Living in Priusland, Oregon is sometimes a self-image challenge, particularly for those of us who are Prius-less. This isn't a criticism of those who are among the Prius-pious, but rather, a plea for recognition for those who don't own one of Toyota's finest.
On a drive in downtown Portland the other day, I saw a large billboard advertising reduced parking fees for drivers of hybrid cars. How does this make sense? Does someone verify that the driver of the Prius getting the discount doesn't also own 2 or 3 other vehicles, including big truck and SUV gas-guzzlers? A recent survey (no time to find the link) found that many hybrid owners have added the eco-car to their family fleet of bigger vehicles. And many of the newer luxury hybrids, like the Lexus, use the hybrid technology to improve acceleration, with small gains in fuel efficiency.
In our 2-person family, we moved into an urban part of town 5 years ago, reduced our fleet to 1 car, and do a lot of walking to shops and restaurants. I ride my bicycle to the office probably 99% of the trips there - rain or shine, winter or summer. So why don't we get a parking discount downtown?
I lke the Prius and other hybrids. Hybrid vehicles are a good development for a variety of reasons. But let's not get too carried away with it. The reality is that the increase in the number of motor vehicles in the USA and work-wide results in rising fuel consumption and more emissions. The answer to our motor vehicle related problems isn't different fuels and engines, it's changing the basic concept of transportation for people and goods. We need fewer vehicles, period.
Well, gotta go - the sun is shining, and it' a good day for a walk.