ARC attempts to help students go green


In the newly available parking garage, electric vehicles get priority parking privileges along side handicapped parking on the first floor. (Photo by Emily K. Rabasto)

Mark Ahling and Mark Ahling

Electric parking spots remain empty 

Don’t be fuelish! If you haven’t seen the phrase yet, you will, because it may be the message American River College is sending its students. The sales of electric vehicles are on the rise, and the availability of vehicle charging spaces is growing. However the new electric vehicle charging spaces at ARC have seen very little usage since the structure’s dedication on Feb. 19, 2013.

Students driving gas-powered vehicles are happily parking a bit further away in the other 1,700 empty spots available in the new garage. Meanwhile, most of the front-row electric vehicle spots have remained empty.

According to an ARC administration representative, the 15 electric vehicle designated stalls are open to all people who drive any type of electric vehicle, some of which are also marked as handicapped. Parking your gas powered vehicle in an electric vehicle or handicapped designated spot would carry a $33 fine, much like parking in a red zone. A representative of the Los Rios Police Department confirmed this and stated that no citations have been issued for any such infractions yet.

There is no additional fee for electric vehicle owners to park in these spots, which means owners of these energy efficient vehicles can virtually fill up for free.

Car manufacturers predict sales increase in the purchase of electric vehicles this year to more than double those of 2012. The average cost of an electric vehicle is around $30,000, and the Chevrolet Volt was by far the most popular version of the plug-in model, selling over 23,000 units last year.

Plug-in and Hybrid car charging stations are becoming more and more common these days. Due to incentives through the Federal and State Governments, sales of electric and Hybrid vehicles tripled in 2012, according to a report by CNN Money.

Tax breaks, rebates, and front row parking spots still are not enough to drive masses of people into dealerships to buy these potentially eco-friendly vehicles, which may be why you haven’t seen many parked at ARC yet. As gas prices continue to rise and the cost of electric vehicles drop, you may start to see those valuable spaces fill up.