The East Riding of Yorkshire Council clocked up more than £1 million in profit from parking charges last year – a nine-year high.
The AA says many local authorities see drivers as a “wallet on wheels”, and has accused some of using parking fees to plug budget gaps.
Parking services in the East Riding raised £1.7 million in profit in 2018-19, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data. This was the highest profit the council has made from parking since 2009-10.
All the profit made by the council last year came from off-street parking, such as local authority-run car parks.
However, on-street parking cost it £720,000.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels.
“At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool used to try and fill the councils’ coffers.”
Transport research charity the RAC Foundation said profits could be overstated in some areas, as costs such as interest payments are not included.
The rise in sums made from parking in the East Riding reflects the trend across England, where profits hit a record high of £936 million.
David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils were on the side of motorists, and that parking policies aim to make sure there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.
He added: “Any income raised through parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services, and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as filling potholes, supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion and other local transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”