Greenwashing Cadillacs and McMansions

A review of the 2012 Cadillac Escalade compares the greenwashing of the Escalade and McMansions:

And of course, the Escalade is not a paragon of fuel efficiency, but you knew that. Still, 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway is pretty grim. Much better mileage is available, however, in the form of the Escalade Hybrid. It’s easy to view that car as a cynical bit of greenwashing (sort of like putting bamboo floors in your McMansion), but the Hybrid’s EPA ratings of 20/23 mpg put it on a par with much smaller vehicles — the city rating particularly.

Two thoughts:

1. I’ve asked repeatedly whether McMansions could be considered green. SUVs have similar issues: how many MPG would they need to no longer be considered with derision by critics?

2. The comparison between McMansions and SUVs is not unusual. Here is a finding from my recently published paper on the meaning of the term McMansion: out of the 637 articles that mentioned McMansions in the New York Times between 1/1/00 and 12/31/09, at least 33 compared McMansions and SUVs. Both are often cited as exemplars of excessive consumption (using resources, debt, sprawl, etc.) and many critics would love to leave the two objects to a foregone past.

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