Friday, February 1, 2008
The not-so-smart car: Where veganism and environmentalism clash
I was so excited that the Smart ForTwo car was coming to the United States this year after being available for years in Europe. It is the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid on the market. Only the Toyota Prius gets better highway mileage (45 mpg to 41 mpg, according to the EPA's 2008 standard). Unfortunately, the ForTwo comes standard with a leather steering wheel and leather gear-shift knob. I e-mailed the company about it, and here was their response: "Dear smart Enthusiast, Thank you for your interest in smart USA. Unfortunately at this time leather is the only option available for the steering wheel." It makes me so disgusted. I am trying to be a good environmentalist and want to do the right thing, but I will not buy a car that's dressed up with the skin of another animal. The idea that you can't even special order a non-leather steering wheel and gear-shift knob is just amazing. I'm so glad a company is making a small, reasonably priced and fuel-efficient car. Unfortunately, there's too much cruelty in its make-up for my green.