Last Updated Apr 8, 2008 12:03 PM EDT
There's a certain sliminess to this issue that first came to my attention almost a year ago, when the New York Times ran a front-page story about Prius owners, where 57 percent said they bought the car because it "Makes a statement about me." Higher fuel economy? Only 36 percent cited that as a reason. Lower emissions, the goal of green? Try just 25 percent.
The message to Detroit is clear: putting a hybrid engine in a Ford Escape SUV is not going to sell simply because the little "hybrid" label on the back doesn't scream loud enough.
But the question is: Is there something false about people who buy a hybrid because it makes a statement about them? Is that ethically wrong?
I'll take it either way if it will get more hybrids on the road and reduce our carbon emissions and our dependence on oil, but are those 57 percent dirtying the wholesome ethics of the green movement if their chief motivation is to own a status symbol instead of an eco-friendly vehicle? Share your thoughts in the comments section.