Once upon a time, Hollywood celebrities pulling up to the red carpet in front of the Academy Awards and other events showed their green cachet by showing up in shiny new hybrid vehicles.
But as the Hollywood Reporter dug up, this year's Oscars were light on the electric vehicles, as fewer stars opted to arrive in eco-friendly style. This is a big change from less than a decade ago, when car companies — most notably Toyota — offered celebs discount hybrids (or free rides in green cars) in the hopes that their star power would help sway other early adopters.
Matt Petersen, CEO of Global Green, a company that provided hybrids to celebrities for past Academy Awards, told the Hollywood Reporter that times have changed. It is "no longer was a novelty to offer [a Prius] so we decided to put our resources in other areas," he said. "It's not a sign of failure; I think it is a sign of success."
Instead of hybrids, most of this year's celebrities whose representatives were contacted by the industry newspaper planned to arrive in more luxurious style, being chauffeured in Lincoln Town Cars or SUVs. But that doesn't mean that all big vehicles used on Oscar night were gas guzzlers: the car-service firm Econation deployed 25 hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles to the awards ceremony.
Meanwhile, this sea change doesn't mean that Oscar night was hybrid-free. Mercedes-Benz premiered ads for its new S400 Hybrid during the telecast, and the company reported via press release that many celebs drove Mercedes hybrids of clean diesel vehicles to the Oscar ceremony and related parties: "Hollywood’s most notable talent who choose Mercedes-Benz for their green transportation include Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams, Golden Globe nominees Sofia Vergara and Bryan Cranston, 2011 Academy Award Best Actress Winner Natalie Portman, among others including Courteney Cox, Renee Zellweger, Diane Kruger, Freida Pinto and Dev Patel."
Hyundai was also a big Oscar night ad-buyer, airing nine commercials that night, including one for its Sonata hybrid.
And of course, high-end green cars are becoming more common in other parts of the Hollywood Hills. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ashton Kutcher's character on "Two and a Half Men" drives a $102,000 Fisker Karma, the same type of vehicle owned by Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore.