Monday, July 27, 2009

No and No

Don't you just love the DMV? Do you get the same smile I get every time you have the opportunity to interact with them? Some of my favorite memories are: the lines, the backlog, that less-than-cheery atmosphere, and above all, the predictability that comes with knowing my paperwork is nowhere near the office I'm standing in. They are a model of efficiency and customer service.

I could go on, but you get my point. Here is the latest from the land of the lost.

When I took delivery of my MINI E, I immediately applied for the HOV lane stickers that would allow me to drive solo in the carpool lane (you know the stickers). For electric cars, these are silver and there are still plenty to go around. As you can already guess, I got my response from the DMV just the other day. Are you sitting down? They declined my application on the basis that I could not prove that my car is a CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicle. I quickly checked the application to be sure that I had checked the "Electric Vehicle" box - and I did. The letter goes on to say that I need to take my vehicle down to the DMV so that I could get someone to certify that it is, in fact, a CNG vehicle. Imagine explaining this one to the staff at the Santa Monica DMV. Which line shall I stand in? I'll just look for the "Prove Your Car Runs on CNG" line. I'm sure the stickers will arrive just after I return the car to MINI.

This one I care about infinitely more. If you have been reading my blog since the beginning (bless you), you know that I ordered vanity license plates for my MINI E. I struggled with this one for several days before deciding on something that was fitting and of course not already taken. I won't bore you with the long list of ideas, but apparently MINI E (which could also be"MINIE") was undoubtedly taken by a Minie Mouse fan. So, I chose MINI 111. Can you guess what happened? That's right, I got turned down. The letter (singed by someone you cannot reach at the DMV) said that the combination of letters and numbers I selected could be confused with another license plate. Huh? Which one? They added that they will gladly return my fee in the next 60-90 days (translation: we're going to keep it for a while to pay our staff while the state budget gets balanced). Am I surprised? Nothing surprises me any more.

So, when you see me driving down the street, I'll be in the MINI E without the HOV sticker and with the very normal license plate that starts with a 6....

Hey Arnold, I have an idea for closing the budget gap. Let's shut down the DMV! Better yet, do us all a favor and sell it to Nordstrom. Please!



  1. Great post Peter.

    This is the third or fourth story about the HOV sticker problem.

    I wonder if BMW could send them a list of the vins or something.

    I procrastinated a bit (life got in the way) but also have filled out the paper work and paid my 8 bucks for the stickers. I am not looking forward to a trip to the dmv so they can verify CNG!

    Did get the "sun gas" plates. The lady at the dmv asked what it meant. I replyed that I was making my own "gas" via solar power and that the car was poweded by the sun.

    I kid you not, she said " sure, that's nice, is that a new kind of propane or something?

    Oh boy. I just left after thanking her.



  2. Hi Peter...sorry to hear about your troubles with the DMV. Our check for $8.00 was just cashed yesterday. Keeping fingers crossed that the stickers are on the way. :)


  3. Peder,

    That's some very funny stuff!

    My DMV story....

    When I was applying for my speciality plates, (TWSTBTZ) TwistyBitz, in the "define pate meaning" field I put "Means Curves". I got a rejection notice also. The reason, "too sexual, possible affront to women!"

    I wrote back with a better description, "It's a British term for curves in the road!" and links to a few motorhead websites and comments by them like... " There he goes down through the Twistybits!"

    It worked, hang in there.

    Shirts are coming together after a snag with my shirt supplier and I hope to ship the 1st bunch out Thursday.


  4. OOPS! I meant Peter, sorry.

  5. I'd like to make a suggestion to anyone interested in getting the HOV stickers. Check your registration. If there's an "E" under the MP heading then your application will pass. If there's a "G" instead then you'll have to go to the DMV for inspection to correct an error that occurred at the dealer or the DMV when the title was processed.

    Also, don't stand in any lines. Go directly to the area outside where a sign says "Inspection Area." This might also be where they do the drive tests. Park your car as close as possible to the sign and if nobody is there, walk right to the security person or information desk and ask if any inspectors are available. I don't suggest you leave you car in the inspection area and then stand in line. The inspector will get peeved if he sees the car unattended for very long. Everyone there seems to know the drill regarding inspections.

  6. Did all this a month ago after being rejected for same CNG reason and am still waiting, check still hasn't been cashed even, maybe I'll get them in time to turn the car in May 31, 2010 (and maybe I won't).