I am not a car snob. 

I’ve owned a higher-end hybrid SUV for several years, and while it does make me feel good to drive a “luxury” car (burled wood! Seats that have everything except Magic Fingers!), I am SO not attached to it. I’m basically a bargain shopper who buys everything on sale, with coupons, plus extra early bird savings for showing up at the store at 5a.m., puffy and wild-eyed, wearing two different shoes.

 But the company I work for (which is admirably green-conscious) offers us cash incentives to buy hybrids – and the highest incentive, for the Toyota Prius, is $4,000.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot pass up $4,000 in free money. Even to buy a car I don’t really like.

 Well, it’s not that I don’t like the Prius, it just lacks some of the amenities of my other car.

 Sure, I get the satisfaction of getting 50 miles to the gallon. And of thumbing my nose at less ecologically-conscious drivers, whose selfishness is so 2005.

 But climbing out of a Prius at the valet stand just doesn’t have the same cachet. Washing your car at the $2 do-it-yourself place doesn’t feel as gratifying – “See, I’m just like you common folk!” – when you’re in the same car as half the patrons. Driving through McDonald’s and smiling at the cashier as if to say, “I’m not too good to eat crappy 99-cent burgers” loses something when you’re in an economobile.

 Apparently, I AM a car snob. God, I feel so ashamed of myself.

 But I would look so much more attractively ashamed in a Lexus.