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Proposed Law in Washington Would Ticket Motorists for Parking in Charging Stations – What’s a Charging Station?

New WA law tickets you if you park in electric car charging station
(Photo by Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images)

The electric boogaloo has struck again in Olympia.

Gov. Inslee this week signed a bill that will fine motorists $124 if they park illegally in a space reserved as a charging station for electric cars. Sponsored by Sen. Rodney Tom (D) of Seattle, it was patterned after the handicap parking statute. The bill, which goes into effect July 28, will not just impact public stations. From Fox Q13 TV:

The bill creates a parking infraction with a penalty of $124 for any person parking a vehicle in an electric-vehicle charging station if the vehicle is not connected to the charging equipment. The parking infraction applies to both public and private electric-vehicle charging stations.

However, who is it really going to affect? We did some checking. According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, as of December 2012 there were a total of 4,588 all-electric vehicles operating on Washington roads. At least two-thirds of them (over 2,800) are in Snohomish (355), Pierce (247) and King (2,206) counties.

We don’t think this is going to affect us much. According to the same DOL statistics, here’s the electric car breakdown for the counties in eastern and southeastern Washington:

  • Benton 113 cars
  • Franklin 9 cars
  • Adams 2 cars
  • Grant 73 cars
  • Walla Walla 26 cars
A grand total of 224 electric vehicles in our neck of the woods. Walla Walla County has fewer electric cars now than in 2011.
So how many of us will be getting tickets? Of the estimated 5,734 public charging stations in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy,  there are a whopping six public charging outlets in our region: one in Walla Walla, one in Ellensburg/Yakima, and three in Wenatchee.
In the Tri-Cities, unless you park in the charging space at Bill Robertson Nissan in Pasco, just off Highway 395, you should be safe.



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