(Toledo, OH) I came across an unusual sign today outside the University of Toledo's Savage Arena. As you can see from the photograph, the sign marks preferential parking spaces for hybrid vehicles. The spots are quite close to the east entrance to the facility, and in fact are better closer than a number of spots designated for vehicles with handicapped permits.
What I found interesting was that none of the half-dozen parking spaces was filled with any vehicles, let alone hybrid or green vehicles.
I asked one of the uniformed UT Police offices about the signs, and he informed me that they can indeed ticket the owner of a non-hybrid vehicle for parking in the space, but that for the moment he was unaware of tickets being issued on this infraction. The university's parking violation fine schedule does not list a fine for a hybrid vehicle parking violation, but I suppose that the fine would be akin to those for "failure to observe posted parking restrictions" or "illegally parked in reserved space," both of which are $35.
Interesting, this. I wonder if we will see more of this sort of institutional pressure or inducements to shift our vehicular choices toward "green" vehicles. Of course, shelling out $30K or more for a hybrid vehicle is out of the price range of many folks, so the preferential parking will wind up going to a handful of well-heeled, upwardly mobile yuppies, the sorts of people who can actually afford to go green in an expensive fashion.
Me? When I'm feeling green I walk, take the bus, or ride my bike, but that owes as much to my unwillingness to loosen my tightly-clenched fists and let go of my hard-earned cash on purchasing a new car than it does any with unselfish green impulses on my part. Besides, I get better gas mileage out of my 13-year-old Hyundai than most of the hybrids, quite a few of which post uninspiring fuel efficiency numbers.