Monday, October 30, 2006

2007 Toyota Prius Qualifies For California HOV Stickers

I purchased my 2007 Toyota Prius (yes, it's White!) on September 28, 2006. I chose the Prius because I wanted a low-emissions vehicle that got great gas mileage and had the quality reputation of Toyota. One month in and I've been very happy with my purchase.

One of the side benefits of purchasing a qualifying hybrid is that you can apply for one of the 75,000 stickers that were approved as part of California's incentive program that allows certain low-emissions vehicle access to the carpool lanes with only a single occupant. However, at the time I purchased my vehicle, the anticipation was that all the stickers had been claimed. No matter. I still purchased the car.

The day after I purchased the car, however, the California Governor signed AB 2600 into law, which added an additional 10,000 stickers to the pool, and extended the HOV-lane access until January 1, 2011. I was pretty confident that I would get an HOV-lane sticker after all.

But, does the 2007 Toyota Prius qualify for the program?

It should, but the AB 2628 approved list of vehicles knew nothing about the 2007 model -- it had only been on the market for a week when I bought it. However, that approved list was updated on October 11, 2006, and the 2007 Prius was added. Note that no other 2007 model was added to the list at that time!

In the end, my stickers arrived today, October 30, 2006.

Here's the timeline:

  • 09/28: Purchased 2007 Toyota Prius

  • 09/29: Called dealer to ask them to expedite DMV license plate registration (required for HOV sticker application)

  • 09/29: Drove up to San Francisco to register for the FasTrak program (required for HOV sticker application for Bay Area residents)

  • 10/03: Dealer called with license plate number

  • 10/03: USPS overnight mailing of HOV lane application packet and $8 check to DMV in Sacramento

  • 10/11: 2007 Prius added to approved vehicle list

  • 10/13: DMV cashed the $8 application fee check

  • 10/21: "Date Issued" of stickers by DMV

  • 10/30: Stickers arrive at home -- Sticker #0803XX

I will enjoy my low emissions, my 50mpg, my $3,150 tax credit for 2006, my free city parking in San Jose, my easier commutes, and my quality Toyota.

Tags: ,,,,,,


  1. [...] Oh, and OmniNerd has no way to calculate the value I receive by using the carpool lanes because I drive a low-emissions high-mileage vehicle. Lower stress, longer life. [...]

  2. Does anyone know when the number of additional stickers for Prius are going to run out? I am planning to buy a Prius in May-June 2007, and was wondering if all the additional stickers will be gone by then?


  3. inder,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I stopped watching (daily) when my stickers finally arrived back in October. However, a good place to check is:

    You may have to click to the "Last Page".

    My hunch would be that the stickers will all be gone by May-June 2007. They are probably all gone at this point, but I have not seen any hard and fast proof of that.



  4. The stickers are all gone (I learned the hard way), and I am so upset I am beside myself.

    All I am reading about is the benefits of being able to use the carpool lane. Now, it's ILLEGAL in a Prius unless you have the "magic golden sticker", which is NO LONGER POSSIBLE.

    So, I suppose the state of California is sending the message to forget about getting a fuel-efficient hybrid; let's go back to the gas-guzzlers.

    I have cancelled my Prius order and starting to think about a disadvantage car-pool wise over the Prius, right?

  5. Frank,

    You are correct. Once the 85,000 stickers are gone, then the hybrid car-pool program can take no more.

    I certainly hope that the state of California recognizes the interest and value in continuing to extend the program by printing additional stickers and continuing to monitor any car-pool congestion that they may be causing (which I have not witnessed). I have no idea if they will, however.



  6. [...] with the HOV car-pool sticker, I am even more pleased with my [...]

  7. i bought a 2007 honda civic hybrid a month ago and they dealership told me carpool stickers were still available and all i had to do was send in an app. with $8. Now, i found out that they have been out of stickers 3 months ago. What do i do if the dealership knowing that there were no more stickers left told me that they were still available in order to make a sale???

    please help....


  8. anna,

    I bought my Toyota Prius at the end of September, 2006. At that time, the original 75,000 stickers were expected to be drying up any day now. My dealer, Capitol Toyota, was very good about not promising that I would be able to get a sticker - in fact, they set my expectation that I probably wouldn't get one at all.

    This was the right expectation to have. I opted to purchase the car independent of whether I got the car pool sticker. Then, I opted to expedite the license plate and get my application in for the car pool stickers, just in case I could get one of the "last" ones.

    And, I did.

    So, I think your dealer should not have made any promises about this. That's shady.

    Also, I don't think the stickers have been out for 3 months (but, honestly, I have not been keeping close tabs on that). You should get your application and $8 in anyway, so that they have you in a database as applying, just in case they decide to print more stickers.

    Good luck!


  9. The stickers were gone since mid January... dealerships know about this and still to this day attempt to get you to buy on the come. I did all the research over the end of last year and spokek to many delaerships and got in their email strings and am still in a few. They will do anything to sell you the car. If you want the car with stickers you now have to search the classifieds and say you prayers. I got mine and am enjoying the HOV lane, but it came at a price of course. MIKE

  10. Hi Mike,

    I heard on NPR that the resale value of a California Toyota Prius that has the HOV carpool stickers attached is a full $4,000 more than the same car without the sticker. Don't know where they got that stat or if it's even close to true.

    What did you find while doing your search?


  11. That's what I'm seeing on Craigslist, which is where most used cars seem to be listed for sale these days. I think the true premium may be even higher than that noted on the NPR stat.

    If you're looking, here's one with decals for a good price:

    If you search for Prius, you'll see several listed for over $30K with stickers, whearas comperable ones are listed without stickers are listed in the low $20s, which is closer to the Kelly Blue Book price.

    It seems like the prices are increasing, too!

  12. Can you still park at meters for free in California?

  13. Hi melanie,

    At least in the City of San Jose, you cannot. They dropped the FREE program and changed it to a $30 annual fee program. So, if you park in downtown San Jose frequently, it is a very good deal. For me, not so much. I just feed the meter now instead. No big deal.


  14. Nice car and very good lookind but my dream is take a one test drive.

  15. [...] with the HOV car-pool sticker, I am even more pleased with my [...]

  16. [...] and OmniNerd has no way to calculate the value I receive by using the carpool lanes because I drive a low-emissions high-mileage vehicle. Lower stress, longer [...]

  17. hey how do you feel about that reputation of toyota now?

    those brakes workin for ya just fine??
    good thing they didn't try to cover anything up.


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