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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!?


Join The Conversation
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Oh, I didn't know that nickel mining, which is done in open cast mines while excavating huge holes in the ground, was now green. Now if only my hybrid car would last more than 150k miles and nickel was economically recyclable. Thanks for the update yesteryear, I had no idea you were such an environmental scholar.
stephley stephley 8 years
I didn't know about the natural gas car Torg - I don't think the others on the list that aren't hybrids are though. I do know that you shouldn't just go hybrid thinking that means you're grade A green. I've read that overall, Honda is a greener company than Toyota, and if you're getting great mileage with your current car and cut back on driving, you are doing your bit to help the environment and dumping your old car to buy a new hybrid isn't a positive thing. Anyway, I take the bus and have for years now.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Jill, a hybrid car generally means the car runs on a combination of gas and electricity. Biodiesel is just a different fuel. You can actually run any diesel car on biodiesel, and you can make your own biodiesel at home!
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
i drive a 2005 civic and i LOVE it. it's not a hybrid (couldn't afford one at the time), but it gets 35 on the highway and does great in town as well. i drove from the bay area to LA last month on ONE tank of gas. i was very close to trading the honda in for a new prius last winter but a good friend suggested i wait a few years to see what the next big thing is since my car is still in great shape. i'm glad i listened to his advice because we are going to start seeing hydrogen cars soon - and that's what i'm going to get. unless tesla comes out with a commuter car soon -- they are going to most likely be manufactured here in the east bay!
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Torg, do bio-diesel hybrids do much better? (I am really not a car person, so I need help!)
True-Song True-Song 8 years
It is a little bit different, the biggest thing probably being that the Prius actually gets better city mileage than highway, so if you do mostly city driving, this would be even better. But it still gets 45 mpg on the freeway. I wish all cars had the ability to automatically cut the engine at stoplights. This alone could save so much wasted fuel.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I hardly drive anyway, so it doesn't really affect me.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Yeah, torg, I know it's the same way for all cars, but I just meant that for some people a hybrid would be worth it, while for others it might be better to look at another fuel efficient car.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Steph, that model runs on compressed natural gas. I don't know if you knew that or not, but your comment implies that a regular (i.e. gaoline powered) car can be greener than the Prius. Lilkimbo, I think this is the same for all cars. A Prius doesn't do any good if you leave the engine running in park all day, of course, but it's just like with all cars: if you go the speed limit, accelerate slowly, etc. it's better, if you speed and gun it at stoplights, it's worse. There are also different versions of hybrid cars. The Prius is basically an electric car with a gas helper engine, the Civic hybrid was bascially a gas car with an electric helper engine. (Not sure if the new Civic Hybrids are the same or not.) The Prius can run only on electricity. I think the gas engine kicks in only if you go above 10 mph or something? That's why the estimated mpg for city driving is higher than in highway driving for the Prius.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
That's interesting Steph. I've heard that how "green" a hybrid is also depends on the type of driving you do, since whether they run on electric or gas is based on your speed/number of stops/etc.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
"Don't the special hybrid places have "chargers" with the one in the picture?" Jillness: Negative in Boulder.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Jillness, the photo is actually of an electric car. There aren't an on the road any more, because the manufacturers only leased them and then collected them back at the end of the leases and destroyed them. Hybrid cars don't plug in. The battery is charged from extra energy from the gas engine or from energy from regenerative braking.
stephley stephley 8 years
Hybrids aren't necessarily greener overall - ranks the Honda Civic GX above the Prius and the Toyota Corrolla and the Mini Cooper are on its top ten list.
lms lms 8 years
My husband actually wants me to get a hybrid as my next car. I want a different brand that doesn't currently have hybrids. I told him I don't drive that much so the added cost may not save that much on gas price. His response was that I am basing it on todays gas prices(which can still go up) and also that I should do my part to be green. It sounds like an interesting idea however.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
i don't know how this would be enforced. Would cops give out parking tickets to nonhybrid cars for parking in hybrid spaces just like handicap cars? Don't police officers have better things to do? Like harassing poor little me ... :cry:
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
organicsugr: that nickel mining thing was debunked almost a year ago.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that it's a nice thought but it's a bit ridiculous. think about it - i think that we all understand the value and need to have a hybrid car - but there are a few things to remember 1) hybrids aren't necessarily cheap and easy to come by. i have a car right now, but i certainly could not afford to get a new one at the moment, and the waiting list on some hybrids are years away. 2) just because people don't have a hybrid doesn't mean that they aren't doing other things for the environment to reduce their carbon footprint. i think that it's a nice thought - but really - it's not logical. the preggo women - yes that's smart cause they physically could use the break - but this is too much!
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Don't the special hybrid places have "chargers" with the one in the picture? In that case I can see why they would be especially for those cars, since it is not only a space, it provides a charge that "regular" cars do not need. I could be wrong, though!
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>the funny thing is that global warming or not -- pollution is a proven cause of respiratory illness. Right. This is why I get so annoyed with the anti-greens. CLeaner water, cleaner air, and less consumption of resources is still a good thing. >it would be SUPER annoying to see those spots empty while driving around (polluting!) looking for a spot :< Are there a lot of lots where you literally have to drive around in circles, waiting for someone to leave or something, to find a spot? I know some are like that, but normally I just pull in and park in the first spot I see, near the door, near the back, or wherever it is.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
A lot of states also allow hybrid owners to drive in the HOV lanes. I know people in the D.C. area (Virginia allows it) who bought a hybrid for that very reason.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
"To me, this is just a silly way for the company to look eco-friendly without actually doing anything" i have to agree with that. I really want i hybrid (we only have a toyota echo) but this would only be a good idea if there were enough hybrids around that those spots were usually full. i dont know which cities have enough hybrids for this yet, so i am surprised to hear this. it would be SUPER annoying to see those spots empty while driving around (polluting!) looking for a spot :<
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I'm with you yesteryear. As long as the pollution in here in my urban area is lower, I don't mind polluting Canada where most of the nickel mining is done. At least, that's why I drive a hybrid.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
the funny thing is that global warming or not -- pollution is a proven cause of respiratory illness. just take a look at asthma rates in highly industrial areas, or near highways or airports. being "green" and driving a hybrid (or a low emissions car of any kind) is not just about the environment - it's also a public health issue.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I didn't say anything was particularly wrong with it, just that it annoys me. I can't afford to buy a new hybrid (not that I would if I could) and neither can most people I know. I'm not sure why a store would want me to park that much further away when the rest of the parking lot is completely empty (as it was). To me, this is just a silly way for the company to look eco-friendly without actually doing anything. Except maybe wasting a few more resources to print those annoying signs.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>I'm opposed to false solutions to non-existent (or at least unproven) problems. Even if you don't know about climate change yet, hybrid cars still put less pollution in the air. That's been proven. What's wrong with rewarding those who pollute less?
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