A recent experience at the Morton Arboretum led me to this question regarding where I was more likely to see Toyota Prii:
-The parking lot for Whole Foods on a weekend
-At the arboretum on Earth Day weekend
Since certain lifestyle and consumption choices are tied to other lifestyle patterns (for example: TV shows), connecting Prius owners to these two places may not be that surprising. One study had this to say about small car owners:
Small Car: Prius, Honda Civic, Smart Car
According to a study by researchers at UC Davis, “What type of vehicle do people drive?
The role of attitude and lifestyle in influencing vehicle type choice,” small car drivers are more pro-environmental and prefer higher density neighborhoods than drivers of others types of cars. This isn’t surprising; if you live in a big city, it’s simply easier to park with a small car and if you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want something that’s more fuel-efficient. Small car drivers, unlike other categories of drivers, don’t necessarily see their cars as a ticket to freedom. They aren’t workaholics or status seekers who try to display wealth. They want to lessen their impact on the earth and have a reliable car—and find a parking spot.
When considering the number of Prii at the arboretum, there were also a large number of vans and SUVs, vehicles less friendly toward the environment. Can a driver claim to be an environmentalist while also driving a large vehicle? Is a Prius a special badge of honor?