Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hybrid Parking Only?

Houston Chronicle business journalist Loren Steffy takes time out from covering the energy beat to foment discontent over the idea of giving parking spaces to hybrid vehicles.

Special treatment for hybrids is on the rise. Cities, including Houston, have considered parking preferences and allowing hybrids access to HOV lanes. Part of the problem with these policies, though, is determiningwhat is actually a hybrid.
It's bad enough that many malls and shopping centers now offer pretentious valet services that commandeer the best parking spaces. (Shouldn't they be taking the ones farthest away? Isn't that the point of having a valet?) Now, we have to put up with auto discrimination?
So far, retailers aren't actually enforcing the hybrid-only spaces. They seem more concerned with making a statement. That's always a dangerous move for a retailer, because it risks alienating customers -- especially if you're, say, a home repair retailer with a large block of pickup-driving customers.

The real money shot is in Loren's conclusion, which displays great contrarian insight:

Well, if Ikea really wants to be green conscious, it should put its preferred Prius parking at the far end of the lot. After all, the most green-conscious transportation of all is walking. Meanwhile, the rest of us gas-burning slobs would use less fuel trolling the lot for a decent space.

I suppose it's asking too much for virtue to be it's own reward, rather than demanding special treatment as a consequence of doing something perceived as virtuous.

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