I know that parking charges are not exactly news, and I've been to some big cities in the USA where they are a normal part of life. However, I lived in a small Pensacola, FL and I rarely ever seen parking charges there. I don't think even downtown there had any charges, because I don't ever remember paying any.
Here in UK however, parking charges are EVERYWHERE! Forget London, even smaller towns have a fee. The picture above is from one of the parking garages in Cambridge, and I ended up paying £23 to park there for a day. I can tell you I won't ever do that again, but on that day a friend I went with didn't want to take a Park & Ride bus because she had a stroller and I listened. Let's just say I won't ever listen to anyone with a stroller, unless they are willing to pay the parking bill. Two people are more than capable of getting a stroller on the bus, especially when these buses are very low to the ground. Sorry for the off-topic rant.
Other places don't have such high rates, but it all adds up after a while. For example, to go my usual Bury St. Edmunds, I have to pay £2 for up to 1 hour, £2.80 for up to two hours, £3.30 for three, and £4 for up to 4 hours, and if I want to stay longer, I have to pay again. There is also an additional charge of £1.10 to park there after 6pm, but everything closes at 5:30 anyway so all we ever go there at that time is a movie theater. It used to be free after 6pm just last year, but since I've moved here the charges went up 3 times and the night rate was added.
In other places, the parking is outrageous during the day, but generally free after 5-6pm. The problem, like I've mentioned before, everything clothes at 5:30pm or around that time, so there is really nothing to do in order to benefit from that free parking. Another thing that drives me crazy is how even if I manage to find free parking at the outskirts of the city, it's timed. I'm referring to a nice retail part outside of Cambridge specifically, which has lots of different shops I would have liked to visit, but I can only park there for 2 hours max. There are cameras which are used to catch those who just re-park after two hours. Really, 2 hours is not enough to go to a big retail park.
Overall, parking in England is really annoying, and those who know me personally know that I constantly complain about it. I don't have a luxury of a train station right next to me, so I have to drive everywhere and as a result, I have to think about first finding the parking, then how much it will cost me, and then how long I can actually stay there. A lot of time it takes away the enjoyment of going anywhere, and I will not miss that.