SACRAMENTO, CA - A new California law extends -- through the end of 2014 -- car pool lane access for qualifying alternative-fuel vehicles even when the driver is traveling alone. 

However, this special high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access will be extended only to those vehicles meeting the state's "super ultra-low emission vehicle standard" and the federal "inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) standard." 

Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2011, an unlimited number of white Clean Air Vehicle stickers allowing single-occupant HOV lane access will be issued to eligible ILEVs. Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero-emission vehicles (100 percent battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Assembly Bill 1500 extended the expiration of white stickers to Jan. 1, 2015.

Yellow Clean Air Vehicle Stickers were limited to the first 85,000 applicants of qualifying hybrids. This limit has been reached and there will be no more yellow stickers issued.

Yellow stickers that allow single-occupant HOV lane access will all expire July 1, 2011.

The bill, introduced by Assembly member Ted Lieu, was sponsored by the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the legislation into law this month.

"AB 1500 provides a real incentive for Californians to drive cars that enhance the state's clean air, energy security and global warming goals, while also fostering job creation and green tech growth here in California," said Tim Carmichael, president of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.

AB 1500 drew support from Clean Energy Fuels, CalStart, Energy Independence Now and Honda.

Honda's Civic GX and FCX Clarity are qualifying vehicles for the white Clean Air Vehicle stickers.