Recently, certain public entities, including both The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College, have designated premium parking places for low emissions and/or high efficiency vehicles. The message behind these policies is not subtle: “We, the administration of these institutions, care about the environment, and we want to reward people who drive these types of cars since they are also more caring people.”
I’m not quite sure why there hasn’t been a revolt against these asinine policies, but, living up to my pen name, allow me to start one. Heck, I’ll even do it the hard way. I’m not even going to argue, though it’s true, that the effects of global warming are highly unlikely to significantly harm life on Earth, and they just might benefit it. There are plenty of other reasons these policies should be abandoned.
First of all, privileged parking spaces are, and I love turning this around on the liberals, classist. These policies favor students who can afford to buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars. Liberal academics love lecturing us on the importance of diversity, but when the guy who works two jobs to afford tuition rolls up in his 1989 Buick Regal, trying to become the first person in his family to graduate from college, they make him park out in the boondocks. Better yet, if he and a couple of friends carpool, they can still hike to class from the next zip code.
Secondly, these policies won’t reduce emissions. It’s unlikely that someone’s going to shell out money for a new car just to get a better parking space. But even worse, students who drive SUVs are going to find it even harder to locate a parking space now that all of the good little boys and girls have taken up the prime spots. So they’ll just drive around and around looking for parking spaces, as the air turns black with exhaust and the earth continues to bake.
Thirdly, rewarding environmental sensitive car owners neglects other owners whose choice of vehicle also demonstrates that they are very caring people. For example, about a year ago, I purchased a new car that had excellent braking. (I know: sexy). In fact, my car has a 60-0 braking distance that is twenty-odd feet less than another one I was considering. That’s the difference between a) stopping before you hit someone, and b) completely running over them with both sets of tires.
Why shouldn’t I get a privileged parking spot? Haven’t I shown that I’m more caring than some random Prius owner? I mean, what’s more likely: having to brake hard to avoid an accident, or the Earth bursting into flames? Furthermore, allowing me to park closer to the entrance will avoid even more accidents when I have to stop for unruly children running out into the parking lot. And what about those people who own those high-end Mercedes with that Attention Assist System that wakes you up when you’re falling asleep? They seem to care a lot about their fellow drivers. Let’s give them a good parking spot too.
The reward for owning a fuel efficient vehicle should be . . . well, owning a fuel efficient vehicle. I don’t have a problem giving preferential parking to the handicapped, or expectant mothers, or veterans, or even people with really short legs. But the guy with the Smart Car can duke it out with the rest of us to find a space at the back of the lot. As that astute political observer Eric Cartman would say, this environmental moralizing is all a bunch of tree hugging hippie crap.