Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Prius Envy

Michael Reynolds is showing signs of Prius-envy.

It expresses itself as a specialized form of road rage, a phenomenon I predicted here. [Part of this is not funny, and I expect it will be something we'll see headlines about in a few years. I drive a Prius, there are a lot of them around here, and I can tell you every day I see more and more acts of aggressive driving as people become aware of the cars. As soon as they see the "hybrid" on the nameplate, they gun it and pass you on a double yellow even if you're already topping the speed limit.]

Yes, you do drive a bit differently. You accelerate more gradually and brake more gradually. You try to go more gently to avoid stop-and-start. But there's not much to be gained by driving below the speed limit. The trick is to get a speed going and maintain it. There's no reason that should slow other people down especially. And I don't know the situation in California where he lives. Personally, I stay in the lanes that are appropriate to the speed I choose to drive, no matter what I'm driving or where. But I rarely drive highways.

Now as to his post. As I've written, we Prius-drivers are not road-zombies. In fact, we're just as competitive as you leadfoots and Hummer nazis. We're just competing in a different game: to get far on little or no gas. To beat our previous record gas mileages. And to save the money you idiots pour into the pockets of oil sheiks and refinery millionaires.

And while we're spending less money on that black stuff that enriches Texas and Tehran, we have more at the end of the day to spend on things like, oh, say, getting our kids into the better colleges. Why, in a few generations we'll be a nation of Prius-cruising Eloi and Hummer-dwelling Morlocks.

Michael revels in the image of the flimsy little Prius as a roadkill victim of the big, menacing gas-guzzler. Oh, yes, I am sure those big wheels can squash us like bugs. After all, a lumbering, heavy-breathing ankylosaurus could easily squash a mammal in the Cretaceous period, couldn't he? But then, the Cretaceous didn't last forever, did it?

I feel for Michael and his type. He's a good guy. We'll miss him in the gene pool. It will be a shame to watch him slowly fall behind in the Darwinian race. I won't miss his commenters, however; a pack of wild-eyed fanatics who can't read the basic laws of the land and want to remove the U.S. military from civilian control.