20 June 2007

Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

  • Jun 20, 2007

Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

Auto ads today would have you believe that 30-35 mpg is amazingly good.

35 is awful!
We have the technology to have affordable passenger vehicles that get 100mpg.
I'll avoid the technical details, but the potential is absolutely there. Without being a hybrid. Seriously. Trust me.

A small part of it is the industry's refusal to do it.
But the primary reason they don't exist is us.

You and I, my friend.

I just read an article in Mother Jones about this guy who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity - that is, until they wanted to put a couple of affordable homes in HIS neighborhood! Then he began to protest and look for legal recourse against his former organization's work.

We look down on him, but we are all him. We are happy to help, as long as the cost to ourselves is negligible.

We are unhappy with a car that takes 20 seconds to go 0-60, maxes out at 85, has room for only 1 passenger, a small trunk, seats with minimal padding, no A/C or heat, manual transmission, manual steering, no power brakes, no power anything.

And so I look at how popular the Prius is; even though the Insight was available years earlier, and gets nearly twice the average mileage (35-40 vs 70); even though 90% of or trips have one or no passengers, even though the speed limit is 65 and we rarely exceed it by more than 15mph or so - we want to know that we could carry 4 passengers at 95mph, and so the Insight doesn't sell, and is discontinued, while the Prius, with its pathetic 35-40 has a waiting list.

And what I realized is:
I drive. My (motor)bike gets 55-60mpg; good, about as good as available for a freeway speed capable machine sold today. That's still a lot of gas getting burned, a lot of pollutants in the air. Just to save me an hour of travel time here and there. Yes, my truck runs on 100% vegetable oil - but it has its own form of pollution, and it still has to come from somewhere, it has to get transported. I ride my bike to work...most days. Which means sometimes I don't. Yes, I have an ultra-efficient home - but it saves me money, plus I enjoy it.
So what, really, am I sacrificing?

And so, in my self-righteousness, I am exactly like the Prius owner.
I work for a non-profit and split my tips with the Coalition; but I don't volunteer (and I have no intention of starting to).
I am vegetarian, but mainly because the thought of eating flesh is sickening.

I guess it is a part of the human mind to despise most those people whose faults match our own most closely.

The people who abhor welfare usually inherited wealth or at least education and connections.
The anti-sex are secretly perverted, and the strongest homophobes are often as not gay. Narcs steal from the evidence room, and the woman who sent hate mail to the guy from the example above who stopped volunteering for Habitat, her home is just as expensive as his.
The deeply religious feel guilt for all their own sins (Christianity's appeal is that all sins are forgiven, as long as you have faith).

I always found the religious to be the most hypocritical and disturbing of all.
To apply the trend I have found, that must mean I am secretly religious myself...

... ... ...


Not even a little.

So, I guess that destroys my whole theory about indignant hypocrisy. Sometimes we just dislike something because its stupid; it doesn't have to be projection. That's good. I feel better now. Damn Priuses.

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