Friday, June 20, 2008

Prefered Parking for Gas-Sippers (in Theory...)

This shot was taken at a new Costco near the New Jersey shore. What is it about "fuel efficient" that these SUV drivers don't understand?! I love that Costco striped these parking spots in bright green and marked them "FUEL EFFICIENT CARE AND CARPOOL PARKING", right near the entrance. (I recently read that this past year only one new mall was built in the USA, but that's mostly because big box stores have edged out malls....)
These goodwill green policies are hard to enforce, but they're effective conscious raisers. Though they can create bad news, too. If I drove my Prius there and found these tanks in "my" spot, I would certainly be annoyed. Wonder if Costco would do anything to enforce this? Of course driving a fuel efficient vehicle is its own reward, but it's fun at long last to see the United States retrofitting its systems, as well as its thinking.


Elizabeth said...

I can understand your annoyance ( I've not been able to get my child who uses a chair in a few times when someone decides to park in the striped loading zone next to a wheelchair space) but maybe some of those big vehicles were used by more than 1 person -- and parked there for the carpool space? I know that I plan trips with some of my friends and we take the minivan to pack to the brim when we go to our salvage stores every few months.

But I'm very glad that you are able to use a gas sipper. Our family would like one, but can't fit our kids & equipment in one. For now, we think of "people miles" -- we get 6 x the 22 mpg our Grand Caravan gets if we think of it that way :)

Peter Schott said...

I was thinking the same thing - "maybe they're used for _carpooling_" just like the words indicate. Also, some people have tested hybrid SUVs and gotten > 20mpg on them. Not wonderful, but a long way from what most SUVs get normally.

Seems odd to see parking spaces for carpoolers at a store, though. What makes it a carpooling trip? Our family typically goes out together which is automatically more than 1 person - would we count or not?

Elizabeth, I hear you on the need for larger vehicles at times. It is more efficient (and less stressful) in most cases to take 1 larger vehicle than 2 smaller ones. Kind of like taking a bus for 40 people vs. making 10 trips in an economy car. :)

Peter Schott said...

Oh, and I'd agree in general that it's good we're finally seeing a change of thinking. I wish it weren't coming in such a way that everyone is affected, but it is good. Sadly, trying to get efficient public transportation is an even harder battle to fight just because we're so spread out. It will not come to my area anytime soon because we're in the suburbs and have < 3000 people. Sad, because I'd love to take a train to a major hub just to avoid driving it, even if it adds 10-15 minutes to my commute.

Betsy Teutsch said...

Betsy here. Sometimes I take a friend with me to Costco, which is efficient and fun. But in my experience with my Forester (a mini-SUV - I am not entitled to one of their preferred green parking spots), you can't take more than one other person or your STUFF doesn't fit into the car. Club shopping presumes large quantities, not just a few bags of groceries.
So I think the carpool idea is more theoretical.
There are hybrid SUV's, as you point out, but while they're perhaps more fuel efficient than normal SUV's, I wouldn't really call them fuel efficient when compared to sedans.