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I will be purchasing a prius relatively soon. I live in Los Angeles where hybrid cars are extremely popular. Given my location, how can I get the best deal... is it possible to pay below msrp. ? And what's going on with the hov lane stickers?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at Marissa, Penske Toyota one of the premier Toyota Dealers in the Los Angeles area and is an Ask Patty 'female friendly' dealership. You can reach them at or 800-965-3405 or email Linh Lam directly for more information on your new Prius purchase at They do have 06 and 07 Prius models in stock. Due to demand and a short supply of Prius vehicles, paying below MSRP may be difficult right now to negotiate with any Toyota dealership except on select 06 models that may be ageing in their inventory. Here is the information on HOV lane stickers for California: California implemented Assembly Bill 2628 which allows certain hybrid car owners access to the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless of the number of occupants. This legislation is in effect until January 1, 2008. Only 75,000 stickers will be available for gas electric hybrid cars. UPDATE 10/2006: A new bill, AB 2600, was signed that adds and additional 10,000 stickers and extends the effective date until January 1, 2011. Difficulty: Average Time Required: 15 minutes for DMV application. 20 minutes for FasTrak application. More if you apply in person. Here's How: Make sure your car is on the approved list. Right now the only hybrid cars approved are: Prius – 2001-2005 Civic 2003-2005 both manual transmission and CVT Insight 2000-2004 The 2005 Insights aren't eligible due to not meeting the AT-PZEV While some of the remaining hybrids may meet the emissions requirement, none meet the requirement of an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 45 mpg or more. emission standard. Pre-2005 cars had a lower standard. If you live in any of these seven counties, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano or Sonoma, you need to get a special FasTrak™ Hybrid Car transponder and proof (a receipt) of having the transponder. This process has resulted in a lot of confusion. See the “FasTrak™ Enrollment Instructions For Hybrid Vehicles” web page for details. Read carefully! If you do not live in one of seven these counties, you get to skip this step and go on to next step. Go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles web site and print out the "Application for Clean Air Stickers (REG 1000)". You'll need Adobe Acrobat reader to open the document. Mail the completed clean air application, plus proof of FasTrak™ Hybrid Vehicle transponder account if necessary (see above for the seven counties affected), and the $8 fee, to: Department of Motor Vehicles Special Processing Unit MS D238 PO Box 932345 Sacramento, CA 94232-3450 You will be mailed a set of four Clean Air Vehicle stickers which you must affix to your hybrid; one for each bumper and one for each rear quarter panel. If you have to take them off the car, supposedly the stickers should come off easily with a hair dryer and not damage the paint. Some people have applied a clear film to their quarter panel prior to affixing the stickers allowing for easier removal, but there is concern that the stickers may prematurely peel off because of the slick surface. Tips: The FasTrak™ Hybrid Vehicle transponder is different than the normal transponder. To get a FasTrak™ Hybrid Vehicle transponder there are different instructions to follow based on whether you are 1)a new customer, 2)an existing customer ADDING another transponder, or 3)an existing customer EXCHANGING your existing transponder. Read the instructions carefully. You can do this process via the mail, but most people are going down to the office in San Francisco and handling it in person. Do not drive as a hybrid car solo-occupant in the HOV lanes until you receive your Clean Air Vehicle stickers and affix them to your hybrid car. What You Need: A copy of your current vehicle registration 7 counties need a copy of Account Verification information provided by FasTrak™ Data Source :

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