I’ve always had a nagging suspicion (OK, OK — a certainty) that “green” and “environmentally friendly” was in grave danger of being just another marketing category, and what a growing number of Americans wanted to buy — to possess — was the status and lofty, smug moralism that “environmentalism” was selling. After all, among the many things America is, it’s a place where you can “buy a soul,” or, at the very least, purchase indulgences to cover the unbearable guilt over having to endure the sins of a comfortable, modern life in such a horribly free and productive nation.

Well, apparently it’s true, as the fine folks at the New York Times are discovering:

“A riddle: Why has the Toyota Prius enjoyed such success, with sales of more than 400,000 in the United States, when most other hybrid models struggle to find buyers?

“One answer may be that buyers of the Prius want everyone to know they are driving a hybrid….

“The Prius has become, in a sense, the four-wheel equivalent of those popular rubber “issue bracelets” in yellow and other colors — it shows the world that its owner cares.

“In fact, more than half of the Prius buyers surveyed this spring by CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore., said the main reason they purchased their car was that ‘it makes a statement about me.’”

That is, until we tire of it, or something else comes along to fill the void, right?

AuthorJoseph Fusco