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State Officials Not Sure Fed Bill Allows Carpool Exemption

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Sacramento, CA — State officials say they aren´t sure that the transportation bill approved by Congress on Friday includes language that will allow high-mileage, low-polluting hybrid vehicles to use carpool lanes with only one occupant.

A bill approved by the Legislature last year allows up to 75-thousand hybrids that get at least 45 miles per gallon and are low-polluting to get windshield stickers from the Department of Motor Vehicles allowing them to use carpool lanes with fewer than the required occupants.

But the state also needs congressional approval to implement the bill. The federal legislation does include language allowing the 45 miles per gallon standard, but state officials say it´s not clear if it also authorizes California to require the hybrids meet specific pollution standards.