SACRAMENTO -- Low-emission vehicles will be allowed to use the carpool lanes for the next five years if a pair of legislative bills are ultimately signed into law.

Assemblymembers this afternoon gave their approval to an extension of the "green sticker" program, which allows plug-in hybrids a fast-pass through traffic through 2018. A companion bill to extend the similar "white sticker" program for fully electric and natural gas vehicles is set to be heard by the Senate.

Richard Lowenthal, who founded ChargePoint -- the largest electric vehicle-charging network in the U.S. -- says the bills encourage private citizens to take an active role in keeping the state's air clean.

"Where this has effect is on the showroom floor. When you're thinking about buying a car, this is the reason you buy electric or you buy natural gas. There's an incentive there. It makes a difference on your daily life," Lowenthal said.

Both bills are expected to make it to the Governor's desk.