Hollywood Loves the Toyota Prius
By Daniel Muniz
I love it when movie stars try to take the moral high ground when it comes to global warming. Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and quite a few others tool around Hollywood in environmentally conscious hybrids like the Toyota Prius while George Clooney opts for the Tango electric car.
Yes, the Prius sips gas since it gets a whopping 60 miles to the gallon. And electric cars consume absolutely no gasoline although the electricity has to come from somewhere.
As to the big picture, the incredible fuel efficiency of hybrids does lessen our dependence on foreign oil while limiting the so-called carbon footprint but it can only be effective if a large enough segment of the population discards their ordinary vehicles and opts to drive these kinds of cars on a daily basis. So in order to accomplish that goal while saving the planet, movie stars adopted these hybrids for their personal use as a way to raise publicity and to encourage people to change their lifestyles.
But are Hollywood celebrities truly doing their part to save the environment and stop global warming or do they really have a bogus set of values that makes them feel good because of their enormous hypocrisy when it comes to pollution.
For instance, the private jets that movie stars zip around the country in and throughout the world are such thirsty gas guzzlers that they make a green Prius look like a Hummer.
A one-way trip from Los Angeles to New York City is about 2500 miles. In that one-way flight, depending on the model, a private jet consumes approximately 2750 gallons of jet fuel. Now imagine how many Hollywood celebrities fly around the country and around the world in private or chartered jets instead of simply using commercial jetliners like the rest of us common folk. And now imagine how often they take such flights.
Yes, a Prius is definitely energy efficient but let’s analyze a single one-way trip Jennifer Lopez did take from L.A. to New York City on a private jet. For the amount of jet fuel that her gas hog guzzled for that one-way trip, J-Lo would have to drive her Prius more than twice around the Earth. Yes, it takes quite a bit of effort for to compensate for the 45,000 miles that her fuel efficient green Prius would have gotten in exchange for one gas tank of 2750 gallons of jet fuel.
By the way, Jennifer Lopez was actually sued by a private jet company for skipping out on a gas bill. Her publicist insists that the legal action was simply a misunderstanding because she thought that she was not supposed to be billed. Perhaps J-Lo thought that jet fuel was free.
Now Brad Pitt loves hybrids and he has quite a few of them but lets examine a one-way trip he took to Namibia. The 9400 mile flight on his private jet consumed approximately 11,000 gallons of jet fuel. In contrast, Pitt could have driven his Prius to the moon in order to compensate for the amount of jet fuel he burned while on his way to Africa.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit different than other Hollywood celebrities because he claims that he actually flies on commercial flights although he admits that he only uses a private jet because of how his time is scheduled.
Now I don’t buy his concession because ordinary people do not have access to private jets and yet they are still able to get from point A to point B. It just takes the rest of us a little bit longer. Besides, isn’t saving the planet supposed to be more important than shaving off a few hours in a day?
To be blunt, there is absolutely no fuel efficiency involved when using a private jet. These types of aircraft are gas hogs and they waste an enormous amount of fuel when celebrities choose to use them as private transportation. If a Hollywood celebrity is trying to save the planet by driving hybrid cards, then there is really no way to justify the use of these jets for such personal use especially when they are zipping around Hollywood in a Prius.
But what really bothers me is that environmentalists love to castigate SUV owners, especially when they drive their vehicles alone, yet they have absolutely no inclination to criticize the lavish wasteful lifestyles of the rich and famous movie stars. Yes, Hollywood celebrities do love to drive their hybrids but their gas guzzling private jets negate whatever goals that they are trying to accomplish. And worse, they end up contributing even more pollution to the environment instead of reducing their carbon footprint.
Yet, private jets are absolutely not on the radar screens for environmental activists because they know full well that their Hollywood supporters incessantly use them and rely on them for their private transportation needs. What is most bothersome is that the same activists have no problem demanding that local and state governments spend huge amounts of taxpayer money to fund fuel efficient public transportation networks for the masses but they have no inclination to criticize the celebrities that use gas guzzlers for their own private travel.
Overall, the Toyota Prius and other electric cars do make the movie stars feel good even though they are consuming more fossil fuels and creating more pollution than what they want everyone to know. And by participating in this trendy crusade, it allows them to escape any criticisms over their own shortfalls while they criticize the public for still using polluting automobiles.
Perhaps the public ought to take Hollywood seriously about hybrids if and only if their movie stars give up their gas guzzling private jets and begin traveling the same way that the rest of us ordinary people do.