Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hybrid culture at six months: getting smugger in spite of myself

Maybe the tide has started to turn for some of the most performance-oriented suv drivers because twice in the past week guys I happened to be parked next to, looked over and DOWN from their Lexxus SUV's and asked me as I stepped toward my Prius, "So you like it?" And when I told them that yes I did, but that I'm not really a "car guy" and I mainly don't like buying gas, they start talking about their $100+ tanks and the wait-lists on hybrids in their area, and I nod consolingly, knowing that my gas mileage is ticking up past 50 as the weather warms up, trying to not to suggest that they kind of made an idiotic consumer choice to begin with for about a dozen different reasons, because I do believe, at some level, that people are entitled to buy what they want so long as they are willing to the price, though I confess that when I find myself driving alongside a Hummer on the highway, knowing that the driver is burning over a dollar a minute, it's hard not to look over and UP with an expression not unlike a winning gambler sitting next to a guy who keeps drawing bad cards.


Paul Soldera said...

It's a long overdue change if it is indeed happening. And on a not completely unrelated note Scott, I know you were interested in prediction markets at one point - check out They just got funding. Maybe set up a prediction for hybrid car sales? Interesting to see the response.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly the feeling you have: it sounds similar to the one I have when I see people filling their tanks, commuting to their McMansions in the suburbs, and I have a flash of feel-good about my choice to have a container garden on the porch and not a big backyard, so I can live where I can bus, bike, and walk to work, the stores, the grocery, even when those dangerously near-silent Priuses sometimes come up behind you suddenly!

sk said...

Thanks, Paul. I checked it out. I think right now it's pretty easy to predict that hybrids are bound to sell well so long as gas prices keep rising. Americans might resist all the so-called evidence for climate change but they do seem to understand the pretty direct correlation between mileage and cost. And yes, anonymous, I agree that nothing beats the commuter free life. There is an argument, made more eloquently elsewhere, that city life is in fact far more energy efficient on many fronts than life in the near country. Though there are plenty of silent, deadly Priuses stalking the streets of NYC as well so far as I could tell.

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