It’s hard not to get a chuckle out of this.
The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for
those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing
to spend a premium to show the world how much they care. Unfortunately
for them, their ultimate ‘green car’ is the source of some of the worst
pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to
produce than a Hummer.
I owned a Hummer H2. Fabulous vehicle. Expensive to run, but very dependable and truly very tough (unlike most owners, I actually used it in very adverse terrain). I used to run all Jeep Cherokees but they went to a unit body and ruined that vehicle as a serious 4×4. But I like change and so I ultimately got rid of it and got a BMW X5 SUV (4.4 liter V8), which, all around, is probably the best car I have ever owned (’86 ‘Vette was still the funnest, though). German engineering: now I get it.
Of course I have no problem with hybrids either, though the smug moral superiority of so many of their owners is a bit off-putting. I know plenty of hybrid owners and they all seem to like their vehicles, so I’m glad for them. My dad bought a Ford Escape hybrid a few months ago (his other vehicle is a long-bed, extended cab Ford F-250 diesel truck that tows a 40′ fifth wheel travel trailer). I drove the Escape and I think it was really quite cool.
The problem is that the sophistication and efficiency are lost on most people. Hybrids perform in start / stop and hilly environments. When you coast down a hill, for example, the motor becomes a generator and charges the battery. This is cool. It’s smart. But if you explained such principles of energy conservation to the average hybrid user, their eyes would gloss over.
As an example, my dad (and I) get a kick out of seeing just how good of mileage we can get by maximizing opportunities to charge the battery with energy that would normally be used wearing down your brake pads (and that gets converted to heat; uh oh, hybrids combat global warming!). This is all way cool to people like us. To my mom, however, it’s a car and she could care less about paying attention to any of this. Not interested. She drives it like she drives any car (ehem) and gets 10 mpg less than my dad for the same driving.