Fuel-efficient cars: A 'chick magnet'?

Rep. Jim Ryan checks out a GM fuel-cell vehicle before test-driving it and declaring it 'a chick magnet.'

A story out yesterday that is almost indistinguishable from a top Onion article chronicles how members of Congress are "spamming" YouTube with videos trying to show young people how hip and "with it" they are. The result is"cringe worthy" video messages, according to the Daily Telegraph, including one from Nancy Pelosi showing life at the Capitol through the eyes of her cats.

It's funny enough imagining that the inanity of a couple hundred politicians' videos could in any way outpace that of millions of amateur navel-gazers worldwide. But the part that caught our notice here at Earth to Philly was Rep. Tim Ryan's video claim, apparently sardonic, that electric cars are "a chick magnet."

Setting aside the nomenclature or the question of whether such cars would be an asset for women seeking women, there's a whole back-and-forth on this issue as society gradually trends from the standard view of eco-geeks to one where environmentalism is becoming the mainstream. Last summer a survey actually found that 88% of women did indeed respond that they would prefer talking to a man with a fuel-efficient car over a guy with a new sports car. Picking up on this, the Wall Street Journal last fall reported on the ZAP Xebra Xero sedan, an electric car that "looks like a Tic-Tac," and nonetheless branded it, with seemingly no irony, "a chick magnet."

So what's the state of things today? Is Ryan's tongue-in-cheek jibe in danger of really being true? We welcome any fuel-efficient car owners, especially male and especially single, to weigh in with a reality check.

For my part, having owned a Prius for two years now, I have to say in all candor that I haven't noticed this effect. You could ascribe it to the wedding ring on my finger, but I heard that was supposed to be a chick magnet too! So I'll recuse myself from this as a lost cause and throw the question out to more knowledgeable guys and gals. Is eco-conscious driving still equated with pocket-protector geeks, or is the time ripe for "electro"-magnetism?