News - Do gasoline-electric hybrid cars have a prayer of catching on in Atlanta?

Yes. Atlantans already know what doctors, government agencies and environmentalists keep saying: Our air is killing us.

Although still largely novelties now, these alternative vehicles — with prices falling and tax incentives gaining — are poised to catch hold of economic, social and political momentum.

Why? Because, despite the perception that local drivers are a mob of SUV jockeys pounding their steering wheels while rant-radio blowhards scream for bigger roads and bigger rides, Atlantans are not idiots. Every commuter who's observed the grimy specter of our city disappearing into a sinister brown-gray fog; every parent who's had to pull a kid out of school and trek to the respiratory specialist for an asthma inhaler; everyone who's ever stepped onto a downtown sidewalk and been hit with an eye-tearing, nose-burning blast of toxic emissions — all these folks already know what doctors, government agencies and environmentalists keep saying: Our air is killing us.

Sure, we can thank our pals at Southern Co. — which has spent more money bribing lawmakers and cranking out syrupy "don't hate us 'cause we're poisoning you" commercials than it would ever need to fix its pollution-belching power plants — for a large portion of the lung-busting suspension we call air.

But while the disastrous effects of Atlanta's auto-centric lifestyles have become irrefutable for even the most hardheaded anti-enviros wheezing among us, there's also a dollars-and-sense argument here. Without buying into the "Satan drives an SUV" hyperbole some greenies espouse, it's noticeable that many families have either traded in the ol' bread truck for something more economical, or opted to tool around town in the Honda and save the 14-mile-per Panzer for packing up the kids for a weekend trek to Lake Lanier. Similarly, if you're commuting from Marietta to Midtown, getting 50 or 60 miles per gallon could feel mighty nice as you watch those gas prices rise and fall.

Then there's the social aspect. Back when those damnable Clintons were running things and "liberalls" were universally scorned, the arbiters of cool — college kids, pop stars, Hollywood punks, West Coast producers and East Coast publishers — were toting mountain bikes atop their Suburbans.

Now, with the New Right rampant and the Halls of Power safely in the hands of puffy ol' pink guys again, alternative is way cool. Forget the Humvee, Homer — the hotties at the Tri Delta house'll be pulling the doors offa that electric-blue ragtop Battery Buggie.

And you can actually park it in one space, too.

Greg Land is idling quietly in Clarkston.??

The Blotter
COVID Updates
Latest News
Current Issue