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Free Parking For Ugly Cars!
Well, actually, it's free parking for hybrid cars, but you have to plaster your car with big ugly stickers (photo of Mitchell Rose holding them here). First, here's the news on free parking for hybrids in the City Of Los Angeles:

Free Parking for Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (SULEVs) and certain Hybrid Vehicles - Pilot Program

If you own a Zero Emission Vehicle or Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle as defined by the California Air Resources Board, you may purchase a California Clean Air Vehicle Decal from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you have purchased and affixed the decal to your vehicle per DMV instructions, you can park without depositing coins at on- and off-street metered parking spaces throughout the City of Los Angeles (however, you remain subject to the posted time limit restrictions and other higher order parking restrictions like Tow Away and Street Cleaning.)

On October 1, 2004, participation in this free metered parking program was extended to four hybrid vehicle models: the Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and the Ford Escape Hybrid. The eight-month pilot program for hybrid vehicles is due to expire at midnight on June 30, 2006.

And here's the note I wrote to LA DOT:

Isn't there some alternative to using those big ugly stickers? My vehicle is a Honda Insight. I get 66mpg hwy, but to get such good mileage, they had to make my car tiny (only 1900 lbs). The sticker will cover and ugly up my whole car. I would have paid for a special license plate or anything to not be ugly like that. Will I get a ticket if I don't cover my whole car with stickers? It's about the size of a bathtub, for goodness sake!

Awaiting word. As is my little car.


Oh, did I mention that I have to get gas every two months?

Posted by aalkon at September 28, 2005 9:47 AM

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Just got totally screwed on this as the city of Los Angeles has recently changed the rules. Used to be you could simply park your hybrid, without stickers or anything, and not have to put money in the meter. The sticker requirement is new and was not, in my humble opinion, adequately advertised -- and led to me getting ticketed in Venice last week. Grrr.

Be warned, oh my fellow hybrid drivers.

I too now have my uglyuglyugly stickers and am putting off the evil moment of actually having to affix them. (They double as a passport to the diamond lane on the freeways, too, so they may be ugly but they are undeniably useful.)

Posted by: Andrew Gumbel at September 28, 2005 11:30 AM

Where ARE the diamond lanes in LA? I don't think I ever see any.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 28, 2005 12:09 PM

I know there are diamond lanes on the SB 405 from the airport south to past Long Beach (and northbound in the same stretch). Also east and west bound in various stretches of the 10 between LA and Palm Springs. Those are the only two freeways I'm ever on anymore.

Posted by: deja pseu at September 28, 2005 1:15 PM

I've always wondered why people's license plate numbers are always obscured on TV, in print, and oftentimes online. I don't know if it's anything to worry about, but we can see your license plate numbers in the photo.

Posted by: nash at September 28, 2005 10:33 PM

Thanks, Nash...I thought about that for a second...but is there really anything anybody can do with that?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 28, 2005 11:14 PM

I find it hilarious that you need FOUR! big ugly yellow stickers on cars that look like spaceships and so don't blend in at all. Especially when registration stickers are like two inches long and somehow the cops have no trouble picking you out and ticketing you for expired tags.

Posted by: secretagent at October 6, 2005 12:46 PM

I know. Yesterday a parking enforcement guy in Silverlake told me they don't ticket if it's obviously a hybrid. Hope he's right. This is the first new car I've ever had, and it would be nice if it didn't look like some kid's lunchbox with wheels a little over a year after I bought it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 6, 2005 5:18 PM

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