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Is Buying a Prius Really Good for the Planet?

New Yorker writer David Owen alleges we negate the energy savings by splurging on similarly energy-intensive pursuits.


In his book, The Conundrum, New Yorker staff writer David Owen ruffles the feathers of energy-efficiency advocates with his argument that living sustainably often means living, in his words, “pretty much the way I live right now, though maybe with a different car.” He argues that no matter how many Priuses, LED bulbs, and vegetarian entrees we buy, we won’t save the planet, because we’ll negate the energy (and money) savings by spending them on some other energy-sucking activity.

Owen’s argument rings true to anyone who’s rationalized leaving the extra-efficient lights on when rushing out of the house (guilty) or eating a hamburger after a few meat-free meals (guilty again). But there’s plenty of evidence that consumption justified by sustainable choices doesn’t eat up all the energy saved. A new bit of research makes that case for the Prius, a quintessential green purchase.

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Video: So, What Do You Call Multiple Priuses?

With Toyota predicting that the Prius will soon be the most popular car in America, the company is trying to decide what to call more than one Prius.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUor4gdFoyg

Toyota predicted at the beginning of this year that its most successful hybrid vehicle, the Prius, will be the best selling car in America by 2020. With such big goals ahead of it, it makes sense for the company to be planning ahead, thus explaining its new ad campaign.

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Toyota Sells 2 Millionth Prius; Americans Still Buy Trucks

The American market for trucks is still vastly bigger than the global market for the Prius. Does that need to change?


After hearing Toyota's announcement that the company had sold 2 million Prius hybrids since 1997, Jalopnik decided to put the numbers into perspective. The blog published the following graphic:

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Pretty Cool: The FT-CH Compact Hybrid

The Detroit Auto Show is going on right now. It's a restrained event this year. But Toyota did make a bit of a splash with its "baby Prius," the...

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