Fuel-efficient, sense-deficient: Who are the special parking spots really for?

By Brian Johnston

When the Human Health Building opened on campus, like many of you I was baffled. When I went to park near the building, I was confronted with a sign that read, “FUEL –EFFICIENT VEHICLE PARKING ONLY.”

What does this mean?

If a vehicle moves and burns fuel, it’s fuel-efficient. This is why we have the “miles per gallon” standard. How many miles did a car travel? How much fuel did it burn? Divide one number by the other, and you have your fuel efficiency.

An inefficient vehicle would just sit there, burning all its fuel while going nowhere, very much like a “World of Warcraft” player.

If this is the case, why even have a sign? OU might as well have a sign that reads, “wheeled vehicle parking only” or “passenger vehicles only.”

I’m going to assume the signs refer to vehicles that have a higher fuel efficiency rating. This seems to assume that either people who drive fuel-efficient vehicles only have classes in the Human Health Building, or they don’t mind the extra walk to any of the buildings their classes might actually be.

I drive a large battle-scarred minivan that hasn’t been cleaned since Agent Coulson from “The Avengers” was alive. Nonetheless, it’s actually pretty fuel-friendly. But it still uses more gas than a subcompact. I have no idea whether I’m allowed to park in those spaces.

And if solar vehicles ever see the light of day, are they allowed? Technically they don’t burn any fuel. What about the Flintstones’ car? If I decide one day to run my friends to work with a rickshaw, could I leave it one of those spots? Do brontosaurus burgers or pizza rolls count as “fuel?”

I’m all for protecting the environment. In order to save landfill space, I haven’t removed any of the garbage from my van in months. But perhaps we should have a bit of transparency on what constitutes “fuel-efficient.”

Parking on campus is already frustrating enough. I shouldn’t have to apply a mathematical formula to decide whether I can park somewhere.

If that’s the criterion for parking in those spaces, move the signs over to Dodge Hall where they actually like math.