On Freakonomics Conspicuous Conservation and the Prius Effect The podcast is interesting. They quote the Southpark Smug Alert episode which I recall watching in SF. The Bay Area has a great deal of Conspicuous Conservation, typified not so much by the pious Prius but a vast SUV's with a bike rack and eco stickers. It's not just the GORE-TEX wearers of the Bear State. This happens on a large scale as well, Europe's towering wind farms pouring their output into decrepit national grids comes to mind.