Will You Be Charged For Not Charging?
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Apr. 30, 2013
As more electric vehicles are hitting the road, more charging stations are popping up across the desert.
But are gas-fueled cars stealing those spots?
Frank from Palm Desert thinks so, he wrote us, "I think you should investigate why gas cars in our desert are parking in spots reserved for electric cars... Are there fines for this, like parking in a handicap spot?!"
It's the law in California, only vehicles plugged into charging stalls are supposed to be parking in electric car spaces.
But we learned that the city of Palm Desert isn't enforcing that law.
So, will you get charged, for not charging?
You can find electric charging stations scattered across Palm Desert, also hybrid and clean air vehicle spaces .
Robin Johnson of Rancho Mirage gets to park a little closer because of her car.
"Well if the intent is to encourage people to do things that will improve the environment, and help us save money on gas and oil and so forth, there probably should be some consequence to parking illegally in those spaces," said Johnson.
In a hybrid only parking spot we found one hybrid, and one car not supposed to be there.
"It's definitely not as bad as parking in a handicapped spot. but I think that the cities have set up these things to benefit those that are doing things that are green," said Temecula resident, Don Woo.
Could you face a fine if you're found parked in one these spots that are meant for hybrid or electric vehicles?
"No, they probably would not receive a citation at this point," said Palm Desert Compliance Supervisor, Pedro Rodriguez.
The city of Palm Desert doesn't have any enforceable rules for non-electric parking in these spaces.
But they do have a row of electric car-charging stations at Civic Center Park.
"Occasionally there may be a car or two that will park here, but I think we rely on common courtesy when people see the signs," said Rodriguez.
But if the parking lot is private property, then you could have your car towed.
"There is a vehicle code section that allows private property owners to remove vehicles that are parked in stalls that are designated for charging electric vehicles," said Rodriguez.
But drivers told me most people respect the signs.
"I believe in hybrids, I think they are definitely better for the environment, as a matter of fact, if I could afford one, I'd get one," said Woo.
"Most of the people here in my experience, they haven't parked in there, so it sounds like the good neighbor thing is working and that's okay with me," said Johnson.
The city tells us that if they get a lot of complaints about this, they may look into enforcement of the electric charging spaces.
Also, the law says it must be posted at the parking space that you could be towed if you aren't plugged in.