Reader Question: Virtue-Signaling Parking Spots?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Glenn asks: Our family recently visited the Smucker’s Company outlet in Orville, Ohio.  This company is a large conglomerate owning Jiffy Peanut Butter, Crisco, and several other brands.  The experience was fun except we had some difficulty finding a spot to park in their lot.  I noticed a number of empty spots reserved for “alternative fuel vehicles only,” next to ADA handicap parking spots. Is this a new trend or just virtue signaling?

My reply: It’s both.

You may already be familiar with other examples of special consideration given “alternative fuel vehicles,” such as being permitted to use HOV lanes, even when they are not Highly Occupied (i.e., they are exempted from the usual HOV requirement of 2-3 people in the car).

And of course, there are the tax rebates and other financial inducements.

But what you saw is slightly different in that it’s probably not a government mandate – like handicapped (whoops, differently abled) parking spots. Instead, it is a private business doing just what you’ve said – signaling its virtue.

One could have some fun with this. Assuming it is in fact a private business, they can’t ticket you for using the spot. They might be able to tow you. But what defines “alternate fuel” vehicle? What if I alternate between premium unleaded and regular? That’s certainly an alternative fuel situation, eh?

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. There is a picture of a pickup floating around the net, that is painted green parked in a “green” parking spot. Pretty funny.

  2. Yeah..the ‘green’ parking spaces have been happening. I also get tired of the yuppie human incubator spots which would be better put to use for those folks whose disabilities aren’t self-inflicted with simple intention of spawning little tax-deductions.

    Alas.. businesses these days really like to massage the butthurt and jerk off the narcissists.

  3. We have “fuel efficient vehicle” parking at my local library. i park my minivan there all the time because it’s right next to the handicap. When i look over there are no hybrids parked in those spots either. Everyone knows that signs like “alternative fuel” or “fuel efficient vehicle” can be ignored.

  4. Park 10 bicycles in the spot, tell them they are fueled by the sugar in their food product, haha. I hate places that do that “reward for desired behavior” crap………….are we properly potty-trained little doggies now?

  5. I’ve put my 86 diesel k5 blazer in those spots…it uses biodiesel, or rather what ever little amount of it the station blends in


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