New figures show Portsmouth City Council made more than £3m from parking charges in a year.
The income was listed in a report by the RAC Foundation which showed local authorities across England made a £700 million surplus from their parking activities in 2014/15.
The report said Portsmouth City Council made a revenue outturn - the actual amount made - for the 2014/15 financial year of £3.09m.
Fareham council had the second highest figure of £1.2m with Havant and Gosport bringing in a total of £477,000 and £411,000 respectively.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham council, said: ‘That money is not all profit.
‘We spend that money on re-surfacing the car parks and replacing meters.
‘The money shown is before we spend it so it cannot be considered a profit.
‘So far this financial year we have had an income of £493,000.’
The record total ‘profit’ of £693 million across English councils comes from their day-to-day, on and off street parking operations, and is a 4 per cent increase on the 2013/14 amount of £667 million.
London’s share of the surplus is £308 million, with the only non-capital areas in the top 10 being Brighton & Hove and Nottingham
Relatively few councils few lost money on their parking activities. Just 57 of the 353 local authorities in England reported negative figures.
The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs, and this year’s profits have come from increased income, rather than reduced costs,
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. And once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards.
“It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are most congested and the pressure on road space immense.
“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.
“When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. We are simply asking that all councils publish annual reports to tell drivers exactly where this huge excess ends up.
“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the High Street parking meter.”