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Hybrid HOV Lane Stickers Valued Up to $1,500 But Only For Another 18 Months

By • Jun 18th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Daily Snapshots

California HOV lane stickersHybrid drivers who jumped on the California Clean Air Vehicle sticker bandwagon have enjoyed at least one side benefit that was not intended by the program originally. The 8-dollar little sticker appears to provide increased value of the car to its owner either when reselling the car or in the replaced value in the case of total loss. The premium price of these decals have been estimated at between $1,000 and $1,500, but maybe not for too much longer.

In a newsletter published by Audatex, a Solera company specializing in providing tools, information and knowledge to the automobile insurance industry, Brian Grainger  poses the question “Do HOV Stickers Impact Vehicle Values?” According to Mr. Grainger, both real and perceived vehicle values have resulted from limited availability of the decals. Californians seem to say that they are willing to pay a premium for a pre-owned car with the sticker so that they can shave 2 hours everyday from their commuting time. Here’s what Mr. Grainger wrote:

We specifically analyzed data for the 2005 and 2006 Honda Civic hybrids and their gasoline equivalents, which were released during the years in which the California Clean Air Vehicle decal was offered. For each model year and vehicle type, we trended the average actual cash values (ACVs) across multiple states. In each state, with the exception of California, the ACVs trend similarly for the hybrids and their gasoline counterparts. However, in California, the ACVs for the Honda Civic hybrids averaged 7 percent higher than in the other states, while the ACVs for the gasoline counterparts trended similarly with the other states. This translates into a $1,203 premium for the 2005 model Honda Civic hybrid and a $1,509 for the 2006 model.

Wow! This means insurance companies have a couple of dilemma on their hands. One, do they insured cars with stickers at a higher value, especially when you consider that beginning in 2009, an owner can get a replacement sticker if his/her car has been declared a total loss after an accident? And two, what happens when the decals will no longer benefit drivers at the end of 2010, when the clean air ticker program ends? Do they readjust to account for this fact?

I think soon enough, people will get smart on the fact that the stickers are expiring and will refuse to pay more than what similar hybrid cars without a sticker will command. Additionally, newer hybrids like the Honda Insight and the just announced Honda Fit hybrid are becoming available. This will help further bring hybrid prices down to earth.

Read more on “Clean Air Stickers – High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Usage” from the CA DMV.

Here’s another take on the same topic from John Voelcker, Editor-in-Chief of

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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