A few years ago, a little yellow sticker on your ride was worth about $4,000 on the used car market. These "Clean Air Vehicle" stickers allow clean cars with just one occupant into the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in California and can save some commuters up to two hours a day. Wow. If time is money, then what is the ability to speed along in the fast lane worth in 2009, especially since the state stopped handing the badges out a while ago?

Audatex, a company that tries to answer questions like this one, has come up with a figure for insurance companies trying to calculate the value of a damaged car: with a CAV sticker, a 2005 model Honda Civic hybrid is worth an extra $1,203; a 2006 model is worth an extra $1,509 if it sported the decal. Not a bad deal considering the stickers originally cost just $8. Of course, all 85,000 decals the state issued will expire on January 1, 2011, at which time their value drops to diddly squat. Another thing to consider: an owner who had a CAV-bearing car can now ask for a replacement sticker if that car was totaled. Read more in the Audatex PDF here (HOV story is on pages 12-13).

[Source: Audatex via Green Car Reports]