Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Prius people strike me a lot like methadone junkies, the question they ask isn't how to kick the habit, but how to keep it rolling.

More like how to keep some of their income.  The Prius is not a luxury car in any sense except the mileage and the technology employed. The payback over buying a 4 cylinder Camry is dropping by the month.  Hard to fault people for that.  People faced with a car buying decision don't have the choice of a better designed urban environment.  Come the day.  

And the real tragedy is that keeping people in their cars perpetuates one of the key means by which individuals indicate social status in our unequal society.

I would argue that just commuting in a car is in fact a rather weak indicator of social status.  In LA you see a lot of 15-20 year old Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans on the Freeways.  How is that a status symbol? The indicators of social status are  Mercedes, Lexus, Rolls, etc. It does distinguish you from panhandlers at freeway off ramps and from immigrants riding bicycles.  It is getting hard to determine status from bus riding.

In cities without widespread urban transit systems cars per se are more an indicator of employment than of status.  High mileage motorcycles and scooters are becoming more popular, especially in warmer, drier climates.  With the highly likely continued upward trajectory of gas prices, many families may find themselves purchasing a motorcycle and becoming a one car, one motorcycle family.  Keeping a second old car for bad weather may turn out to be an excellent decision in families with two wage earners.  Might just keep both working.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 12:22:27 AM EST

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