SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ California’s carpool lanes would welcome a wider variety of low-emission vehicles under a bill heading to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.

The state Senate voted 28-3 Wednesday to allow the latest generation of low-emission, hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes during commuting hours.

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SB535 also would extend California’s current HOV program until 2015.The bill’s author, Sen. Leland Yee, says the bill would allow up to 40,000 additional vehicles to sport the special HOV lane stickers.

Supporters note that several car manufacturers plan to introduce green-technology vehicles between now and 2012. They say SB535 could jump-start sales to help the struggling auto industry.

”All indications from the governor’s office is that he’s going to support this bill,” said Lee. “That’s because one of the side benefits of this particular bill is that it’s going to help out the auto industry. We have a number of industries within the State of California that are going to supply this particular type of vehicle.”


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