Parking wardens in Birmingham are not over zealous and are not set targets for the number of tickets they give out, the city's highways chief said last night.
The city collected more money in fines than any other authority outside London last year.
But Neil Dancer, chief highway engineer, said: "We don't set targets here, but I know in other places it does happen, and then motorists think it's the same everywhere."
He was speaking as the Commons Transport Committee published a hard-hitting inquiry warning parking policy across Britain was "inconsistent and confused".
"Our present parking system is, frankly, a mess", said the committee's chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody (Lab Crewe and Nantwich).
She added that parking enforcement contracts with incentive regimes based on the number of tickets issued were "utterly misguided".
The report said lines and signage to indicate the parking rules were often unclear and that many drivers had difficulty understanding and complying with the law.
Some parking attendants were poorly trained and poorly paid and some councils did not make it clear how to challenge a penalty charge notice.
Birmingham was one of the first authorities to take over responsibility for parking enforcement, which had previously been dealt with by the police.
For the past five years, traffic wardens have been employed by a private company contracted by the council.
The committee said this system must be extended throughout the country - but first the standards of enforcement must improve.
One in five parking tickets was eventually cancelled before it was paid, the MPs said.
The report said that in looking at parking policies the committee had "all too often" found "inconsistent, poor and creaking administration, lack of drive for reform, poor communications, confusion and a lack of accountability".
Birmingham collects £17.7 million a year in parking fines, and makes a profit of £6.7 million.
Alum Rock Road in Saltley has been identified as Britain's worst street for receiving parking tickets, and more vehicles are fined here than anywhere else.
But Mr Dancer said: "We are the largest local authority.
"If you look at the amount of parking fines per person, we are actually eighth or ninth."
He added: "We train our staff in depth. There is also a code of conduct for them to follow.
"This is an emotive issue, and sometimes we are accused of setting targets for wardens to hand out tickets. We don't do that in Birmingham."
Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Over-zealous enforcement, confusing signs and lines, and the belief that councils are using parking fines to raise revenue rather than keep the traffic moving should become nothing but bad memories if the Government takes this report seriously."
The AA Motoring Trust said: "This is a damning report that confirms what many motorists know and what the rest suspected about parking enforcement by councils - it is a mess."