Starting today, hybrid car drivers can park at any parking meter in the city of Los Angeles without paying. The free parking is to encourage hybrid cars and reward owners who have already purchased them. Drivers still must observe posted limits (1 or 2 hour parking), but get to keep their change for keeping things besides the air clean, like laundry.
Just be mindful of what city you’re in; Burbank, Santa Monica and Glendale among others have not extended this courtesy to their parkers.
In other news, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that allows hybrid cars that get over 45 mpg to drive in the carpool lane with only one person in them. The federal government still needs to approve it though, as federal funds for highways could be withheld if California proceeds with the permits without permission.
I’m not sure if giving special perks to hybrid drivers is a good idea or not. I don’t plan to take advantage of the HOV permit. I did take the tax deduction for buying the car last year, and it’s nice to know if my parking meter expires, I might not come back to my car and find a ticket. I mean, drivers of super-efficient vehicles are already reaping benefits by not having to fuel up so much. Do I really need the benefit of a few extra quarters in my pocket to get me to buy a hybrid?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2004
Los Angeles ñ Mayor Jim Hahn and City Councilmember Eric Garcetti today welcomed the Los Angeles City Councilís passage of a program to allow gas electric hybrid cars to park at parking meters for free. The program goes into effect October 1, 2004.
ìNow people have another good reason to drive hybrid vehicles, in addition to helping the environment,î said Mayor Hahn. ìEvery bit of environmentally-conscious behavior makes a difference, and driving a hybrid car now saves spare change at the meter as well as dollars in your gas tank. We all have better things to do with our spare change than feed a parking meter, and we all benefit from having cleaner air to breathe.î
ìBy letting clean motorists keep their pocket change, we can make real change in our air quality,î said Councilmember Eric Garcetti. ìAs the air pollution capital of the United States, we can’t shy away from fighting the battle on many fronts.î
The City of Los Angeles already provides free parking at city meters for electric and natural gas cars and trucks designated as ìClean Air Vehiclesî by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Mayor Hahn, recognizing the success of this program and wanting to continue to promote clean air, developed a plan to extend this initiative to owners of hybrid vehicles. Councilmember Garcetti introduced the motion in the City Council last July to direct LADOT to begin implementation of the program.
The City Council voted unanimously today to pass the program. Initially, hybrid owners will not need to do anything different to take advantage of the policy. Parking enforcement officers will be trained to recognize hybrid vehicles and will simply not cite owners of such vehicles for not
paying at parking meters. However, vehicle owners will still be required to comply with posted time limits. In addition, if the State of California and DMV decide to include hybrids as ìClean Air Vehicles,î then hybrid owners would need to receive a sticker from the DMV to qualify for free parking, just as electric and natural gas vehicle owners currently do.
Hybrids, which use a combination of gasoline and electric power, provide increased fuel economy on a miles-per-gallon basis and, subsequently, reduce air pollution. California has twice as many hybrids as any other state. Over 4,700 hybrid vehicles were registered in Los Angeles in 2003, more than any other city.
The City of Los Angeles is currently converting its fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles and also maintains a small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The free hybrid parking pilot program will last for six months. At the end of that period, LADOT will analyze the program and make a determination of whether or not to continue the program.