let’s get hybrid


What comes to mind when you pass a hybrid vehicle? That it’s the ultimate green sacrifice?

Come on. It makes cutting up plastic 6-pack rings look like chump change.
Thoughts that follow…Wow, I bet that person driving always puts others first. I am such a polluter. Am I helping the terrorists win by buying more gas? I bet that guy’s wearing Birkenstock’s.
I think of hybrid owners as passive aggressive environmental warriors. They’re not going to waste time preaching the ecological benefits of their vehicles when they could be home separating their recyclables into color-coded barrels. No. They just cruise past you in their super-stealth-eco-friendly-spaceship-looking car and without saying a word they’ve made their point.
I get a twinge of guilt when I’m stopped at a light next to one of these goodwill vessels. It’s like when you did something bad as a kid, and all you parents have to do is look at you for the word vomit confession to spew out. “You don’t have to say it, I know my car is acting like a monster can of Aqua Net, slowly depleting the ozone layer. I know ok. Stop rubbing it in with your fume-less silence.”
These bastards never have to sweat it out at Emissions either. Not that I don’t mildly enjoy the annual process of going to the Motor Vehicle Division and waiting in line (breathing in the fumes of non-hybrid drivers) only to enter a small plexi-glass booth with four other people while a 14 year old employee manhandles my car while shoving a hose up it’s tailpipe. Not pleasant for anyone involved.
In Arizona, the elitism is heightened to another level. Hybrid drivers are eligible to apply for a special license plate that permits them access to the carpool lane even when they are driving alone. Unbelievable! You buy one of these babies and you eliminate rush hour from your life. If that saves you a half hour a day, that’s 2.5 hours a week, 10 hours a month, 120 hours a year! You can prevent spending FIVE DAYS in traffic each year by driving a hybrid.
Here’s the rub. I think most people automatically assume that people drive hybrids to save the earth. I’d venture to bet, however, that somewhere around 75% of these folks do it for the savings on gas and the carpool benefit. Yet still, the guilt that I’m a failure in the book of environmental responsibility.
This brings me to last week. I’m driving to work, in the lowly non-carpool polluter lanes, and I see someone driving a hybrid smoking, and then they tossed their cigarette butt out the window into the street. What? That was a candy cigarette right..and…and…the wind blew it away…right? maybe I just want to believe others are doing their part to save the earth so I don’t have to.
It’s one thing to smoke, but the irony that this person spent a small fortune on a vehicle engineered to improve air quality and simultaneously protect against harmful pollutants, but also chooses to smoke AND litter? Nuts. It’s like competing against your evil twin in Bizarro World.
Nevertheless, does the good still outweigh the bad? Overall, will driving an environmentally sound vehicle prevail over the effects of smoking and littering on the environment and yourself? Hope so!
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