Kentucky Transportation Secretary Joe Prather today signed an administrative order that allows "alternative electric vehicles" to be registered and titled for the first time in the commonwealth.

The order, which is being sent to Kentucky's 120 county clerks, was prompted by an increase in consumer interest in electric cars and trucks.

In August, Governor Steve Beshear directed the Prather to develop and implement standards for authorizing the use of certain electric vehicles, such as small electric cars, on Kentucky roadways.

"Under certain prescribed conditions, the use of electric cars can -- and should -- be an important part of our efforts to offer cost-effective and energy efficient alternatives for our transportation needs," Gov. Beshear said in a news release. "I believe there is a market for these alternative vehicles and I'm excited about the potential."

Prather's order applies to alternative electric vehicles that at least meet federal safety standards for motorcycles. Their operation is restricted to roadways with posted speed limits of no more than 45 mph, of which Kentucky has 3,507 miles.

The vehicles cannot be driven across a roadway with a posted speed limit higher than 45 mph except at intersections with stoplights. Operators must have a valid license, are subject to all traffic laws and the same insurance requirements that pertain to motor vehicles.

Golf carts and all-terrain vehicles are specifically excluded from terms of the order.