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Home > Blog > Prius -- The Kleenex of Green Car Brands
Out of Our Minds
Monday, February 28, 2005 8:26 AM
Prius -- The Kleenex of Green Car Brands
Kevin Salwen on Environment & Sustainability

I noticed the 'green car' pitch at last night's Academy Awards. Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron, Robin Williams, Orlando Bloom, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins won awards for environmental awareness by arriving in the Prius. Check this out:

'By foregoing gas-guzzling limos, Oscar attendees show their support for fuel efficient cars to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce air pollution, and stem climate change,' said
Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA. 'By choosing to ride in a fuel-efficient car, like the Prius, they send a strong message to the American people and the world that we can all be part of the solution to global warming and our addiction to oil.'

Interestingly the Toyota Prius is getting to be the first thing (perhaps the only thing) we think of when we consider 'hybrid vehicles' although this is about to change.


Larry - 3/15/2005 8:56:29 PM
Yes. Well the thing to wait for is four electric motors (one for each wheel), computer sychronized, and kept juiced-up by a little methane/methanol generator. The extra weight of batteries and such should yield momentum and mass for deceleration generation, too. Sounds, like rocket science but it ain't! I wait. No hurry.
David - 3/4/2005 6:56:18 AM
I take your point on the jets but what I getting at is that more people worldwide buy cars, motorbikes, vans, trucks and SUVs than jets. Yes I agree, a Prius isn't a substantive change and while it's a small change it is highly visible.

Just in case I appeared to pick on Ford in favour of Toyota, I just couldn't find a sales figure for Toyota SUVs.
As an aside, here in Ireland, cars with an engine capacity of 1.4 litres and lower are the most popular, Toyota, VW or Ford don't offer this engine size in the US.

(Just been to Ed Begley's website- I see what you mean http://www.stipko.net/edbegley/)
martin - 3/2/2005 9:48:44 AM
David -

Point taken regarding vehicle choice. But another point on private jets (ok, let's be sure to include Bombardiers, Citations, Lears, Westwinds, Falcons, Hawkers, Challengers and the Raytheon Premier I instead of just the GV) you set a dangerously low number as to the amount of private jets on the market. The atmosphere most susceptible to the ravages of CO 2 is the level where these puppies fly and as oppose to any mitigation of the C0 2 outputs through ground-level absorption, this exhaust goes directly into the upper atmosphere and sets about its caustic work immediately. The 300,000 Explorers annual output equals 300 cross-country trips in one jet. Do the math.

Crediting celebrities is a great thing where it's warranted. Ed Bagley has lived his environmental beliefs. Angela Jolie's crusade on behalf of children is amazing, as is Ricky Martin's. But to applaud celebrities whose energy consumption is worlds beyond the average citizen is disingenuous. When DiCaprio and Diaz go beyond a visible, feel-good statements to doing something substantive, let me know.

Finally, Toyota has outsold Ford for the past two years. Their entire truck line is as noxious when it comes to outputs as anything the folks in Detroit are producing. And while Toyota has built one energy efficient green building (an operations office), Ford has built the first (LEED accredited) green factory. And GM has been building and producing battery powered cars since the 70's and is now introducing an entire system of buses running on hydrogen. That alone is worth 500 Prisus.

There is a difference between talking the talk and actually being brave enough to walk it.
David - 3/1/2005 2:45:00 PM
John, Martin,
I appreciate the frustration but let's let in a little reality. Yes a G-V pumps out a lot of CO2. How many people do you know with Gulfstream Vs? How many people do you know with more than one Gulstream. Given that only 1,400 Gulfstream aircraft have been sold since 1958 - I'm going to guess; not many. Last year Ford alone sold 339,333 Explorers.

For year's we've viewed energy as an infinite commodity but people aren't going to change their lifestyles overnight. Changing the way you choose your car, if you have to have one, is probably the biggest single thing that we can do in our lifestyles. If, as opinion leaders, celebrities can promote change in this area then I say all credit to them.
John - 2/28/2005 10:01:27 AM
I agree with Martin. When the Celebs start living in smaller homes they might and I emphasize 'might' generate more credibility.
martin - 2/28/2005 9:07:30 AM
You're right it is interesting, and cynically speaking somewhat disingenuous. Toyota has done a great job in producing a great, in demand, environmentally responsible car. However, a quick look at the rest of the Toyota car line and you have to wonder why the company doesn’t undergo greater environmental scrutiny.

As for the stars, their 'example' is commendable. However the reality of most of their lifestyles is in sharp contrast to their choice of car. Most of these folks travel in Gulfstream V's that in a single cross country trip pump out as much CO2 as the annual output of over 1000 SUVs. And most of their homes have footprints over 10,000 sq ft consuming disproportinate amounts of energy to the building occupants. I'm not disparaging anyone's lifestyle choice but there's a greater example to set than simply choosing to drive a Prius.

Gulfstream environmentalists make for great sound bites and photo op's. But their 'strong message' is all too often akin to their careers, temporary and publicity driven.


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