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Do I hear $500? How about $600?

Here’s a fun one: California state legislator Jim Battin has submitted a bill that would allow purchasers of carbon offsets to ride in the carpool lane. No environmentalist, Battin just wants to be able to drive his Lincoln Aviator (14 mpg) “guilt-free in the empty diamond lane.”

Meanwhile, Desmog Blog grumbles over Washington State’s proposal for new road tolls. The tolls are needed because vehicle fuel efficiency gains have slowed the growth of gas tax revenue. Desmog Blog argues (strangely) that the new tolls would unfairly punish drivers who bought cleaner cars.

TerraPass to the rescue! We have long advocated the enviro-econo-nerd’s favorite road revenue scheme: auction off permits to drive in the carpool lane and use the revenue to fund greenhouse gas reductions elsewhere. Everyone wins: Battin can pay the going rate to drive his tank in the fast lane; do-gooder hybrid owners avoid a surcharge; and environmentalists can fund programs that reduce emissions far more effectively than car pool lanes ever could.

This will never happen, presumably, due to populist outrage when carpool lane permits hit $1,000 a pop. Too bad — that much green could buy a lot of clean energy.

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