January has started at a brisk pace for those who consider themselves green in Orange County, that is, the possible privilege to park in 3000 city-owned parking spaces free of charge just because they have purchased a hybrid powered vehicle. This was one of the proposal on the table to be considered by the Huntington Beach City Council on the night of January 22nd 2008 but unfortunately this proposal fell on deaf ears and resulted in a narrow defeat.
This is not a unique situation proposed by the beach community, as other cities throughout the United States have already adopted this stance with the city of Los Angeles being one of them. We all know that hybrid vehicles have been snapped up in their hundreds of thousands over the past couple of years with the Toyota Prius enjoying much of the action and like many other alternative fuel vehicles they already enjoy riding the carpool lane, free parking would just have been icing on the cake for these Huntington Beach locals. We can all relate to the current drive to conserve the nations precious resources and reduce the reliance on foreign oil but a quick decision to reward the few in prime parking would have been wasteful in terms of reduced revenue to the city, fortunately it did not pass.
The first thing that I have to asked myself is, why open such a can of worms, everyone in their own right does their bit to conserve energy, turning down the thermostat at home or be it just recycling bottles and cans and even the daily newspaper. Singling out a small percentage of the population who have chosen to purchase a hybrid vehicle because it’s a high profile statement does not warrant an extra pat on the back in my opinion and I’m fully behind this decision to reject the proposal.
I’m sure many families would like to show their support by doing the same thing but money constraints and family size restricts that kind of commitment leaving them no alternative but to shuttle their families in less desirable, larger vehicles with poor gas mileage. A suitable energy source that can benefit everyone is the only answer, be it battery powered or hydrogen powered or whatever powered.
The main problem is infrastructure to sustain this new system and can this new system provide the distance between fill-ups or charge-ups that current gasoline engines provide. What system will be in place when there is a large disposal of batteries to take into consideration, what about safety procautions etc, etc. To suggest a new fuel or propulsion alternative is a huge undertaking, remember at the onset of the automobile we were starting with a clean slate, only horse mess to clean up.
I know I’ve run off at a tangent, so back to the point, I’m glad that a short term solution was averted even though it was a valid consideration to promote a green cause but until that cause is sustainable let’s keep the money for parking and put it to a far better cause, like, repairing the roads!