It looks like the days of attracting women via the ’87 Trans Am are gone. Nowadays the guy driving the Toyota Prius is bound to get a flirty conversation from a female admirer. Who knew four-dollar-a-gallon gas could be such good news for the eco-friendly driver?
According to a study by GM, 9 out of 10 women say they would rather “chat up” a guy who drives the latest fuel efficient cars rather than one who drives a sports car. 4 out of 10 young people think it is a “fashion faux pas” to drive a gas guzzler. And since fashion governs behavior, this is good news for the environment and the legions of Prius owners in my neighborhood.
Speaking of the Prius, I have to say that for a modern hybrid the 45 MPG is actually kind of disappointing. Did everyone forget about the early 90s and the Geo Metro phenomenon? The 1.0 liter three cylinder engine got you 55 MPG easily. No batteries required. But if you were into the hybrid thing, Honda produced one in 2000 (which I remember laughing at when I saw it) that got 70 MPG. It was called the Insight. For all the advantages the Prius might give you at the pump it really isn’t all that spectacular considering the engineering technology that is already out there.
Yet the Prius truly is a fashion statement that is iconic of something larger: a response to global warming and high gas prices. It certainly isn’t the best we can do, but it most certainly is the eco-friendly David that is slaying the gas-guzzling Goliaths.