Dirty Hollywood Secrets: Priuses & Posers

Posted on June 11, 2008 by LCT Magazine

GCLA AGENDA: A lot of ground was covered and many issues highlighted at the monthly Greater California Livery Association meeting last night near LAX, but as is often the case at such events, the cocktail conversation proves more insightful and delicious. We will get to the serious stuff a bit later so we can troll through the Hollywood goodies gutter first.

GCLA President Alan Shanedling, a veteran Southern California operator who owns Fleetwood Limousine Ltd. of Culver City, mentioned briefly that there is a sizable, urgent need in Southern California for the services of 65 hybrid livery vehicles. Obviously, this market demand is coming from the Hollywood entertainment industry with its insatiable desires for green stimuli. Celebrities love to be ferried in hybrids to the myriad awards ceremonies, press junkets, premieres, and parties that take up the Tinseltown calendar.

But as several Southern California operators have repeatedly and privately told LCT, and talked about amongst themselves, a very high quotient of celebrity clients SHOW UP in a Prius or hybrid sedan, but then LEAVE out the back door in a fossil-fueled stretch limousine or SUV. One operator said last night he recently had three clients who did the double-trouble limo-shuffle: Ordered a Prius to get there, but then had an SUV waiting later. Get the picture? Hollywood has America's most hated vice on display: HYPOCRISY.

Such closeted behavior surrounding once's Prius reveals two things: 1) If the celebrities who spend more time being chauffeured than any other segment of America don't leave in a Prius, then they must not find the vehicles too comfortable; 2) For all the celebrity sermonizing about shared sacrifices ala global warming, most of them certainly won't be living it. They have the wealth to insulate themselves from whatever advice they preach. If all of America were stuffed into hybrid Yugos, you can bet Hollywood would be congratulating us from behind the darkened windows of their Cadillac Escalades and Lincoln Town Cars.

Renting a Prius in Hollywood amounts to nothing more than paying for the privilege of moral self-congratulation. The Prius may run on less gas, but it sure spews out a lot of pride. Like so much in Hollywood, being green is just a scene. And another way to be seen. -- M.R.

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