Are you so desperate for a carpool sticker in California that you would be willing to pay $4,000 more for a used Prius? Apparently, there are some buyers who are, according to Kelley Blue Book. This news story: Carpool sticker adds value to used Priuses in California at USATODAY.com (found via hybridcarblog) outlines the added value.
Solo access to hybrid car owners was granted to 85,000 people in California. 75,00 were granted at first, but the Governator signed an extension for 10,000 more this year. All 10,000 extra stickers were taken within the first two months.
The stickers are required to stay with the car, not the driver. Which means anyone who buys one of these used Prius can have solo access to the HOV lane. And since the highways are so congested, people are willing to cough up thousands more in order to save up to half-an-hour a day in driving time.
"It appears people buying Prius vehicles had a different angle" than just saving fuel or polluting less, says Eric Ibara, Kelley's market valuation director. Kelley sampled prices of 30 2004-06 Priuses offered at used car websites. That's sufficient to confirm the price difference, Ibara says.
If gas prices stay at $3 a gallon and if you value your time at $20/hour, the extra you pay for the carpool sticker could be offset in about 30,000 miles.