Planet Gore

Cutting Back on the Greens

Never mind Thomas Friedman’s claim that Green is the new Red, White, and Blue. Green is a luxury in these tight times. Hybrid sales dropped faster than the overall market in 2008 and investment dollars for alternative power projects have evaporated.
Even Toyota — that darling of the green car crowd — is nixing green spending as non-essential as it tries to rebound from its first year of unprofitability in six decades.
Incoming president Akio Toyoda will move away from “gizmos like a solar-powered cooling system designed for the new Prius,” the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. That roof was one of Toyota’s headliners at last month’s Detroit International Auto Show as the industry hailed the Green revolution.
Now it’s just a “gizmo.” That’s because (unreported at the show) it helps goose the cost of the 2010 Prius to $28,000 from the current 2009 model’s $22,000. With hybrid sales tanking, apparently even the upscale Prius demographic thinks that that is a little too much green.
“Also likely to be axed: A new ‘ecological plastic,’” continues the Journal, “that emits less carbon dioxide over the course of its life than more traditional alternatives, but which is costlier to produce.”
Greens tell us that the greatest threat to mankind is global warming. Now even Toyota acknowledges a greater threat: the bottom line.

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