Marolt: Maybe the solution is a Prius with big mud tires | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Maybe the solution is a Prius with big mud tires

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

OK, redneck masters of thick-necked dogs and country-song rhyming logic, listen up: It’s time to embrace the Prius. They are good cars, and your pickup truck depends on them.

In case nobody has bothered to read the newspaper to you over the past few years and/or Fox News has washed your brain over it, there is a thing out there called CAFE (Can Anybody Fix Earth), and it is legislation designed to bring conservatives and liberals together in the fight to convince ourselves that we can reverse global warming, even if that turns out to be as far-fetched as building an unsinkable cruise ship with completely reliable toilets or colonizing the moon.

It works like this: I buy a Prius to save the world one drive at a time, and you buy a supercharged Tundra with tires big enough to keep the roof on your trailer during an Oklahoma twister after you’ve worn them out pulling doughnuts in the Big Kmart parking lot after soaking them in Clorox to maximize the smoke they can produce. My Prius ends up getting 56 miles per gallon while your truck ekes out 17 if you don’t let it idle outside while they are steaming your Stetson, and the Toyota Motor Co. ends up with an average fleet-fuel efficiency rating of greater than the 36.6 miles per gallon that the federal government will be requiring by 2017. That’s only four Cheyenne Frontier Days from now!

Think about what happens if you continue to make fun of Prius drivers and eventually discourage them from being practical and, ironically, conservative in their choice of motor vehicle. They eventually get fed up and buy a huge vehicle they don’t need that carries two passengers comfortably and almost never anything in the back even though they were designed to be able to tow the Space Shuttle.

This has the effect of raising the Toyota Motor Co. average fleet-fuel-efficiency rating to something more than 36.6 miles per gallon by 2017, and now the substantial federal penalty on gas guzzlers kicks in. Now, instead of your “work truck” costing more than a mere BMW midrange yuppie coup, it costs as much as a Ferrari, and you can no longer afford to own this “practical” vehicle. The result is that neither of us can drive around in a pickup or would be caught dead tooling around in a hybrid that looks like a peeled russet potato that is no longer considered charmingly eccentric by anyone. That leaves us all commuting in Ford Tauruses that we try to distinguish with options like gold-colored accents and green-tinted windows.

So, you see, we have to cooperate on this one. I take that back. Cooperation is not what’s needed. What’s needed is for pickup-truck owners to start heaping tender love on Prius owners, aka kissing their fannies. There’s a new king of the road, and the heaviest part on it is its battery. Revere the royalty, or lose your truck.

Yield to hybrids on the road; don’t ever cut them off or squeeze them out of merge lanes into the ditch. No bird-flipping from the passing lane. Sign petitions and have someone help you write letters to politicians supporting tax breaks and other incentives that encourage hybrid ownership. Embrace free parking for little cars. Most of all, don’t make jokes about fuel-efficient vehicles, especially ones laced with innuendo about the size of specific human body parts and the shape of a Prius. Admit that the size of the tires on your truck is compensating for your own anatomical shortcomings.

You are no doubt thinking that nobody on the planet could be so presumptuous as to write a piece such as this calling for partisan compromise on such a personal matter as the choice of a car while, at the same time, chastising folks for exercising their constitutional right to disparage a minority group that is clearly not protected as human beings, animals or even endangered plants. However, those who know me best understand my unique qualifications to see this issue from both sides. I am a redneck who owns a Prius. I also own a Toyota Sequoia that has burnt more gas in its lifetime than could fill a gulf. I have nicknames for both (“The Zipper” and “The Destroyer”), so you can tell I love them equally. I want to keep both of them, even if it means being polite to Sunday-driving road wimps.

Roger Marolt drives the Prius to save the world and the Sequoia when he needs a break from it. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com.


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