How Much is a Carpool Sticker Worth These Days?

Back in 2007, when the 85,000 HOV carpool decals authorized by the state of California ran out, people were willing to pay premiums for used hybrids that had been issued the non-transferable stickers. The premium peaked in mid 2007 at around $5000 according to a study done by Kelly Blue Book.

Since then, the value of a used carpool hybrid has consistently been higher than an equivalent car without a sticker, but the value of that premium has been declining.  That’s because the cars are getting older and dropping in absolute value, and the stickers have a diminishing life and expire in January, 2011.

So how much are they worth now?  A recent study done by Audatex, a company that automates processing for insurance claims, found that the average used price of a Honda Civic Hybrid was 7 percent higher if it had the sticker.    This translates into a premium of around $1200-$1500 for 2005-2006 Civics.   If that percentage holds, it would mean the premium on the average Prius wouldbe around $1500.

In my experience, cars that are harder to find also have higher premiums.  So for example, a 2007 Prius with low miles in like-new condition, loaded with premium options could command a premium of $3K for an HOV decal.   There aren’t many of these cars around.    And as you would expect, an older car with higher (80K+) miles will sell for little premium.

This could change suddenly if the state decides to extend the life of the existing stickers (possible), or issue new ones (unlikely).    Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, we have two Prius with carpool stickers available now.
Details to follow soon… or call Gene at (510) 864-1792 for more information.