Sunday, December 7, 2008

Assignment 4-1

Toyota Prius

Popular culture is constantly changing. One issue that is on the minds of many people throughout the world is the idea of global warming. Scientists seem to be in disagreement about what is really going on, but that certainly won’t get in the way of pop culture. One of the icons of the global warming crowd is the Toyota Prius. The car is very popular because it is a hybrid, meaning that the car has a gas engine along with a rechargeable energy storage system (“Hybrid,” 2008). This storage system lets the Prius collect energy from the cars brakes each time the brakes are put on. Then the Prius can use that energy to run the vehicle at low speeds. This helps to reduce the emissions that the vehicle puts out.

Toyota first produced the Prius in 1997 (“Toyota,” 2008). The Prius hit the states a few years later and started to sell at a decent rate even at that point. Recently, Toyota dealerships couldn’t keep the cars on the lots. They were selling very quickly due to the very high price of oil and gas. When gas was hitting $4.00 a gallon, all of the sudden buying a car that gets great gas mileage seemed like a no brainer. People started to buy all sorts of small, fuel efficient cars. Toyota managed to be in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, General Motors can’t say the same thing.

Today, the price of gas is at a several year low. This has, undoubtedly, affected the sales of the Prius to some extent. The thing is people got the message that gas prices can get very high here in the United States. It will just be a matter of time before they are high again. The Prius is a very fuel efficient car and it will continue to be successful. At this point in time, it is even seen as cool to be driving a hybrid (at least in certain crowds). It is a way to show that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is and buy a hybrid. The reason I say this is that these hybrids cost a premium. The car companies know that people that want one of these cars will pay more for them. Over time, you get the money back by buying less fuel. At $1.50, it takes a long time to get that money back just so you are even. At $4.00, you break even on the extra expense much quicker.

Therefore, the Prius has shown that on a bad day it will sell at a decent rate. On a good day, you might not be able to buy a Prius if you walk into the dealership with cash. The Prius is a pop culture icon and the technology behind the car is here to stay.

Hybrid electric vehicle. (2008). Wikipedia. Retrieved December 7, 2008, from
Toyota Prius. (2008). Wikipedia. Retrieved December 7, 2008, from

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