The San Francisco Chronicle records the latest fashion accessory in PC Califormia.
Virtue may be its own reward — but as any self-respecting Prius Progressive can attest, the payoffs of hybrid ownership don’t stop there. Beyond the gas pump savings, the tax breaks, the entree to carpool lanes, the freedom to park without feeding meters and the aura of cool kinship with Hollywood hybriders such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, comes something more visceral.
“Absolutely, they’re buying the car for the statement it makes more than anything,” Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing, told reporters last week.
The firm’s research concluded that more customers pick the Prius over alternatives like the hybrid version of the Honda Civic precisely because the Prius is exclusively — and identifiably — a hybrid. While just 36 percent cited fuel economy as a prime motivator for buying a Prius, 57 percent said their main reason was that “it makes a statement about me.”
What’s more, in focus groups, many Prius buyers admit expecting acclaim from friends and co-workers for making such a socially responsible, planet-saving purchase.
But the satisfaction of some eco-drivers risks swelling to self-righteousness — like the Prius driver coasting down Highway 101 in Marin County last week with the bumper sticker: “How many lives to the gallon do you get?”
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