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Prius Groupies and Smugness

Over the past week, I must have heard the same poll quoted a dozen times that found that 90% of Americans believe our government needs to do something to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It was really annoying me because based on the number SUV's I see on the road, a large number of that 90% must be hypocrites. Right? Well, maybe, but maybe not.

A friend of mine told me that I wasn't following SUV sales closely enough, and said that SUV sales were down last year. That may be true, but as of today, a Google News search reveals the following headlines:

So it is unclear whether Americans are prepared to take the action necessary to support their own desire to get off of foreign oil. Those headlines are enough for me to still consider many SUV drivers hypocrites. But an interesting thing began happening on Friday. I started getting approached by what I'm going to call "Prius Groupies". On Friday and Sunday, I had total strangers ask me a bunch of questions about my Prius. "How many miles can you go without re-filling?" or "Is it true they [overcharge] you when the battery dies?" One of them was an SUV driver.

Regardless of whether these people decide to become more conservative with their energy usage or not, at least they are thinking about it. I have to say it makes me optimistic. It is a step. It is the first sign I've seen first hand, that people might start taking our need to change our habits seriously.

It might even make me a little bit smug. But not much really. I thought the South Park episode titled "Smug Alert" was hysterical. All my friends know where I stand on oil policy, but I don't think I come across smug. I'm just really concerned. Last week, before I even knew about that South Park episode, a woman said to me "You must be laughing at all the people paying so much for gas," to which I replied, "I'm not laughing, I'm crying." Maybe I'm a little too high on my horse, but you got to stand up for what you believe in.

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