(Originally written on August 6, 2010)
Perhaps it is not quite as asinine a phenomenon as gull-wing doors, but I’ve recently being going on light rants about the new craze of the “Eco Button” on new cars. Essentially, the buttons just make your car slower and smoother in order to achieve higher fuel efficiency. Your accelerator becomes less sensitive, the motor less responsive and it keeps you from doing something stupid like running your air-conditioning at maximum when you don’t need it. It is a unique feature but, like a lot of new features, it seems to take the driving element out of driving. If you want to make your car slower and more efficient, why didn’t you just by a slower and more efficient car or drive your current car more efficiently? Prius owners who get off on mastering the art of efficient driving are going to be furious.
The eco mode is simply the inverse of the sport mode offered on many faster and less economical cars. Press the sport button and your already peppy vehicle becomes a much more aggressive and a little more fuel hungry. Press the eco button and your practical transportation unit becomes a fuel sipping slug with minimal niceties. Why don’t we all just buy lightweight cars with efficient engines and without all the expensive features so we won’t have to press any more damn buttons? It might be nice to but the driver back into the driving.
This seems like a good idea that has been poorly executed. Are we really convinced that a button is really the answer to our problems? It seems as if nobody wants to do, experience or learn anything for themselves or even employ a little critical thinking. People are going to make the claim that their eco button is saving the environment. Never mind that they traded in a perfectly fine vehicle for one that had to be assembled from raw materials that had to be obtained, shipped, smelted, shipped, molded, shipped, assembled, shipped and then built into a car before being shipped one last time- we’re saving the environment!
This is probably one of the first comics I ever made as an “adult.” Note the lack of straight lines or skill.