20.11.07

SMUG ALERT. Via Greg Mankiw (a bit obvious with the vanity plates, Professor?), a Harvard Crimson article on faculty preferences in cars. There's nothing quite like establishing a dominant paradigm to subvert the dominant paradigm.
Priuses are common, suspected Porsche owners don’t want to be interviewed, and, as for the most academic of automobiles? It’s the Subaru Forester.
Isn't the Forester sort of a baby SUV?

King at SCSU Scholars notes there's more conformity at one of the self-proclaimed Harvards of the South.
I am reminded of this conversation on EconTalk where Mike Munger tells of a meeting of Duke department chairs. Everyone has a Prius or other hybrid. Next to last comes up the chair of chemistry, who argues that hybrid cars may use more energy (though less fuel) than gas vehicles. (Here's one report explaining why that might be so.) The chemist is then asked what he drives. "Oh, I drive a Prius, but that's just because you have to if you're gonna be a faculty member."
The Crimson article mentions one prominent nonconformist on the Harvard faculty.

“I drive a Chevy,” John R. Stilgoe proclaims. “It makes me sound like a common man.” The famously quirky visual and environmental studies professor says his black ’96 Suburban helps him blend into rural America on his annual summer field trips into the heartland.

He’s also quick to note that he doesn’t actually drive his massive SUV (city fuel economy: 11-12 miles per gallon) to campus—just from his house south of Boston to a train station. “If you reduce your carbon footprint at the house, you can drive whatever you want,” Stilgoe says.

The article doesn't tell you that John is an O Scaler who is pretty handy with a razor saw.

For the record, I am a faculty member who does not drive a Prius. If I ever get around to identifying eight random things as I've been tasked to do, one of the entries will be that I have purchased three new cars so far, a 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit that I used for 140,000+ miles, a 1988 Volkswagen Golf that I used for 220,000+ miles, and a 2003 Volkswagen Golf that's a relative youngster at 67,000+ miles.

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