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    Posted: 26 Mar 2007 at 1:00pm
Carpool sticker adds value to used Priuses in California

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES Californians appear willing to pay $4,000 more for used gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles that have state-issued carpool stickers than for hybrids that don't, according to a sampling of prices by Kelley Blue Book for USA TODAY.
The stickers allow low-polluting hybrids to use less-crowded, faster-moving carpool lanes, even if the driver is alone in the car.

The state quit issuing stickers to hybrids last month after hitting a self-imposed cap of 85,000. Those already issued are valid through 2011 and stay with the car when it's sold, benefiting subsequent owners.

Other clean-air cars, such as those running on natural gas, batteries or hydrogen, still can get the stickers, but only a relative handful of such vehicles are available.

Being able to use the carpool, or high-occupancy vehicle, lanes easily saves half an hour a day in congested Los Angeles or San Francisco, making the stickers valuable to time-pressed Californians. Toyota's Prius and Honda's Civic hybrid were the only hybrids with low-enough exhaust emissions and high-enough gas mileage to qualify for carpool permits.

Now that no new permits are available for hybrids, asking prices average $4,000 more for used Priuses with stickers than without, the survey by car-price tracker Kelley shows.

"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. He says not enough used Civic hybrids were for sale to include them.

If gasoline is $3 a gallon it's been at least that much for about two weeks here a used-Prius buyer could offset the carpool premium in 30,000 miles, Ibara calculates. That values the owner's time at $20 a hour and assumes the sticker saves half an hour a day.

The sticker premium shows that the program to encourage hybrid ownership is working, says David Ford, spokesman for California State Assemblyman Ted Lieu. He sponsored the bill that added 10,000 more hybrid stickers late last year.

By letting future owners use the carpool lanes, "It sends the incentive forward," Ford says. "Someone buying a used car might be encouraged to buy a Prius."

But Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan says passing along carpool access "is a wrong result of a well-intended program. Why should we add value to a car? That's not what this is about."

Virginia issues special license plates to hybrids so solo drivers can use carpool lanes in crowded Washington, D.C., suburbs. But with carpool lanes clogging up, last year the state cut significantly the number of carpool lanes where the solo-driver privilege applies.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MDC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2007 at 8:58am
At least they didn't issue "stickers" to SUVs like Virginia still does. Here the "eco-friendly" Prius or Civic can be upgraded to a Highlander, RX400, or whatever hybrid they want. Just yesterday on the drive home, I saw four SOV blue Toyota highlanders with plates that were issued before the car was available. At this rate, eventually all of the high-mileage/low emission hybrids will be stuck in the regular lanes and we'll only have new high-performance hybrids with old plates in HOV.

Brilliant, eh? NoSUV?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sluDgE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2007 at 10:35am
MDC,

This might explain what you saw ....

In Va, the old plates can stay with the owners, so they can transfer the old plates to the new car. From what I've read, for owners of older hybrids to transfer the pre-July 2006 I-95/395 HOV3-exempt plates to new hybrids, their new hybrid is supposed to be one listed on the approved Va DMV hybrid list. Highlander hybrids are on the list.

I assume the new hybrids you saw in the HOV3 lanes had the earliest style CF HOV3-exempt plates. It appears the owners you saw had owned hybrids prior to 1 July 2006 and traded them in for newer larger hybrid SUVs, and they were allowed to transfer their HOV3-exempt plates from their older hybrid cars.

Also, all vehicles that qualify for any of the CF plates (the old & the new style plates) can solo on any of Va's HOV-2 lanes (I-66, Dulles Toll Rd, I-64, and I-264). And one more wrinkle ... non-hybrid vehicles that qualify for CF plates using alternative fuels like all-electric, LPG, etc. can solo on any of Va's HOV lanes. (You may have seen the HOV-legal LPG-fueled pick-up on the I-95 HOVs with only 1 or 2 people onboard. We saw it while carpooling home one day last week.)


The info on CF plates is quoted below from the Va DMV website
http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/citizen/vehicles/cleanspecialfuel.asp:

(BEGIN QUOTE) "Qualifications for Clean Special Fuel License Plates
In order for your vehicle to qualify as clean fuel it must be exclusively powered by clean special fuel. The following types of fuels may qualify a vehicle for clean special fuel plates:

Compressed Natural Gas
Electricity
Ethane
Hybrid Gasoline/Electric
Hydrogen
Hythane
Liquefied Natural Gas
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Methane
Solar
or Combination of two types of clean special fuels

Not all hybrids qualify for clean special fuel license plates, but the following do:

Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Honda Civic, 2005 Ford Escape, 2006 Ford Escape, 2006 Toyota Highlander, 2006 Lexus RX400, 2006 Mercury Mariner, 2006 Honda Accord, 2007 Toyota Camry, 2007 Lexus GS450h, 2007 Ford Escape, 2007 Mercury Mariner, 2007 Honda Accord and 2007 Toyota Highlander.

NOTE: As new hybrids qualify, this information will be updated. Flexible fuel vehicle engines that do not utilize only a clean special fuel DO NOT qualify for the plates." (END OF QUOTE)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2007 at 12:29pm
quote:
Originally posted by MDC
[br]At least they didn't issue "stickers" to SUVs like Virginia still does. Here the "eco-friendly" Prius or Civic can be upgraded to a Highlander, RX400, or whatever hybrid they want. Just yesterday on the drive home, I saw four SOV blue Toyota highlanders with plates that were issued before the car was available. At this rate, eventually all of the high-mileage/low emission hybrids will be stuck in the regular lanes and we'll only have new high-performance hybrids with old plates in HOV.

Brilliant, eh? NoSUV?


Actually, MDC, I've struggled with this for many months. I finally realized that it comes down to influencing consumer choice for the same type of vehicle. If a consumer wants to buy a SUV, then they should go ahead and buy one, but it should meet SULEV standards. In the instances you pointed out, it's doubtful that the consideration was being made between a conventional compact and a SULEV SUV...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MDC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2007 at 10:32pm
Sludge and NoSUV,
My point was? That people are trading in their old small hybrids for big gas guzzling(relatively) hybrids and keeping their old plates to use HOV on I95/395.

Furthermore, the next owner of the used small/fuel efficient hybrid will not be allowed to drive SOV/HOV while the person that ditched their efficient hybrid for a SUV or sports sedan will still be driving solo. I hope they drive gently, or their mileage will not be impressive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sluDgE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2007 at 8:14am
MDC,
I see your point, and agree that those owners who traded old for newer/larger hybrids are milking the hybrid-related VA laws to their selfish "we must drive alone on the HOV-3 lanes" satisfaction. [V]

But, unfortunately, what they've done appears to be legal IAW Virginia laws (and the DMV and VDOT rules on CF license plates and HOV use). [V]

I'm not against hybrids. I'd just like to see all of them have to comply to the same set of HOV-3 rules on I95/395 that the rest of us must follow. If I were the HOV rulemaker for a day, I'd change the rules to allow all hybrids to use the HOV3 lanes as long as each of them had at least 3 people on board -- just like the rest of us who carpool or slug.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NoSUV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2007 at 8:49am
Perhaps a different rule would be to allow ONLY hybrids in the express lanes. When they finally clog up, which they eventually will, then the rule could be hybrid-3.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sluDgE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2007 at 9:21am
That won't work. Virginia appears committed to implementing toll lanes and there just ain't enough hybrids to generate the revenue and commercial profits they want. [:)]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2007 at 2:43pm
quote:
Originally posted by NoSUV
[br]Perhaps a different rule would be to allow ONLY hybrids in the express lanes. When they finally clog up, which they eventually will, then the rule could be hybrid-3.



Why wait for legislation to do the right thing? Why not fill up those empty hybrid seats now? Why not restrict all express lane traffic to HOV3+ vehicles? Now we're talking eco-sense!

Wait, that was the way it was BEFORE hybrid lobbyists came along and changed the laws back to the 1960s when SOVs were the norm and traffic crawled along in gridlock every day at rush hour. It looks like we're headed back to those "good-ole days" again soon. Congratulations, you now have another hybrid selling feature: they're retro!
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