The City of Tartu has decided to lift a regulation currently allowing the owners of hybrid or fully electric vehicles to park in the city's paid parking areas for free, proposing that only fully electric vehicles be granted the benefit going forward, regional daily Tartu Postimees said.
The paper pointed out that the number of permits for free parking issued to such vehicles in Tartu has surged from 35 four years ago to 90 in 2016, 206 in 2017 and 300 in 2018.
In a situation where hybrid technology is becoming increasingly widespread and the number of such vehicles is growing rapidly in Estonia's second biggest city, the city government has made a proposal to Tartu City Council to leave free parking in force only for fully electric vehicles in the future.
According to Kadi Metsma, a specialist with the Tartu city government's traffic organisation service, there are currently some 220 such vehicles that have been cleared for free parking in Tartu.
The reasoning cited in the draft to amend the regulation on free parking in the city is that while fully electric vehicles have no local carbon dioxide footprint, hybrid vehicles run on green electricity approximately one-third of the time, and on fossil fuel for about two-thirds of the time, and thus cannot be considered emissions-free.
Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm (Reform) has also pointed out that other cities in Estonia have likewise opted not to offer free parking to hybrid vehicles in their paid parking areas.
In accordance with the draft filed with the council, the amendment scrapping free parking for hybrid vehicles in Tartu would enter into effect on 1 January 2021.
Editor: Aili Vahtla