California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has reaffirmed the State of California's commitment to encouraging the use of clean, alternative fuel vehicles by signing Assembly Bill 1500, which extends until 2015 access to the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lane for drivers of certain low-emission "green" vehicles, even when driving solo.

The law extends single-occupant use of HOV lanes by alternative fuel vehicles that qualify as "inherently low emission" vehicles and "super ultra low emission" vehicles. Cars that meet these rigorous requirements include electric and compressed natural gas vehicles. HOV access for hybrid vehicles was not extended by AB 1500.

Assemblymember Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) introduced the bill. "I am very pleased that the governor recognizes the importance of this legislation which will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging the use of electric and natural gas vehicles," Lieu said.

"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.