Can celebrities have their environmental cake and eat it too?
Econation thinks so.
The company offers chauffeured transportation in luxury vehicles and SUVs that are hybrid or run on alternative fuel, charging the same or less than similar services.
Econation does business in big cities all over the world, but its biggest success has come in the image-obsessed world of entertainment.
The company has contracts with most of the major Hollywood studios and will be taking dozens of stars to the Oscars.
"When you watch the telecast, you'll see some very big stars rolling up in these vehicles," says Econation co-founder Ben Bloch.
"We've had a lot of celebrities say 'You know what? I've been rolling around in such a big SUV that's not green and feeling bad about it for a while just because I see all these other people doing this. And I don't necessarily know enough about it yet but I want to start by doing something.' "
Yukon To Prius: A Vehicle In Every Size
The most popular vehicle at Econation is the classic Lincoln Town Car, but with a twist: It's fueled by compressed natural gas.
Another favorite is the hulking GMC Yukon, with three roomy rows of seats, an entertainment system, and plenty of refreshments including Fiji water. "A lot of people still don't think these are very environmentally friendly, but they really are," says Bloch. "They're quite good on gas mileage, actually better than what we've seen them project."
That's 20 mpg in the city, which could seem eco-friendly only compared with the 15 mpg that the non-hybrid model gets, according to GMC.
Bloch says Econation's hybrids get better mileage than that because of all the stop-and-go driving that is typical in traffic-clogged Los Angeles.
If you don't want to risk being seen stepping out of such a massive vehicle onto the red carpet, Econation also offers the classic hybrid status symbol.
"You'd be surprised [at] the kind of people who will only take a [Toyota] Prius," says Bloch. "A lot of big names you know, a lot of the heads of studios. ... It's amazing because even the times we've said can we put you in something else they've said, 'No, that's all I ever want to be in.' "
If you do decide to go with the Prius, be sure to keep your entourage small. And don't forget to leave room for the chauffeur.
When A Hybrid Isn't Green Enough
For those who want to be truly green, there's an open letter at the blog Commute by Bike addressed to entertainers attending the Academy Awards ceremony.
"You want to out-care DiCaprio?" writes Ted Johnson. "I'm suggesting you arrive at the Oscars by bike."
While noting that "the hybrid vehicle thing" peaked in 2005, Johnson offers helpful tips on how to modify your designer shoes to work with pedals and how to ride in a dress.
No word if anyone will be taking up Johnson's challenge.