Friday, July 22, 2011

The Hybrid Elite

Reserver parking sign for hybrid vehicles at a...Image via WikipediaI hate elitism of any kind.  Usually when I hear the term, it is used in regards to liberals who feel they know better how we should live than we the people do.  Little things like trying to dictate the types of diets we should have and the kind of light bulbs we should use.  Anything the political elite decides is best for us because the rest of us in the masses are usually too dumb to know what s best or to understand what they are trying to do.

While those examples of elitism is what I usually think of when I hear the word, I also associate it with anything that sets one group of people who behave or act a certain way up with special privileges that the rest of the general public does not have the same access to.   I saw an example of that this morning.

My mother was going to the hospital this morning for a surgical procedure.  My wife and I decided to drive up to the hospital to see her before she went in and to sit with my father for a little while.  We pulled into the parking garage and began looking for a space to park. We were greeted with a row of six or more parking spaces in a prime location that were empty because they were reserved for a certain class of drivers.

No, they were not reserved spaces for people who require handicapped parking spaces.  I would not have a problem with that.  People who have mobility issues need to have those special parking spaces.  It particularly irks me to see somebody pull into one of those spaces with a handicap permit and watch somebody hop out of the car without a trace of a hitch in their giddy-up, if you know what I mean. These were spaces reserved for a special group of elite drivers; those who drive hybrid vehicles.

These types of signs are showing up a lot more these days.  In fact, the photo of the sign that Zemanta recommended that I used in this post is taken from a parking lot at a shopping mall in Northern Virginia, just down the road a spell.  Not only are these folks allowed prime parking spots in malls, but in some of the jurisdictions around here, if you are driving a hybrid car you are no longer subject to HOV lane restrictions, which in my mind is another form of elitism.

Personally, I would love to have a hybrid vehicle.  Not so that I could park in special spots or use the HOV lanes when I am by myself, but for the gasoline mileage.  The plain truth is, that I just can not afford one, even with the tax incentives that have been offered for them.  Still, it should not make one eligible for special privileges for those that can while the rest of us poor saps have to schlep around in our old fashioned, good ol', gasoline only powered vehicles. 
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  1. Agreed- maybe in the near future there would be some spaces reserved around a remote charging station, but not in the prime location spots.

  2. I remember reading an article earlier this year about a company that was installing charging stations. It talked about how long it takes to fully charge a car. I think it was something like 4-8 hours. The technology has a long way to go

  3. I recognize that spot! Tysons Corner.

    The thing I don't like about this is that I interpret this more as a gimmick than anything else. Being able to park near Coastal Flats at Tysons Corner is not incentive to buy a hybrid. Driving in the HOV lane might be.

    Dickster, I know you've described yourself as having libertarian tendencies. Is there any incentive program (like HOV or hybrids in HOV) that you would support?

    With regard to the charge times for electric cars, I think the charge time varies based on available equipment. I think the short end of the range is for a higher capacity outlet or charging station, and the high end of the range is plugging into a standard 110V outlet.



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