Pop Culture
May 20, 2008, 08:01AM

Going Green, Going Broke

A former SUV owner decided to ditch her hulking truck and go for an eco-friendly car. But figuring out a cheap and environmental way to drive proved to be more than a college student's budget could handle.

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Image by Mike Licht

"I decided last week that for the first time in my life, I was ready to give in to peer pressure. Considering the degree to which I harp on my family and friends to turn the lights off and unplug appliances, I harbor a pretty incriminating skeleton in my closet - I drive an SUV.

To be fair, it's a small one. But my fine ride of a beige 1999 GMC Jimmy is enough to qualify me for hypocrite status. For years, I've endured unending heckling on this point, the disparity between my words and my actions a glaring point of contradiction. To ease my mind, I rationalized that I was way too broke to afford making a switch. But with a bit of graduation money tucked away- not to mention, in the face of $4-a-gallon gas at 16 miles per gallon - I finally decided my friends were right. It was time to put my money where my mouth was.

By the end of my afternoon spent searching, instead of feeling satisfied and eco-savvy, I felt hurt, confused and ready for some serious antihypertensives. As I find is often the case, in trying to make conscientious life choices even the best of intentions didn't get me to where I wanted to go.


  • A college student admits to owning an SUV. That takes guts. Don't you get lynched for stuff like that? Unless you've got a King Kong "carbon footprint" like Al Gore's.

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  • You mean Al Gore doesn't fly to his speaking engagements on the backs of noble eagles?

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  • In his daydreams, he does. Gore should make all his speeches at his mansion in Nashville, and have all the corporate guests drive there in a caravan of Prius' (but carpooling, of course).

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