Whether at home or abroad, the fact remains that more and more of us are developing an environmental ethic around the idea that "consumption itself has environmental value if the energy using devices it depends upon are 'green.'" It's been deemed "the Prius Fallacy." According to [David] Owen, the fallacy leads to "rebound creep," thereby resulting in the very opposite of what the technology was billed to accomplish in the first place: reduce energy usage. Rebound creep could happen with a Prius in any number of ways: you might use the money you've saved on gas to buy a ticket to the opera, located in another city; you might draw upon the virtue you've banked by purchasing a Prius to justify not riding your bike to Whole Foods when it rains; you might decide to drive to the gym during rush hour because Terry Gross is on, and your Prius is a quiet place to sit and be left alone. No matter the scenario, the end result is that the supposedly ameliorative form of consumption -- the hybrid -- leads not to greater efficiency, but to easier, more comfortable, and greater rates of energy usage.Bingo. As a guy who comes fresh off a decade of not liking cars much, I sure dig connecting my Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone, via Bluetooth, to the Prius's entertainment system and rocking a crystal-clear stream of Pandora (P - Get Report) that I can actually hear because this beauty barely makes a sound. All the while, I'm probably getting better gas mileage than the cats next to me (wait, they're all driving Prii now!). But, I'm not that easily duped. That's why I rarely sign petitions, give money to political parties or take everything Rachel Maddow says as gospel. Shockingly, the academic research in this area is thick. I'll follow up this rant with the gist of what it has to say later in the month. Make my article history a daily habit, if you will. In the meantime, I can endorse the purchase of a Prius. Awesome car. Great experience at Toyota. Just don't get all pious as you cruise out of the lot in EV Mode. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Are Toyota Prius Owners Environmentally Friendly or Just Complete Tools?
Check Out Our Best Services for Investors
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Model portfolio
- Stocks trading below $10
- Intraday trade alerts
More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.