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Should Hybrid Drivers Get Special Parking Perks?

I get the need for handicapped parking spots. I might even get "family" parking, or close spots for expectant ladies — but this? This could be the "slippery slope" my dad always warns me about. Some stores are now offering preferential parking for those driving hybrid cars.

Being an eco-avenger behind the wheel lands you closer to the door in Austin, Chicago, and a handful of cities trying out the program. Los Angeles has allowed hybrids (and cars that get more than 45 mpg) to park for free for three years already while Houston flyers with hybrids get to park at airports for free, and New York City is toying with the idea of allowing hybrids to buck the parking meter.

While the jury's out on whether parking perks lead to efficient car purchases, some of the states with plans underway, like Texas, New York, and California, already lead the nation in states with the highest hybrid sales. It might be more of a mental boost than a planetary benefit — the marketing specialist at Houston's Ikea says there's no enforcement on the hybrid-only slots, but people like the spirit of it. It's about promoting awareness. "The company's philosophy is to be green conscious, and we'd like our customers to think that way, too."

What do you think? Right track or what's next!?


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