Valuation of Electric Vehicles and Parking Policies in Philadelphia

In 2007, in an effort to promote electric vehicles (EVs), the Philadelphia City Council adopted legislation to allow residents to apply to have electric charging stations installed in front of their homes. Only the resident could use the charging station, and the parking space became limited to EVs only. Although residents were slow to adopt the policy, the policy quickly became controversial as residents took over parking spaces for electric charging. Opponents claimed that the policy removed parking spaces from the general public and that wealthy residents were buying EVs simply to get a dedicated parking spot. With fewer than a hundred EV permits granted, the City Council put a moratorium on new EV parking spaces in 2017. In this study, researchers attempt to separate out residents’ willingness to pay for convenient charging systems from their willingness to pay for convenient parking spaces. If the value of dedicated parking substantially outweighs the value of convenient charging systems, residential-based on-street charging systems are unlikely to ever be politically palatable. Moreover, evidence of residents’ willingness to buy EVs just to gain access to parking may help reveal just how underpriced and distorted urban parking markets have become in dense, urban areas.