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SLC reduces the number of cars that qualify for free parking within city limits

(Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – There’s an unpleasant rule change for certain clean car owners.  Some of them will no longer be able park for free in Salt Lake City beginning in January.

For more than ten years, the city has allowed “clean cars” to park for free within city limits.  However, city officials say that list hadn’t been updated, at all, since the program began.

“You had some vehicles on there that, at the time, were ‘efficient,’ but they were actually all-gas vehicles.  They just happened to be very efficient gas vehicles,” according to City Spokesman Matthew Rojas.

The EPA has maintained an updated list of clean cars on their SmartWay Vehicles Standards list, and Rojas says the city has chosen to match these federal standards more closely.  That means some of the vehicles on the city’s approved list had to be taken off.

Rojas says, “The vehicles that are really coming off of that are the first-generation hybrid vehicles.”

City officials say their main goal was to incentivize people to own the cleanest cars on the market.

“We’ve seen an explosion of more efficient vehicles, especially hybrid and electric, over the last few years,” Rojas says.

Salt Lake City Mayor-Elect Erin Mendenhall issued a statement saying…

“Rather than creating new barriers for a growing component of the automotive market that supports cleaner air, we should be incentivizing access to and use of those vehicles. In the areas where we can control electric vehicle incentives, we should be strengthening them.

We’re ready to create a meaningful impact on air quality. This is a successful program that encourages the use of alternative fuel, hybrid, and electric vehicles in our city that costs relatively little compared to other air quality investments the city makes.

The future of the automobile industry is electric and we should take another look at eligibility for the SLC Green parking permit.”