The city of Nashville has passed an ordinance allowing those driving hybrids and electric cars to park for free. They have to pay a $10 fee and get a sticker. About six percent of the local residents qualify for this benefit. However, a local councilman has asked that everyone be allowed to park for free, as long as they pay a fee to offset their vehicle’s carbon footprint. Read about it here.
Why not? If energy companies can buy and sell carbon offsets, why shouldn’t folks who drive cars. However it does get complicated. Although the electric car may not pour out CO2 or CO, certainly the power plant that provides the electricity for it does. And did it take more energy to produce the Volt or Prius due to the complex batteries that must be installed. Are not the mercury and other trace elements involved in making these cars run potential environmental hazards?
The real question might be “What is the reason that you want to give hybrids and the like free parking?” Is it because they are helping to save the planet? Or is it because you want to feel good and give rich people who can afford this type of vehicle a reason to buy one?
If the reason is the first one, then the councilman’s plan may make some sense. However if it’s the second, then it makes no sense at all, because the second reason makes no sense at all.
Perhaps I can understand lowering the cost of diving or using HOV lanes for high occupancy vehicles, after all, that reduces the number of cars on the road and actually reduces carbon emissions and congestion. However lowering the cost of driving a hybrid certainly doesn’t remove a vehicle and may actually increase the amount a person drives. If I have to pay for parking, I may combine a couple of trips to save some money, but if parking is “free” to me, then why even think about it. Jump in the car and go.
Charging for parking by size, thus collecting on the amount of space taken, makes sense, as does charging based on time and location. However charging for parking based on the type of locomotion a vehicle uses seems to be a discriminatory practice and therefore unconstitutional. No? Yes?