Preferential parking programmes

Studies have indicated that reduced parking fees can be a strong incentive for using clean vehicles – particularly in crowded cities. Special parking zones in cities give incentives to consumers to purchase fuel efficient vehicles when these vehicles are given special parking privileges in conditions of parking scarcity. Some cities even provide free parking for electric vehicles and hybrids.


Sweden has a well-developed program on clean vehicles and as part of that provides free parking for electric vehicles and other clean vehicles. Stockholm has strict parking rules with high parking fees in the inner city zones during business hours. Citizens driving clean vehicle and living in the central part of the city can however apply for a free parking permit. Normally this permit costs 5000 SEK (about 600 €) per year. This system includes biogas, ethanol, electric and electric hybrid vehicles. Private companies that use cars extensively within the city centre can apply for a special free parking permit for commercial clean vehicles (regular price 850 E/year).

New Zealand

In Christchurch, hybrid vehicles are entitled to an hour of free parking in city council parking buildings. Where those buildings already provide an hour free, hybrid vehicles are entitled to an extra hour free.


In addition to access to high-occupancy lanes on highways, some states, e.g. California, exempt hybrid electric cars from the biennial smog inspection, which costs over $50 (as of 2004).

The city of San Jose, California issued a free parking tag until 2007 when it became issued for a fee annually for hybrid electric cars that were purchased at a San Jose dealership. The qualified owners do not have to pay for parking in any city garage or road side parking meters.

The city of Los Angeles, California offers free parking to all HEVs which started on 1 October 2004. The experiment is an extension to an existing offer of free parking for all pure electrical vehicles.

In October, 2005, the city of Baltimore, Maryland started to offer discounts on monthly parking in the city parking lots, and is considering free meter parking for HEVs.

The information contained on this website is intended as practical guidance coupled with examples of auto fuel economy policies and approaches in use around the world. It is not a complete collection of all national examples, nor does it track national and global progress on improving auto fuel economy. It is a work in progress and is updated regularly.This website does not support IE 5 and below.


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