Councils in England have generated record profits from parking charges and penalty notices in 2014/15, according to research by the RAC Foundation.
The figures show income from day-to-day parking charges, minus running costs.
A staggering £308 million was generated by councils in London while Brighton and Hove pulled in £18.6 million and Nottingham City made £13.3 million.
The RAC Foundation said the increase in profits came from a rise in parking charge income rather than a reduction in running costs.
Law states that councils are forbidden to profit on parking and these ‘cash boosts’ must be used for transport or environmental projects.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering.
“The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic.
“But with local government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fund-raiser must be intense.”