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100th Driver Signs Up For Free Parking

Bill Rinehart

A city program in Cincinnati that lets owners of electric cars park for free has just received its 100th member.  City spokesman Rocky Merz says despite falling gas prices, the program has "picked up steam."

“In fact, this past year we saw a 48 percent increase in the number of cars participating in the program, which really demonstrates there’s been a lot of interest in electric cars,” he says.

Even with low gas prices, Merz says it’s still cheaper to power a car with electricity than with gasoline.  As of Tuesday morning, according to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular was $1.79 in Cincinnati.  A year ago it was $2.40.

Merz says the program was started in 2008 to encourage more people to buy electric cars. 

“The purpose really is to encourage electric vehicles, which are cleaner in terms of emissions. They help the air quality. They reduce smog. And anytime you’ve got a new technology there’s always a higher cost at first.”

Merz says the program was created to offset that cost.

The free parking offer extends to the city-owned Garfield Garage on West Ninth, and at parking meters. However, time limits still apply.

The program doesn't cover hybrid vehicles.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.