Those looking to buy a new car now have one more reason to consider an alternative fuel vehicle-free parking. With the goal of reducing the country’s dependence on imported oil and providing cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels, federal, state and local governments are stepping up their incentives programs.
Examples of the new programs are popping up in small and big towns alike. Since 2006, the town of Huntington in New York has allowed free parking at meters, beaches and rail stations for alternative fuel vehicles to encourage reduced emissions in their community.
According to an article in the New York Times, the town further expanded the program by requiring office buildings and other private parking lot operators to set aside spots in convenient locations for the fuel-efficient vehicles. Huntington town councilman, Stuart Besen, said that the idea for free parking grew out of frustration with the federal and state governments that not enough was being done to improve the environment.
The parking privilege has been seen mostly in larger cities where parking spots are harder to find, especially in New York and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported that hybrids get priority spots at Whole Foods, Ikea and certain Home Depots. One reason companies may be providing these incentives is to appeal to their environmentally-concerned customers. Also, providing special parking for alternative fuel vehicles will earn companies three points toward a total of 40 that are needed for basic LEED certification, which is a green-building stamp of approval.
Other companies and local governments have been inspired by the initiatives in other towns, and parking perks are popping up across the country in Naperville, Boulder, Toronto and Dallas to name a few. While the special treatment has been met by controversy in some areas, the idea of priority for alternative fuel vehicles and other incentives continues to grow.