Come July 1, those driving hybrid cars with the yellow “clean air” decals will no longer be able to park for free at meters in Santa Monica, city officials announced Wednesday.

The change comes as a result of the legislature abandoning a program that allowed drivers of those hybrids to use car pool or high-occupancy lanes even though they had no other passenger in the car. Representatives with the Department of Motor Vehicles said that program was meant to be temporary, the goal to encourage people to by more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

The next generation of clean air stickers, which will be green, is anticipated to be released in January 2012. They will also allow solo drivers in as many as 40,000 advanced technology vehicles, which meet even stricter emission standards, to use carpool lanes.

So far, only one car can meet those standards, a Toyota Prius enhanced plug-in hybrid, according to the California Air Resources Board.

In 2002, the City Council adopted regulations exempting all alternative fuel vehicles displaying clean air decals from payment at parking meters as a way to encourage more people to buy alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. The change did not exempt people from parking time limits or from paying to park at lots or structures.

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