In the face of smog, soot, and global warming, governments have been trying to regulate cleaner cars for the past fifty to sixty years. What was their most pitifully unsuccessful attempt of all?

It's hard to beat the short-lived licensing for hybrid vehicles to use the HOV lane. California famously issued HOV stickers to hybrids from 2005-2007. It played a big part in the growth of nationwide hybrid sales, which jumped from 85,000 in 2004 to 207,000 in 2005, up to 353,000 in 2007.

The success came at a price. Carpool lanes filled up and people started to loathe hybrid drivers. California let the last decals expire early in 2011, but the stigma of owning a hybrid still sticks. How else have governments and citizen action groups failed to make driving ‘green?'

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