By Ronan Glon
Friday, Jan 11th, 2013 @ 6:10 am
 
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has announced that it will stop offering free parking to owners of electric vehicles on March 1st of this year. The controversial decision ends a decade-long policy that many argue helped drive EV sales in the Los Angeles area.

Airport authorities explained that the decision to charge EV owners the regular $30-a-day fee was taken because the free parking deal is no longer sustainable. If EV owners completely filled the two free terminal lots every day for a year, the city-owned airport would lose a total of $44 million in revenues.

Another issue is that as EV sales grow, drivers are having an increasingly hard time finding a place to charge their car. Some have given up entirely and have resorted to pulling an extension cord from a charging station to an outside spot in order to top up their battery pack.

In spite of the setbacks, the airport's decision has been criticized by local EV owners.

"No one understands why we're doing this--especially in today's economy," said Nancy Castles, a spokeswoman for the airport, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The announcement comes as a blow to EV owners but all is not lost and they are still able to charge their car for free by plugging in to any of the airport's 38 charging stations.