Green Machines vs. Gas Guzzlers

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty

I was fueling up the other day at my local Mobil where the hi-test unleaded runs in the $3.50+/per gallon range.  The pumps aren't so fast and it was cold so I spent the time in my car reading the front page of our local paper The Greenwich Time.  When iI heard the gas pump click I looked at the pump and it had stopped when it got to $75.00.  Someone later told me credit card gas purchases will max out at that amount.  Whatever the reason, it got me thinking (again) about the car I drive and why I don't make other, more fuel efficient choices when it comes to automobiles.  As agents, we spend a lot of time in the car.....especially in Greenwich which is about 50 square miles!

Selling real estate successfully in Greenwich, Connecticut seems to require a mix of skills and talents. Among them: local knowledge, full-time status, hard work, connections and a nice car.  When I got into this business, I went out and leased (at great expense) a BMW 7-series.  Not only did it look great, but it drove incredibly on dry warm days and it was very comfortable for me and clients.  It gets horrible MPG so I feel like I'm refueling all the time.

So my question that I ponder is: would clients be more psyched to see their agent pull up in a Toyota Prius that gets 46 MPG or my BMW which gets 15 MPG?  Would they be proud to know their representative is a forward-thinking eco-broker when it comes to cars?  Or would they see it a different way?  My client base buying and selling homes here are mostly involved in the financial sector where big money is changing hands on a daily basis and, for some, the car they drive is an extension of their persona.

Is there more to the decision than just economics?  I realize it's a mostly superficial question but, hey, that's what blogs are for,right?

Comments (6)

Toby Munk
Aspen Sotheby's International Realty - Aspen, CO

Not superficial at all. It seems like the more high end the real estate the more the public expects a luxury car when driven around.

The average Aspen broker drives a SUV either Audi, VW, Porsche some US and Japanese models mixed in. You can imagine the gas mileage. I think I will buy a Mercedes Smart to drive around for open houses tours and when I am just working and have the SUV for showings only.

That way I can at least be proactive when the situation allows for it. Over time things will change, but try getting a family of 4 and yourself into a Prius....... 


Feb 23, 2008 01:30 AM
RE/MAX Advantage Realtors, Searcy, AR - Searcy, AR


I just purchased a 2008 Danali, I love the SUV, that's all I have driven for the past several years.  However, I did not know, it was not on the window sticker, that my car is suppose to run the higher octane.  I would not have purchased it if I had known.  It says you can run the 87 but it will make your engine knock at times, give me a break. 

Feb 23, 2008 02:03 AM


your question touches on a larger theme - how do we as responsible adults manage our hypocrisy?  what stocks do we hold in our portfolios (what ceos are making these tradeoffs)?  what tradeoffs do we make in our work (the beemer being a great example)?  what do we tell ourselves and our kids about our choices?


sad to say, i think you are more likely to lose a trade if you roll up in a prius than the land shark you got.  is it your battle to fight to convince high rollers house shopping that they too should be getting better mileage?  someone buying a 10000 foot house lives on the margin of excess by definition :-)


in 'thanks for smoking' the sophist calls this the yuppie nuremberg defense: we had to do it, we gotta pay the mortgage.  i am right there with ya.  it's a bear of a problem to wrestle...  but asking the question, shining light on the issue is a starting point.






Feb 24, 2008 03:46 PM
Brian Keller
Brian Keller Realty - Newport, TN
I have driven a couple different smarts on trips to Europe.  They are great. I just would not want to be in an accident in one. 
Mar 22, 2008 12:48 PM
Eric Egeland
RE/MAX SUBURBAN - Libertyville, IL

really depends on your clients...some want to see success, others feel like you make too much


you can't win them all, so do what is right for you

Apr 24, 2008 10:56 AM
Shane Trotta
CT Appraisal Group, LLC - Guilford, CT

Satisfy both needs. Lexus has the 400h...hybrid Lexus SUV. Big enough to fit extra people if need be (Prius will leave you short on that), it gets decent mileage, it, and it's a lexus. I just spoke with another agent who has one and he said he loves it.

 Good Luck,


Apr 26, 2008 06:17 AM