PRIUS ALERT: It’s Not Just The Brakes

Posted on March 9, 2010 by LCT Magazine

GO-GO TIMES FOR GREEN ARE OVER: It’s not easy being green lately, let alone a Toyota Prius. Just like the global cooling hoopla of the late 1970s, the green-global warming movement is finally getting past its “Studio 54” phase, having overdosed on all that carbon on a spoon. . .
GREEN DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN GO:
Toyota today is investigating a sudden acceleration incident involving a runaway Prius in San Diego. Apparently, the compact hit 90 mph before the California Highway Patrol could help the driver safely end a harrowing 20-minute ride. (The driver who ran into the creek pictured to the left survived, but the Prius obviously wasn’t as lucky).
 
This incident follows the recent recall of the Prius for its braking irregularities. For the entire Prius culture in America, these recent setbacks no doubt must be quite humbling, especially given the cultural cachet the Prius has enjoyed as the go-to green vehicle as well as its built-in superiority complex. Fortunately, the Prius deficiencies come to light just as the green vehicle options for the chauffeured transportation industry have widened, most notably the Royale Ford Fusion Hybrid L, a highly preferable alternative to the Prius, and the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Mercedes R320 and S400, Lexus Hybrid vehicles, and GM’s SUV hybrid models.
 
The Prius never fully belonged in chauffeured transportation, showing up more as the renegade runt among the distinguished family of black luxury fleet vehicles. The Prius will some day be viewed as the transitional starter green vehicle for the industry, a near-term option for operators who shrewdly wanted to capitalize on the initial frenzy and panic of the green movement fueled by corporate RFPs and the celebrity-be-seen crowd. But the Prius is no longer a prudent long-term investment for operators.
 
With growing scientific challenges to the theory of global warming, the recent scandals involving the distortion and falsification of base climate data, the collapse of Copenhagen and economically destructive cap and trade scams, and the troubles of the Toyota Prius, the green movement in America is headed for some shoals. Hopefully, it will survive as a more free-market phenomenon based on supply and demand and rational cost/benefit calculations untethered to the interferences of government mandates and the deceptions of activist ideologies. 
That's not to say green vehicles that meet luxury preferences aren't viable. They simply need to be affordable, comfortable, and deliver fuel savings that make any added costs tolerable.
 
This big green drama of the 2000s is over; now it’s time to deal in facts going forward.
 
BREAKING TIP: No surprise, but once again LCT’s comprehensive annual industry survey being used for the May 2010 Fact Book shows that green/sustainability programs are DEAD LAST in a list of industry concerns among operators. In fact, green/sustainability ranked an unlucky No. 13, even behind the “Other” category at No. 12.
LCT-surveyed operators repeatedly show that going green, as it has been defined so far, is greatly overrated.
 
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine
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