The state of Washington will soon fine drivers for parking in front of charging stations intended for electric cars.
Imagine pulling up to a gas station where every pump was occupied, only no one was pumping any gas. This is the situation that plagues many of the state’s 2,500 residents who drive electronic vehicles. Gas cars often park in front of electronic charging stations simply because they have no reason not to, aside from the goodness of their hearts.
The Washington State Legislature passed a bill late last month that throws a $124 fine at any gas powered car that parks in front of an electronic charging station. It also fines electronic cars that are parked but not using the charging station at the moment.
But what if you didn’t see the charging station? That excuse won’t fly much longer. The bill requires that parking spots be marked by a vertical sign and green pavement.
The new fine should provide comfort not only to Washington’s current electric car drivers, but to people on the fence about buying one as well. Having better access to charging stations should help alleviate the concern that an electric car will die at the most inconvenient of times.
“We need to encourage the use of electronic vehicles,” State Senator Rodney Tom told a local newspaper. He introduced the bill in hopes of helping Washington transition to the use of cleaner modes of transportation.
The proposal had bipartisan support in the state government. It first passed the Republican-controlled Senate with 43 out of 49 votes in favor. It then passed the Democrat-controlled House 84 – 12.
The Obama administration continues to push for the adoption of electronic vehicles across the country. In the 2014 budget plan recently sent to Congress, Obama called for a 75 percent increase in the Department of Energy’s vehicle research budget.
In his own budget plan, Washington Governor Jay Inslee proposed $9 million in funding to improve the state’s infrastructure for electric vehicles. The money would provide for the construction of up to 50 fast-charging stations along several highways. Charging stations would also be added in around 150 public and private workplaces throughout the state.
Being an inconsiderate electronic charging station blocker will become much more expensive in Washington once fines start being issued in early August.