Special Parking for Hybrids

(Photo: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious)

My wife took four grandkids to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.  Looking for a parking space, she noticed the usual handicapped parking spots near the entrance, but also parking spaces reserved for hybrid vehicles.  The Aquarium, though not government-run, appears concerned about environmental issues and apparently tries to encourage energy conservation by making a visit easier for those who have chosen energy-efficient vehicles.  The private sector is implicitly subsidizing the purchase of hybrid cars, not by offering monetary incentives, but by subsidizing the time cost of owning these cars.  I suppose one can object that the subsidy matters more to those whose time is more valuable—presumably higher earners; but it’s still a neat way for the private sector to encourage energy efficiency.  I wonder how many other examples exist of explicit non-monetary subsidies by the private sector? (HT to FWH)

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  1. Paul Rickter says:

    I’ve seen these in a few places and, as a driver of a very efficient but non-hybrid small car, I kind of resent them. No problem with seeing a Prius parked in one of these spots, but seeing one of those ridiculous hybrid SUVs that gets MUCH worse gas mileage than my Mazda 3? If we want to encourage more fuel efficiency, the incentive should be on vehicles that actually use less fuel than other vehicles, not on vehicles that use less fuel than vehicles in the same class.

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  2. Ben Frederick says:

    I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but believe that this is a requirement for LEED certification, which also makes certain tax credits and other benefits available. So it may represent at least an indirect government subsidy.

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    • Quentin says:

      That’s correct. The office building where I used to work undertook LEED certification and one of the things they got points for was adding two “Hybrid” parking stalls. As others have pointed out, making the hybrid distinction is quite arbitrary because there are other kinds of efficient vehicles out there. Some of my co-workers had a habit of parking their non-hybrid cars in the stalls.

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    • MarkB says:

      Not a requirement for LEED, strictly speaking, but providing this reserved parking earns points toward LEED certification. This is one of the cheapest ways to earn points, so you will see reserved parking for alt fuel/hybrid vehicles, as well as carpool vehicles, more and more often in the future.

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  3. joe says:

    Why not park your non-hybrid there anyway?

    Is there some force of coercion (towing, tickets, fines) that goes along with hybrid only spacees (or expecting mother, or employee of the month)?

    One could consider them to be parking spaces reserved for those clever enough to realize the lack of penalty for parking there.

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    • doug says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Cdub says:

        “I’m not sure there is anything they can legally do to my car at that point either.”

        Well, assuming they 1) caught you, 2) cared enough, and 3) you refused to move I assume they could have your car towed, since it’s private property and you’re trespassing at that point. The likelihood of meeting all three conditions is probably pretty low.

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  4. rahul says:

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  5. Al E. says:

    Our new local Library has a reserved spot for low-emissions vehicles.

    It is not universally appreciated, however, especially by one woman who aggressively parks her decidedly-not-low-emissions minivan there occasionally.

    But, mostly, it’s not a big deal. Most of the people who would have an issue with it don’t seem to visit libraries very often.

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  6. amb says:

    I’ve got an example of public non-monetary subsidies…in DC area hybrids were allowed to use the HOV lanes with one person a few years ago.

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    • Neil (SM) says:

      That still applies in VA (I think it never did in MD). The car just has to get clean fuel plates to designate it as such — so it only applies to VA residents.

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    • silverpie says:

      They get to use them in Atlanta too. (As do motorcycles–I suppose because they take up less space and thus reduce traffic jams the same way HOVs do.)

      I’ve also seen one place where the hybrid-reserved spots have a place to plug in (if it’s that kind of hybrid).

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  7. carlos k says:

    meanwhile, those in gas-guzzlers circle the parking lot, searching for a space.

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  8. Daniel says:

    Perhaps there’s also some (small-ish) benefit to having less exhaust fumes near entrances to businesses.

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