California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Aug. 30 signed into law a measure expanding the list of low-emission cars that qualify for permits to use carpool lanes, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The measure, SB 535, will allow up to 40,000 more California motorists to drive alone in the high-occupancy vehicle lanes. The legislation also extends the lifespan of existing permits for hybrid and electric vehicles to the end of 2014.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would provide thousands of new permits for new models of fuel-efficient cars, including the Chevrolet Volt, due out later this year, as well as the new Toyota Prius and Nissan LEAF.
Vehicles eligible for the special decal include those that meet California's "super ultra-low emission vehicle" standard for exhaust emissions and the federal "inherently low-emission vehicle" evaporative emission standard; vehicles produced during the 2004 model-year or earlier that meet California ultra-low emission vehicle standard for exhaust emissions and the federal ILEV standard; and hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles that meet California's advanced technology partial zero-emission vehicle standard for criteria pollutant emissions and have a 45 mpg or greater fuel economy highway rating.