Prius is the ability to use it in California's carpool lanes without having to carry the requisite passenger or two. Apparently, nearly 75,000 other folks think so, too, as the state of California has announced that no more of the HOV-free-ride passes will be handed out to owners of Insights, Prii and Civic Hybrids. In a year (the program started last August 10th), 74,108 have been issued. The legislature may consider another carpool-lane bonanza for hybrid drivers if the Department of Transportation concludes they haven't clogged up the the lanes with single-occupant, gas/electric vehicles. [Thanks to Scott for the tip.

California issued nearly all car pool permits for hybrid drivers [Sacramento Bee]

Toyota Eyes California for Prius Production [Internal]