There appears to be a minor epidemic of greenies nabbed for topping 100 mph in their hybrid Toyota Priuses. The Gary Richards of the San Jose Mercury-News reports that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has joined Al Gore III in the ranks of those caught doing triple digits is the Environmentally Correct vehicle.
Wozniak was headed to Las Vegas for a business trip with his pal Dan Sokol on March 28. Little head wind, light traffic, a straight road. His Prius was sailing along so smoothly that neither realized the speed Wozniak was reaching.
Until they saw the California Highway Patrol cruiser ahead. Drivers on I-5 routinely top 90 mph, but 104 is a sure way to get the CHP's attention - and fast. The officer on the northbound side pulled a quick U-turn and "cue the violins," Sokol said.
The Prius, Wozniak said, handled great at 104. And that wasn't the first time he reached the speed that sends shudders down my I-like-60-mph spine. The first time came one Thanksgiving when he decided to drive down to a Bob's Big Boy in Burbank.
"Highway 5 was empty that night and I made good time and was surprised to discover that the Prius was very stable, even with major gusting winds," Wozniak said. "Being used to a Hummer I expected the opposite."
Yep, he owns Hummers and hybrids. No, green-only, Birkenstock-loving guy.
My car-buff son who owns a Nissan Z reports that Priuses are very peppy for a family sedan. I guess so. But if you are shelling out a few thousand bucks extra in order to get better mileage, doesn't driving over 100 sort of defeat the purpose?
Is this a matter of repressed macho instincts being channeled into other directions? In order for the expense of a hybrid to pay off, one has to drive a lot of miles, preferably in city driving conditions, where the mileage advantage is much greater than at highway speeds. But then again, when propaganda suggest that the simple purchase of this moral bauble makes one virtuous, perhaps some psychological mechanism is triggered that gives internal permission for other green sins, kind of like the so-called carbon credits work for the private jet Hollywood set.
Hat tip: Joseph Crowley