California lawmakers are anxious to let single passenger hybrids use the carpool lanes. I was on yesterday’s CBS Evening News arguing against the idea. The streaming video is available online. Just go here and click on “Hybrid Car Incentive Stalling.” We can get a little carried away gushing over the altruistic impulses of hybrid owners. I think hybrids are great (although Consumer Reports notes that gas mileage is about 25 percent worse than advertised) and I would bet that altruism is a factor in many people’s decision to buy a hybrid. It may be the main factor for many people. Even so, I have a sneaking suspicion that many people buy hybrids because … THEY’RE SELFISH! After all, think of the money you save on gas. Think of all the moral high ground you can assume at dinner parties. LA is considering giving free parking to hybrids, and some businesses will even give hybrids free car washes. There are plenty of selfish reasons to like hybrids, but my guess is that most people are probably motivated by a combination of altruism and selfishness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.