I wonder if anyone has ever tried to calculate the amount of fume emission when four lanes are standing still versus what the emissions would be if everyone was able to use the extra lane.
It seems to me that the concept of carpool lanes is obviously failing.
If you don't believe it, just have a look at the empty carpool lane on I-880 in Berkeley compared to the crowded six lanes next to it. People who can afford to use carpool lanes are people with kids or the few lucky ones who can drive around with a coworker (mainly construction workers going around to a construction site).
For the rest of us who are either single, or married with no kids, or who work far enough from home that commuting with co-workers is not an option, we are doomed to breathe fumes. Just think of the wasted gas and pollution going into the atmosphere when two or three lanes of traffic stand still.
Would not it make sense if everyone was allowed to use the extra lane and make the commute just a little bit shorter for everyone instead of a lot shorter for a few?