by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV.

Last year’s Oscars featured a bevy of green vehicles ushering celebrities to the red carpet. From the electric Zap! and Tesla Roadster to the Toyota Prius to plug-ins and hydrogen-powered sedans. It was encouraging to see so many different examples of sustainable vehicles grace the evening. This year’s announcement that GM will be sponsoring the transportation makes 2007 seem like the good old days. In other words, it’s a step back for Hollywood.

And here’s why: Much like the 2008 Grammy Awards, GM is bringing a fleet of 75 vehicles to usher celebs to the red carpet. Of those deemed ‘eco-friendly’, the majority will be the 2008 Yukon Hybrid SUV. This hulking full-size SUV is large enough to fit 9 people. Gas mileage, while continuously touted as 25-50% better than previous Yukons, is still a miserable 20mpg. By 2020, when the new mileage standards come into force, this thing is going to look downright caustic; much less a symbol of American innovation in the face of rising gas prices and environmental concerns.

There are some that will argue green technology in these vehicles is better than none at all — and I agree. However, I don’t think they deserve to be promoted in the same light as smaller green vehicles. Last year’s Oscars had the right idea because there were technologies and options in the spotlight that otherwise might not have crossed America’s radar. This year, it’s a fleet of full-size SUVs that say hybrid and fuel-cell on the side. If one didn’t know any better, you’d think the Academy Awards were being held in Detroit instead of Los Angeles.

Alas, bring on the clowns…

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Sarah

    It’s so true. How can GM get just as much credit for a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon when you look at the Honda Fit. Really, do lots of people NEED 9 person vehicles? I think not. What we need is to change the general perception of what is necessary to drive if we are ever going to address climate change seriously. I was at a conference last week at Art Center College called the Sustainability Summit ( and they featured the new Mitsubishi and the Tata Nano, both great examples of green vehicles, especially the Nano since it is SO cheap, $2500 (though it has no A/C). Additionally, once car companies make better cars, the major task is going to be change our infrastructure. I was really impressed by the developers and companies at the Art Center Summit and I really hope more schools and companies start following Art Center’s lead by bringing people together who are trying to make sweeping changes. I’m also really interested to see what emerges from the Art Center Global Dialogues (another big event: on climate changes and green design and how it effects business and culture.

  • Hmm…

    Nice plug, Sarah. Can you try to be a little more obvious with the plant?

    It is sad how PR people are starting to use blog comments for free advertising.

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