The parking situation in Madrid, Spain went through two big changes this week. In some areas, the meters have been updated to know what kind of vehicle is parked there and charge dirty vehicles more money while giving discounts to cleaner ones. In another area, all parking meters have been removed. We'll call it mixed messaging.

"Vehicles with lower emissions will be subsidized, and the most polluting will be punished." – Mayor of Madrid

In an effort to clean up Madrid's air, upgraded smart meters now require drivers to input their license plate number to validate the spot. The networked meters look up the vehicle information in a national database and then can charge more (up to 20 percent) for older vehicles and diesel models. It can also give discounts (again, up to 20 percent) for hybrids and other clean rides. Bloomberg reports that Mayor Ana Botella was pretty straightforward in a press release: "Vehicles with lower emissions will be subsidized, and the most polluting will be punished."
In another part of town, the suburb of Carabanchel, an eight-year battle against parking meters ended this week when the city simply removed the meters there. The suburb is around 5.6 miles from central Madrid and residents has been fighting the meters since 2006. On June 30, Mayor Botella simply got rid of them, which let to street celebrations (pictured).

But back to the connected meters. The first of the now 4,000 units were installed in 2006, but the database look-up feature wasn't turned before now. The meters can also raise prices when things get too congested. We can only imagine how popular a service like Monkey Parking would be when that happens.



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  • 55 Comments
      Koenigsegg
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sounds great
      colin.shark
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why don't they just... tax the vehicles directly at registration... instead of installing expensive meters. Is it really necessary to tax a dirty vehicle who parks often more than a normal dirty vehicle? Sounds like the meter manufacturers had a great sales pitch, or just greased some palms.
        Julio B
        • 8 Months Ago
        @colin.shark
        That is not so fair. I owned a V8 gas guzzler but only drove it about 1,000 miles a year, car collectors would be getting hit at registration although they won't use the car as much. The gas tax would be the most fair IMHO.
      Scr
      • 8 Months Ago
      ANOTHER tax on the poor. These well meaning enviroweenie government tools never look to see the consequences of their stupid ideas
        Zoom
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Scr
        I don't think it's a tax on the poor. In Europe, the poor take mass transit which is abundant. Cars are expensive in Europe, much more than in the US. If someone can afford a car and the fuel to drive, they can afford to pay 20% to park their dirty car.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Scr
        I see, so those who pollute more, imposing very real costs on society, should not pay more. Asking them to do so means you are an enviroweenie. Good argument. Well reasoned.
          b.rn
          • 8 Months Ago
          @ElectricAvenue
          That's what gas tax is for. This is just another PC tax.
      SpikedLemon
      • 8 Months Ago
      For all those calling out for higher fuel taxes or registration costs: keep in mind this is a battle for money by a different level of government. Fuel taxes are likely a federal tax or, at best, state. This is city revenue.
      • 8 Months Ago
      So what if I pulled up in my 1971 Hemi Cuda? That thing gets 8 MPG if I drive it like grandma. Is the meter gonna know that this thing leaves a bigger carbon footprint than the Air Force One?
      dukeisduke
      • 8 Months Ago
      And this in a country that's practically bankrupt. Awesome.
      johnnyhedwardsjr
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why would "older" vehicles have to pay additional money? Doesn't it take create pollution and waste to make a new car and ship it across the world than than to drive the same car for 15 years? Not to mention that people that have older cars may also have less money. Meaning that they are basically taxing you because you're too poor to afford a new car.
        BG
        • 8 Months Ago
        @johnnyhedwardsjr
        Or it means they are taxing you because you were frugal and kept your old car.
        Goahead
        • 8 Months Ago
        @johnnyhedwardsjr
        It doesn't matter if a vehicle is older. I think any vehicles who pollutes more, deserves to pay more because of impact on the environment. Unfortunately nobody in this world cannot stop auto makers to stop creating new cars. It's about people having jobs to put food on the table and helping each country's economy. I understand poor cannot afford new cars. So does that mean they have the right to pollute more? It's like illegal immigration in our country. Do you think illegal immigrants deserve to illegally cross the border and stay here just because they are poor? This is a perfect analogy to your comment.
          DarylMc
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Goahead
          Hi Goahead Yeah something like that. As others have said, probably better addressed by gasoline taxes. I wish I had a fancy term to add but I think just because the technology exists to do this does not make it a good idea.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Goahead
          Goahead, Poor countries pollute more per capita than wealthy ones. "Tax the poor, feed the rich till their are no poor no more, tell me where is sanity, I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do." Alvin Lee, Ten Years After Actually the song went "Tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more."
      Actionable Mango
      • 8 Months Ago
      If older vehicles are charged more, it also sounds like the poor will be punished and those people who can afford a new car every couple of years will be subsidized.
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Eventually the pols will give stipends to the poor to offset the costs in a proven tactic to buy the votes of the poor.
        ctsmith1066
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Luckily, Madrid has a very comprehensive and affordable public transit system.
        johnb
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        thankfully I'm not in madrid, but if the people there want this and like it. have at it.
          BG
          • 8 Months Ago
          @johnb
          Hmm, let's see. Madrid: sophisticated, interesting architecture, tremendous historical heritage, great cuisine, art, gorgeous slim women, public transport system. Yes, I guess they can have it; I'd rather have Jackson or Flint or Phoenix or....
          johnb
          • 8 Months Ago
          @johnb
          sounds like utopia BG. why haven't you moved yet? :)
        Goahead
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        I understand your point. But technically older cars DO pollute more which is a fact. It's like when you have more points on your driver's license, you have to pay higher auto insurance. I am not trying to defend new or older car drivers. It's about general social responsibility in the society. I think people who are smokers, diabetic, or obese, they should deserve to pay higher health insurance premiums because you know the answer.
          Actionable Mango
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Goahead
          I believe that point was already made in the article itself. I'm merely pointing out the side effects not mentioned there.
        11fiveoh
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Maybe it'll make the poor strive to do better for themselves. HA jk.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Well the poor elected these enviros so it is only just they suffer.
          IBx27
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          The people who voted for Rick Perry have prospered with a booming economy. If you don't live in Texas, and you don't get to experience first-hand the advantages of how we do what we do, you don't need to talk about it.
          knightrider_6
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Just like the people who voted for Rick Perry! It is only just that they are still poor
          Zoom
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          @IB: Like your neighborhoods blowing up next to fertilizer plants?
        FuelToTheFire
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        And what is wrong with that? It is feeble minded peasants like you who hate successful people like me who work hard and have the right genes ,who are ruining the country. Success and hard work, of which buying new cars is a hallmark of, should be rewarded, not punished.
          clquake
          • 8 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Don't you drive a Hummer? A make that ceased to exist in 2009?
      W. Gregory
      • 8 Months Ago
      Coming soon to California, Oregon, Washington, and New York City
        knightrider_6
        • 8 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Makes sense. Poor states like Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee can't afford these meters anyways.
          John Doe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          @bbostic5 California is no longer bankrupt, we removed the republication and increased taxes.
          Zoom
          • 8 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          @JD: Hmmm...CA has a surplus of billions and booming economy. Take your hate elsewhere.
          IBx27
          • 8 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          John Doe, that's precisely why you're bankrupt.
          bbostic5
          • 8 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          Really? Last time I checked, blue states like California are bankrupt
        Nick Allain
        • 8 Months Ago
        @W. Gregory
        Yeah, probably. We already let efficient expensive vehicles in the carpool lanes while the old cars filled with poor people idle in traffic. This is also very similar to San Francisco's recycling policies - greenies ruining life for everyone else to make themselves feel better. Could they have a garbage sorting facility? Sure, but then couldn't raise your rates if you get some the recycling mixed up with the composting or composting in the trash. We got a notice the other day saying that our rates will go up 50% because we failed their "trash audit". What in the folsom-street-fair is a "trash audit"?
          DarylMc
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Nick Allain
          50% increase in rates! Garbage compliance must be excellent in that city. Hopefully it's a hollow threat but you really should do the right thing for them. Contamination of recyclables is an expensive burden on the system which you should try to avoid.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 8 Months Ago
      So they are punishing people for their less than new cars for making pollution.... while its parked and not polluting.
      knightrider_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why make it complicated? Just increase the gas tax. Gas guzzlers will pay extra without requiring expensive new parking meters.
        ferps
        • 8 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        probably because the city government doesn't have the ability to set that policy. It's no different in the US.
      hatchmyback
      • 8 Months Ago
      Considering that "dirty" usually means twice the size of average vehicle this actually makes sense. I was really amazed to see some fool park his big range rover on a narrow stone paved street in a historic part of some German town (how did he drive there?) - if someone has money to prove his ego he/she better expect to pay up as well for the ownership.
        Marco Polo
        • 8 Months Ago
        @hatchmyback
        @ hatchmyback Yesterday, I legally parked my Range Rover in a busy street near the centre of London. I arrived back in time to discover three eco-pests, from the local socialist/anarchist/ Trotskyist collective, (who had evidently been overdosing on old re-runs of the "young ones") about to indignantly paste large and sanctimonious signage over the paintwork. Fortunately, two young and observant Metropolitan Police officers had intercepted these self-righteous vigilantes, and were in the process of being taking them into custody. These eco-pests were so carried away with their own indignation, that they failed to notice my Range Rover is in fact an LERR, a fully electric vehicle. The other fact the didn't bother to notice, is that the RR is not only registered as a farm vehicle, but advertises the advantages of electricity provided by waste bio-mass. I dislike of SUV's and Faux 4WD vehicles that never leave the black-top or suburban streets, but some farmers can only afford one vehicle, so an SUV can be the most appropriate and environmental vehicle given the usage. As for the eco-pests ? I hope the Magistrate sentences them to a term of cleaning up the damage cased by vandals, litteres, etc.
          Marco Polo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ DarylMc Thanks ! But it's always sad when worthy causes attract fanatics with a false sense of entitlement.
          DarylMc
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Fancy picking the LERR to express their outrage. Glad they were caught.
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