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Sep. 16 2009 - 9:20 am | 34 views | 0 recommendations | 8 comments

My Other Car… Cancels Out This One

2004-2007 Toyota Prius photographed in USA.

Image via Wikipedia

Tyler Cowen calls it portfolio theory. I’ll call it moral self-regulation:

Chance a U.S. household that owns a Prius also owns an SUV: 1 in 3.

That’s from the Harper’s Index, October issue, according to Cowen. It would surprise you, if you didn’t read this blog and already know that we’re constantly calculating the trade-off between being able to see ourselves as good people and the cost of engaging in all that non-advantageous goodness.

Already own an SUV? Soothe your conscience with a hybrid.

Already own a hybrid? You’ve been good! You deserve that SUV!

Welcome to being human.


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  1. collapse expand

    This is silly. My wife has had a Prius for a few years now. She gets about 45 mpg. That compare pretty favorably to the Blazer it relaced. Did the desire to see ourselves as responsible consumers play a part in the decision to purchase it? Yes of course. But to say the decision is non-advantageous is absurd, given where the price of gas was when we bought it.. and where it undoubtedly will be again before long.

  2. collapse expand

    You posit that Prius owners bought SUVs after purchasing the Prius. You have no evidence of this. SUV sales are down something like 75% from their peak. The Prius didn’t pass the Ford Explorer in annual sales until 2007, and its volume is small compared to the Explorer – and minuscule compared to SUVs in general. The truth is that some very small percentage of SUV owners bought Priuses…And virtually no Prius owner bought an SUV.

  3. collapse expand

    Welcome to the Pacific Northwest.
    Most people around here have an SUV if you want to go anywhere outside of town where an hour drive can lead to an increase in 5,000ft elevation. Most people have an SUV to go on long trips from city to city while the smaller cars are used for day to day trips around town.

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    About Me

    I'm a freelance writer and blogger based in Brooklyn, NY. My background is mostly in politics. I've worked on the editorial boards of the New York Sun and New York Post. In 2006, I wrote a book, "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party" (Wiley). I've also done my share of freelancing, for places like the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Reason, and RealClearPolitics.

    These days, I'm interested in humanity's ever-expanding understanding of its own irrationality. Hence, this blog.

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