Dear Street Smarts,
Ramona, you wrote in last Thursday's Street Smarts column about free parking and charging for electric vehicles that ''The electricity cost are also subsidized as only a public utility can charge for power usage,' Granlund said.' Am I paying for this through a 'fee' on my vehicle registration or is it a 'fee' on my outrageous PG&E bill, or is it hidden somewhere else?
Terry L. Swinggi, via email
The subsidized parking is paid for with money from the Downtown Parking Fund or the city's general fund, depending on the location of the electric vehicle charger, said Marlin Granlund, parking program manager.
Giving some perspective on how many vehicles are using the free charging stations, Granlund said that in June and July of 2013, 91 electric vehicles charged up for a total of 415 kilowatts -- or 63 hours of charging -- at the cost of $87.
Again, the city is allowing free charging through 2015 to support green car owners as well as local business. However, Ecology Action, whish is located in the old Sentinel building downtown has began charging users of its parking lot's charging stations, Granlund said. Depending on the voltage used, a four hour charging session costs between $2.50 and $7.50 for a four.
Free electric vehicle charging stations are not uncommon, with programs existing in city's up and down the state. An interesting story printed in January 2013 by the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles International did away with its free charging stations because a mob scene was occurring with all the electric vehicle owners stalking the two lots that featured free charging stations for power cords.
According to the DMV, of California's nearly 30.5 million strong vehicle population, a small number are alternatively fueled. Here's the breakdown:
- Alcohol -- 0
- Butane -- 873
- Diesel -- 995,766
- Gasoline -- 26,103,813
- Methanol -- 322
- Natural gas -- 21,221
- Liquefied natural gas -- 2,780
- Hybrid -- 710,593
- Total -- 27,983,867
Now, here are the numbers for Santa Cruz County (the DMV could not provide statistics for each city):
- Electric -- 429
- Diesel -- 14,267
- Hybrid -- 6,950
- Gasoline -- 279,875
- Natural Gas -- 147
As one of Street Smarts' readers posted after last week's column, the oil industry is subsidized and in recent years, members of the American automobile industry were, too. The disabled park for free in lots and at meters. Is $91 spent to allow EV owners to charge for free during the city's busy summer season too much to bear? As another reader commented, he spends ample time -- and money -- enjoying downtown eateries and shops while his car charges for free. Perhaps, the dollars electric vehicle owners spend downtown in turn pay for the subsidy, possibly making programs such as these, make sense.
Where the cheapest car insurance rates are in California
Santa Cruz ranked 39th among the cheapest automobile insurance rates among the Golden State's 210 cities, according to a survey by ValuePenguin.Com.
In Santa Cruz, single drivers pay $978 annually for their policies while married motorists pay $918 a year. The city fell between Redding, $974 single and $926 married, and Valley Springs, $983 single and $939 married.
The least expensive car insurance rates can be found in Calexico, $866 for single people versus $841 for those who are married. Meanwhile, the most expensive rates are in Glendale, $1,823 for single drivers and $1,740 for married.
Other cities on the Central Coast ranked cheaper than Santa Cruz, with Monterey coming in 29th place among cities with inexpensive car insurance rates, Seaside was 30th, Watsonville ranked 31 and Hollister and Salinas came in 32nd and 33rd, respectively.
Read the entire survey results online at: http://www.valuepenguin.com/best-cheap-car-insurance-california#sthash.qEthD4Ad.dpuf