Why I don’t like the Prius

It feels like driving a spaceship, and it’s got so many bells and whistles that it’s quite frankly difficult to believe. Couple that with a cozy feeling of knowing that you’re driving the most fuel efficient car on the planet, and hence are doing your parts in regards to CO2 and such, and you’ve struck home-run …
~This Guy

The Prius is a car. Cars are not eco-friendly. You can make them less damaging, but it’s like the difference between a stab in the heart and a stab in the lung.

Furthermore, the Prius gives people a false sense of “I’m doing something.” Much in the way people will eat more cookies if they’re labeled some flavor of healthy, Prius owners probably don’t consider alternate transportation as much as someone who owns a not-Prius. Do I have proof? Nope. But people wearing sunscreen tend to spend more time out in the sun than people who aren’t. They believe they’re protected, and thus put themselves at greater risk. Same principle.

The Prius may not be eco-friendlier than a regular car. The battery and the production methods may do more damage than the car’s efficiency is able to reduce.

It’s expensive. There are multiple reasons why this is important.

One, the most obvious, it’s not available to those who probably need it most.

Two, related to one, there’s no “stripped-down” version of the Prius. It comes with all the bells and whistles whether or not you want or can afford all the bells and whistles. Obviously, Toyota is not interested enough to create a cheaper Prius.

Three, the price tag makes it a status symbol. I’ve discussed it before. If it’s expensive, it becomes valuable merely because of the price tag. It doesn’t matter if the item is better or worse than something cheaper. It’s more expensive, therefore it’s more desirable. It’s not about being rich, it’s about looking rich.

And so long as you appear green, you need not waste your energy on actually trying to be green. You’ve bought the symbol of the green movement, ergo your part is done. No need to inconvenience yourself by walking to the store or biking to work or recycling. You’ve thrown your wad of cash at the environment and now you can rest on your laurels.

I’m not saying everyone who owns a Prius is like this. I know a Prius owner or two, and no, they are definitely not all like this. But sadly, conspicuous consumption is the norm in society. A Prius is not the answer to any ecological problems we may be facing. Hell, the Prius only continues to support the same damn paradigm that got us into this mess in the first place. And that paradigm is not going to save shit.

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5 Responses to “Why I don’t like the Prius”

  1. Dargon Says:

    While I am less concerned regarding the environmental issues regarding the Prius, I have learned quite a few things about it and come to similar conclusions.

    The precious carbon footprint of the Prius is indeed larger than say, a Yaris (since we’re talking Toyota). Sure it is more fuel efficient, but that does not make up for the process of making that battery (which will have to be replaced in a decade) nor does the gas savings in terms of money make up for the premium on the vehicle.

    In the end, it is indeed a perfect example of greenwashing and dong things that have a minute if not negligible (or counterproductive) impact on the enviroment for the sake of looking green and feeling good.

    • Well, since the Prius is generally bought for environmental reasons, those are the ones I chose to highlight most. I don’t think anyone would really pay that premium for any other reason.

      The Yaris still wins my vote as “Most Eco-Friendly Car.”

      And another thing I was thinking…the Prius is a large car. If they wanted to make it even more efficient, they’d make it on the scale of the Yaris. Unfortunately, the Prius’ target market is not interested in a Yaris-sized car.

      • grillingsacredcows Says:

        The Honda Insight is a small Hybrid. Fuel efficiency on it beats the Prius by 10-20 MPG. But people don’t like it. Why? It’s a small two seater car. You can’t live your cushy middle class suburban lifestyle in a two-seater!

  2. There’s a reason why I call it the “Pious”. Got that one from South Park.

    Well said, as usual.

  3. The only Prius owner I know (and he got his back when they first came out) who actually talks about his Prius was a physics professor who was obsessed with the braking power re-uptake system. Consequently, that’s about all I know about the Prius. Seems nifty, though, and makes me wonder how difficult it would be to incorporate a system like that in standard vehicles.

    Also, completely off topic, I just looked up and saw that the vibraphone sounds I’m hearing are for a song called “Gangsta Shit.” I doubt anyone will find that as funny as I did, but I’m sharing it regardless.

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