Perverting Conservation

Getting “buy-in” from an industry is crucial when attempting to regulate in favor of consumer protection or environmentalism. If the industry fundamentally does not accept the values embodied in the effort, it finds ways around it. After all, these companies have the brightest lawyers and engineers on their side, and if some public policy is supposed to do X, they’ll find a way to make it do Y.

A case in point is the popularity of hybrid cars and the conservation of fuel. Luxury car companies have found a way to pervert them from energy-saving devices to gas guzzlers with the patina of conservation. Just check out this article on the Lexus LS 600h. Lawrence Ulrich reports:

…You can actually park that terrific gas-only Lexus in the garage and have $30,000 to buy a Prius hybrid, with cash left over. Save the LS for special occasions and run errands in the Toyota at more than double the mileage. While Lexus plays the hybrid game, it’s the Prius that takes care of business.