2007 April 04 Wednesday
Prius Carpool Lane Stickers Worth $4k

Those Priuses which have stickers that allow them to ride in the high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV lanes)

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.

This provides a measurement of how much people value their own time and how much they'll spend to go down a faster lane on a highway. Planned High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes access in Virginia will sell for $42 per vehicle round-trip per day. That'd put the $4000 premium on HOV lane access as only paying for less than 100 days of access. Though the HOV lanes and HOT lanes might provide different levels of advantage in California and Virginia. Also, one has to make a sacrifice by choosing particular hybrid car models in California whereas the Virginians will be able to take any car of their choosing down a HOT lane. So the HOT lanes probably command a convenience premium over the HOV lanes.

If highways were more like markets then we'd see a lot more fast premium access lanes. Such lanes would also allow buses to offer a time advantage over most cars since the buses could use the HOV/HOT lanes. This would compensate for the time disadvantages of buses due to the need to go only when the buses go and the time waiting and the time getting from the bus stop to where you really want to go.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 April 04 11:00 PM  Economics Transportation

Anonymous said at April 10, 2007 1:48 AM:

HOV lanes ("Diamond" lanes in Calif.) are perks that the Left-dominated Caltrans hands out to their friends. Hardly anybody qualifies to ride in them. You need two people who live near each other, who also happen to work at the same company, and who happen to live far enough away from the company to make carpooling practical. That is maybe 5% of all workers, if that. But we all pay for the HOV lanes.

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