Tuesday, November 14, 2006

1991 Honda Civic, 50k miles

Last week I hosted our colloquium speaker -- a condensed matter theorist who is currently chairman of the Yale physics department. Upon seeing my 1991 Honda Civic, which I've had since grad school, he exclaimed "Steve, you've got to get a better car!"

To me, it's a point of pride that I've only put 50k miles on my car in 15 years, traveling from Berkeley to Cambridge MA to New Haven and back to Eugene. It shows who the real environmentalist is among all the poseurs :-) Ever notice how many "environmentalists" love to haul their 1 ton metal vehicle 100 miles over the weekend to enjoy some rock climbing? Can anyone calculate the atmospheric CO2 produced per hour of climbing?

According to this Times article about a top Goldman trader, I'm in good company with my crappy car!
NYTimes: Managers of billion-dollar hedge funds do not usually drive Hondas — except at Goldman Sachs, that is.

Traders at Wall Street investment banks are now priming themselves for another big bonus haul this year. And Raanan A. Agus, the manager of one of Goldman’s largest internal hedge funds, and the owner of a Honda minivan, will be in line for one of the richer paydays.

More than any other investment bank, Goldman Sachs relies on trading gains to drive its profits. Mr. Agus had a very good year in 2005 — he is estimated to have made $10 million to $20 million — and he will surely get a raise in 2006. His year is further evidence that on Wall Street, the real money is being made not by investment bankers cutting high-profile deals, but by anonymous traders making risky, profitable bets with their firm’s capital.

That Mr. Agus appears to be content to drive a Honda is a reminder that the relatively ascetic sensibility that marked his predecessors, like Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, remains in place at Goldman, even in today’s gilded era. ...


Anonymous said...

In the same 15 years, how many (inefficient) frequent flier miles have you logged?

Steve Hsu said...

Well, you caught me on that. Air travel uses an absurd amount of fuel -- more per passenger than if they each drove the same distance. I feel quite guilty about it, and look forward to the day when virtual reality is good enough that we don't need to haul our bodies all over the place just to have a meeting or give a seminar.

Seth said...


my 93 Corolla salutes your 91 Civic.

my environmentalism is supported in this case by a certain reluctance to spend money on a wasting asset. yeah i'm green, but i'm also cheap ;)

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