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July 31, 2002
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As the biggest, burliest SUV sold in the United States -- nearly 19 feet long and weighing about 7,200 pounds -- the Excursion was attacked by social critics who accused Ford of environmental irresponsibility. I for one, will not miss it.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow (77 comments total)

 
"Excursion delivered about 12 m.p.g. and proved too tall to fit in many garages."
posted by mhaw at 1:08 PM on July 31, 2002


Fortunately, they'll still be available on Ebay.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2002


There is a god. And apparently he has some clout in Detroit.
posted by me3dia at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2002


Good Riddance. Who's next to go down? Escalade, I'm looking at you...
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:15 PM on July 31, 2002


you knew that bill ford's sensibilities would have an impact on the company at some point. i understand that you can't always just do away with products. but i don't care much for SUVs to begin with.
posted by moz at 1:17 PM on July 31, 2002


There is a god. And apparently he has some clout in Detroit.
the bad news is, he drives a Suburban.
posted by quonsar at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2002


And Jesus is his co-pilot.
posted by mooseindian at 1:23 PM on July 31, 2002


God? I thought he drove a Canyonero.

The Excursion is built at Ford's Kentucky Truck Assembly plant in Louisville, alongside the Super-Duty F-Series pickup. Eliminating the Excursion would likely have little effect on the plant's 5,700 hourly workers, analysts said.
Except they have to buy a second vehicle for the morning carpool.
posted by sj at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2002


I'm trading in my Excursion on a Gavin!
posted by UncleFes at 1:29 PM on July 31, 2002


Speaking of SUVs, High and Mighty: SUVs--The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way, is coming out in Sept: Keith Bradsher, "the longtime Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times, lays bare the dangers posed by the most popular type of American family car: the sport utility vehicle."
posted by espada at 1:31 PM on July 31, 2002


Honestly, I liked the look of that truck. Yes, it was(is) an environmental catastrophe, but it had a certain bent appeal. As an owner of an SUV, (Who, by the way, actually uses it as a utility vehicle) I will be sad to see it go. As a health conscience environmentalist, I say all the better.
posted by Decypher at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2002


lays bare the dangers posed by the most popular type of American family car: the sport utility vehicle.

In other words, reporters figure out what drivers have known all along: in a crash, it's safer to be in a big car rather than a small one. Sherlock Holmes must be spinning in his grave.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:42 PM on July 31, 2002


Mine is bigger
posted by aaronscool at 1:49 PM on July 31, 2002


What's really freaky is parking a Miata next to an Excursion, looking out the side window, and just it seeming like you're just barely at eye level with the door sill.

This post has no content.
posted by jammer at 1:51 PM on July 31, 2002


Blah, blah, blah, SUV evil, gas hog, compensation factor, yakkety shmakkety.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:54 PM on July 31, 2002


From a MiniCooper billboard (to the best of my recollection): ...don't let the size of your car make up for other shortcomings...
posted by TskTsk at 1:59 PM on July 31, 2002


There is a god. And apparently he has some clout in Detroit.

I thought He may have had something to do with this...
posted by adampsyche at 2:00 PM on July 31, 2002


Now can we get rid of the Caddilac pickup truck too?

**note** That link is one of the best reviews ever.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:01 PM on July 31, 2002


from bitdamaged's link:

Cadillac's brand manager says, "Cadillac research showed that there was a real need for the EXT." A real need for a Cadillac pickup? Really? If so, then here are a few things that I really need: An air-conditioned front yard. Iguana-skin patio furniture. Stigmata. Mint-flavored Drano. Gold-plated roof gutters. A 190-hp MerCruiser SaladShooter. A dog with a collapsible tail. An office desk that converts into a Hovercraft. Chrome slacks. A lifetime subscription to Extreme Fidgeting. A third arm. A fourth wife. A smokeless Cuban Robusto. Reusable Kleenex.

priceless.
posted by mooseindian at 2:11 PM on July 31, 2002


There's an interesting article and discussion going on in Kuro5hin about the 'SUV Arms Race', with a lot of relevant facts and opinions.
posted by adrianhon at 2:17 PM on July 31, 2002


As I've said before--the people at Cadillac are idjits--I used to work on dealer group advertising for them in Detroit (the groups we handled were the Detroit groups of Cadillac dealers, as well as a number of different groups in the Southern US). They were always trying to think of ways to get younger people to buy their cars, with disastrous results. Vis a vis, the DeVille "Makin' Whoopee" campaign, the Catera duck...

The Escalade was a stupid idea, and that pickup truck is an even worse one. And don't get me started on the pleasing personalities many of the dealers have...
posted by eilatan at 2:24 PM on July 31, 2002


Gee, if I wanted to deflect critcism away from my offensive polluting SUVs, I'd introduce an even larger one, and then loudly withdraw it from the market.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:28 PM on July 31, 2002


People do tow boats, horse trailers, RVs and the like you know. Suburbans and Excursions are the only vehicles of their kind that can tow that much gross weight. Of course, that doesn't exclude blame against people that use them to buy their groceries, but one must think of the practical usage of these vehicles. Buying an F350 pickup AND a 4 seat vehicle with luggage room isn't necessarily any better for the environment.
posted by machaus at 2:38 PM on July 31, 2002


Fortunately, they'll still be available on Ebay.

Look for the ones with the optional extra of the hosepipe leading from the exhaust to the front window. You know it makes sense.
posted by riviera at 2:42 PM on July 31, 2002


Has your Suburban or Expedition gotten too small for you, or have the Jones' just one-upped you once again with a new Excursion? If you thought that so-called "large" SUVs like the Expedition have a tough look, then you need to check out the new Kenworth Pilgrimage!
posted by Tubes at 2:44 PM on July 31, 2002


I can't remember which company had a commercial about their vehicle and the down size to this, yet it did say it best where I live. And yes it could be a great vehicle for a construction crew, which being a commercial vehicle I would think they would still offer by Ford. And I never saw one with more than just a driver except the limo version, which man was a limo.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:56 PM on July 31, 2002


Gee, if I wanted to deflect critcism away from my offensive polluting SUVs, I'd introduce an even larger one, and then loudly withdraw it from the market.

an interesting thought for sure.
posted by mrplab at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2002


eilatan - And don't get me started on the pleasing personalities many of the dealers have...

Too bad, that's exactly what I'd like to hear about.
posted by NortonDC at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2002


There's a pretty good rant about "Suburban Assault Vehicles" in today's Sydney Morning Herald. Critics in Australia have even more grounds to get irate, because arcane taxation laws mean regular imported cars get taxed at 15% while SUV's only get 5%. Thus the government's actually subsidizing the suburban jerks who choose to drive these things.
posted by web-goddess at 4:21 PM on July 31, 2002


"...the suburban jerks who choose to drive these things"

Note the important word in that clause is choose. Choice is a good thing, right? Or is it only good if they choose what you like?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:35 PM on July 31, 2002


Critics in Australia have even more grounds to get irate, because arcane taxation laws mean regular imported cars get taxed at 15% while SUV's only get 5%. Thus the government's actually subsidizing the suburban jerks who choose to drive these things.

While the discrepancy is odd, a lower rate of taxation is not a subsidy.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:39 PM on July 31, 2002


People do tow boats, horse trailers, RVs and the like you know. Suburbans and Excursions are the only vehicles of their kind that can tow that much gross weight machaus, I see all sorts of trucks hauling boats and horse trailers. My parents' VOLVO used to haul a boat!

SUV's are really necessary for probably 2% of the owners of them (nope, no "research to back that one up! Just an observation.) The rest don't need them to go shopping or take the kids to soccer practice or drive to Tahoe for the weekend. I'm glad it's gone. I wish the other behemoths would follow it. (Especially since I drive a Miata and those huge SUV's could squash me without even noticing it.)

mr_crash_davis, I believe that everyone who inhabits this world has a responsibility to take care of it. It's not the responsible thing to drive more car than you need. To waste more gas than you need to. I have the same problem with people who run the water while they're brushing their teeth-just because it's there doesn't mean it's okay to waste it. All inhabitants of this earth have a responsibility to not waste it, and driving an SUV is a pretty obvious waste of gas and more quickly leads to ruination of the environment than driving a Subaru or lighter truck.
posted by aacheson at 4:41 PM on July 31, 2002


Escalade, I'm looking at you...

...might as well cancel MTV Cribs right now.

You know, it's all about the bling bling or something.
posted by jerseygirl at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2002


You know, if you're going to tow something, get a freaking pick up truck. My dad has a Ford F-250 diesel pickup that he uses to tow his massively huge fifth wheel, and it's useful for hauling other things, too--like my sorry ass that just moved 1400 miles cross country. If you have kids to haul, get a minivan.

As for the pleasing personalities of the dealers, let's just say they all thought they were Very Important People, even though they only sold cars. I mean, really--cars are important and all for getting around, but the people who sell them don't deserve to be treated better than anyone else, but that's how they expected to be treated. And then there is the fact that all the dealers dislike each other, because they're competitors, generally, as Dealer Marketing Associations tend to be organized geographically.
posted by eilatan at 5:11 PM on July 31, 2002


If you have kids to haul, get a minivan.

No one has complained about my van yet. I'm confident that it is larger and less fuel efficient than any SUV. Fully loaded, with all 8 paxtonlanders and their junk, I doubt seriously I get 10 MPG. But, then again, what else could we possibly use to haul us all around with. Any minivan is just too small.

In reality, it's not the conspicuous consumption aspect of these things that bothers me. It's the whole "SUV attitude." Commuting to and from Detroit showed me more rolled over SUV's than anything else on the road by far. The drivers of these things, generally speaking, are not responsible and experienced enough to handle them.

So many of them drive too fast, take too many chances and don't know how to react and compensate when something goes wrong.

Once, while 6 months pregnant, my wife was struck from behind by a Yukon doing about 60 MPH. She was driving a (borrowed) full sized mid-80's Buick station wagon, obviously no small contender itself. The station wagon was nearly folded in half, the drivers seat was broken in half. They found her glasses 45 feet behind the scene of the accident. Yet, she was able to walk away unharmed.

After that, we decided that the only protection from these things was to drive something that was much bigger, higher, and heavier.

So far, so good.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 5:34 PM on July 31, 2002


because arcane taxation laws mean regular imported cars get taxed at 15% while SUV's only get 5%.

This is why the station wagon (I loved our old yellow 'wagon) is out of style with automakers. Every time there is a new tax or regulation, the easiest way to skirt it is by coming up with a new product that is not defined by the law or regulation. So first we had minivans, and now SUVS, which are technically trucks, which have different rules than cars. The government does not technically consider SUVs to be trucks, but they are. Maybe if they realized this they would drive their vehicles more safely. I was getting worried by the Excursion though, it was making by 'burban look small.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:45 PM on July 31, 2002


That should have read, the government technically considers SUVs to be trucks, even though most people do not.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:46 PM on July 31, 2002


I'm glad it's gone. I wish the other behemoths would follow it. (Especially since I drive a Miata

Yes, because sports cars are SO environmentally friendly. C'mon.
posted by rushmc at 6:14 PM on July 31, 2002


I find it shocking that antique grandpas with sight and hearing impairment, not to mention Parkinson's shakes, can go out and purchase a motorhome the size of a Greyhound bus...

...and only need a standard driver's license to operate the damn thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:17 PM on July 31, 2002


"All inhabitants of this earth have a responsibility to not waste it, and driving an SUV is a pretty obvious waste of gas and more quickly leads to ruination of the environment than driving a Subaru or lighter truck."

Great. You pedal your bike to soothe your conscience. I'm putting a supercharger on my Monte Carlo.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:40 PM on July 31, 2002


Yes, because sports cars are SO environmentally friendly. C'mon.

23/28 is pretty hard to beat. The older Miatas get 25/30. It isn't exactly a big muscle car.

Environmentalists can complain all they want but when the government caved in on CAFE they more or less lost the fight. Here's to hoping the fad is officially worn-out. In some distant future people will be telling their therapists, "I owned an SUV in the 90's!"
posted by skallas at 7:49 PM on July 31, 2002


23/28 is pretty hard to beat. The older Miatas get 25/30. It isn't exactly a big muscle car.

Don't exactly lend themselves to carpooling, though, do they?
posted by rushmc at 7:54 PM on July 31, 2002


"Don't exactly lend themselves to carpooling, though, do they?"

Or top-up driving by anyone over 6' tall. My father once lusted after a Miata, until he realized he'd only be able to drive it year-round if he cut a hole in the top, Richard Kiel-style. I dearly love the Porsche Boxster and Honda S2000, but would have to remove my legs below the knee in order to fit inside either one.

The Monte is hardly big enough. I had to put spacers under the front seat rails in order to tilt the seat back enough that my head would clear the roof. Luckily I have long arms as well, so I can reach the steering wheel from my near-back seat driving position.

I hear Excursions have plenty of room, though. Of course, no one needs an Excursion.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:23 PM on July 31, 2002


rushmc: Yes, because sports cars are SO environmentally friendly. C'mon.

skallas: 23/28 is pretty hard to beat. The older Miatas get 25/30. It isn't exactly a big muscle car.

rushmc: Don't exactly lend themselves to carpooling, though, do they?

Never said they were. Stay on topic, brushing aside the fact that you know nothing about the miata's MPG by criticizing its space isn't working. Can you even admit you were wrong?

Thanks for playing.
posted by skallas at 8:51 PM on July 31, 2002


Escalade? I thought it was called the Cadillac Viagra.
posted by jaronson at 10:02 PM on July 31, 2002


I like the SUV I drive, and if you ask anyone other than MeFi members, I don't need a therapist.

I do admit that while driving it I have killed 1 bird (the damn thing flew into my windshield) and thousands upon thousands of insects. I get about 14 mpg. And yet, I don't feel guilty. I probably never will.

It's also really great for hauling hockey players around. We used to be able to fit 5 players (with all their gear in the back, and it's a lot of gear) in the thing with no problem. It's a sight better than taking 2 or 3 cars and burning more fuel. Of course, no one needs SUVs (like, say, a family of 6, why don't they just pile into a friendly Volkswagon Golf, for chrissakes?), I mean, isn't everybody a single 20-something environmentalist who lives in a big city with alternative transportation?
posted by insomnyuk at 10:43 PM on July 31, 2002


Don't exactly lend themselves to carpooling, though, do they?

I have two friends who carpool regularly in one of their Miata's.
posted by jaek at 10:51 PM on July 31, 2002


Darn Australian time difference means it takes ages for me to respond to comments... Anyway, sorry about the "subsidy" confusion, ljromanoff. I was just using the language of the article I had linked. I should've made that clearer.

And yes, mr_crash_davis, choice is always good. But that doesn't mean all choices (as in, options) are good. Or better yet, it doesn't mean all motivations are good. I think SUVs are great vehicles for people out in the bush. I don't, however, think anybody needs one to haul around their kids and their groceries. (Somehow my parents got by just fine with a plain old minivan.) There's a commercial for one of these vehicles currently playing Down Under that perfectly encapsulates my rage at these "jerks". It shows this moronic woman backing into a parking space and talking about how powerful she feels sitting up so much higher than everybody else. She obviously doesn't make the intuitive leap that if everybody chose to drive the same gas-guzzling tank through the CBD, she'd be back to seeing nothing again. Another poster referred to the "SUV attitude" and that's exactly what it is, an attitude that the SUV driver is more important (more deserving of safety, visibility, etc.) than everybody else on the road. Those are the jerks that I disagree with. I'm not saying SUVs should be outlawed. Simply that not everyone who chooses them is doing so for a good reason.
posted by web-goddess at 1:01 AM on August 1, 2002


if you're going to tow something, get a freaking pick up truck

Pickups suck on gas milage too. I own a SUV and I use it to haul multiple people around, for hauling boats around, for hauling my gear around, for going offroading all over the country. Its a multi-use vehicle and people like me who are into the outdoors actually use them for what they were intended. Why is this so hard to understand? Its more common then you think. I dont commute and if I did I would buy a smaller vehicle for that purpose.
posted by stbalbach at 4:57 AM on August 1, 2002


Dean_Paxton - After that, we decided that the only protection from these things was to drive something that was much bigger, higher, and heavier.

I'm somewhat speechless
posted by Frasermoo at 5:14 AM on August 1, 2002


But that doesn't mean all choices (as in, options) are good.

But that doesn't mean you have the right to restrict my choices.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:34 AM on August 1, 2002


But that doesn't mean you have the right to restrict my choices.

We do have the right to hunt you down and beat you with sticks after you've made it, though.
posted by riviera at 5:48 AM on August 1, 2002


We do have the right to hunt you down and beat you with sticks after you've made it, though.

That's assuming I don't run you over with my SUV first.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:51 AM on August 1, 2002


mr_crash_davis: My dad owns a boxster, and neither he or I have any trouble at all with the size of it, even with the top up. I'm 6'3" and he's 6'2". And we carpool in it. Going 90. RAWK!
posted by brand-gnu at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2002


SUZzzzzzzzzzz.....
posted by Frasermoo at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2002


Who's next to go down? Escalade, I'm looking at you...

What, and upset the lucrative (and well-armed) drug dealer demographic?

Besides, you haven't known fear until you've been tailgated by a stretch 20-person Escalade. Character building or somesuch.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:38 AM on August 1, 2002


The fact that traditional pickups get a pass on all the same sins people pillory SUVs and their drivers for reveals the contrived attitude for what it is.
posted by NortonDC at 7:48 AM on August 1, 2002


Dean_Paxton: Hallelujah, brother. My wife tools around in an Explorer, and she is an incredibly safe & responsible driver. It's the morons out there that I worry about; if some jackass driving a "regular" car hits her SUV while she is transporting my two kids while they drive back from the grocery store with one bag of groceries, blowing the A/C the whole way, then more power to my choice & ability to own an SUV.

I am stunned at how "evil" so many people believe SUVs are, as if these Explorers, Escalades, and Excursions are somehow responsible for 9/11, concentration camps, and the Spanish Inquisition. And the loudest of the SUV critics, if they have any integrity, should all be pedalling on bikes, or walking, or driving those hybrid-cars. Wait...bikes are produced by factories, which pollute the air. The hybrid cars...oh, forget it.
posted by davidmsc at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2002


"I'm 6'3" and he's 6'2"."

Shrimps. Write me a follow-up when you're full-grown.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:08 AM on August 1, 2002


one bag of groceries, blowing the A/C the whole way, then more power to my choice & ability to own an SUV

I remain speechless.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:14 AM on August 1, 2002


23/28 is pretty hard to beat.

My 10-year-old Buick Le Sabre gets damn close to that (26 mpg on a recent tankful of mixed highway, mountain pass, and city driving), and it's twice as big as your Miata -- and has a V6 too.

I don't understand why small cars don't get way better fuel economy than they do.
posted by kindall at 9:15 AM on August 1, 2002


My old V6 Shadow Hatchback would get about 20 mpg on average, but it came at a cost. it was about the size of a larger shoebox, with a standard transmission and no a/c to speak of.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:20 AM on August 1, 2002


kindall, there's a lot of different forces at work here. Final drive ratios (your LeSabre is likely geared at 3.00:1 or thereabouts and also has a lockup torque converter and overdrive, while the Miata is geared at 4.10:1 or 4.30:1), power-to-weight ratio (even though your LeSabre is twice the weight of a Miata it probably also has twice the horsepower and torque in a usable RPM range), and probably the most important: driving methods. I guarantee that the majority of small-car drivers aren't shifting anywhere near the optimal shift points for the best gas mileage, they're revving the engine a lot higher before they shift so they can keep up with traffic, or they're shifting at higher RPMs because it's more fun to drive like that.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:20 AM on August 1, 2002


I'm somewhat speechless

I was too, while speaking on the phone with a sheriff's deputy. Who would not tell me if she were alive or dead.

So, I drove the 63 miles to the hospital where she was, in my Buick LeSabre, in about 30 minutes. I doubt I got 26 MPG on that trip.

I'll protect my family and leave the protection of the environment to other, more qualified people.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2002


I'll protect my family and leave the protection of the environment to other, more qualified people.

So, you and your family live on the Mars space station?
posted by riviera at 1:00 PM on August 1, 2002


SUZzzzzzzzzzz.....

The SUV, your very own short-bus...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:18 PM on August 1, 2002


So, you and your family live on the Mars space station

I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to relay here.

If you are saying that insulating myself and my family from some of the most aggressive and reckless drivers in the country, armed with the largest and most powerful production vehicles made... if you feel that's a bad thing, I'm sorry you feel that way. We'll have to agree to disagree.

I also would feel sorry for you if your vehicle collided with mine. Even in an Excursion. I be sure to have a phone in which to dispatch emergency medical attention to you.

If you are saying that, I can fit 2 adults and 6 children in a minivan, car, or a Miata... I'm here to tell you, I simply can't. Or, that I should walk/cycle/levitate the 30-45 miles that I drive each day with them (school/work/stores/activities), I simply can't do that either.

If any anti-SUV folk have any viable alternatives for me, I'm open to suggestions. However, I'm afraid that under my current logistical restraints. This is is good as it gets for us... Would you rather we travel in 2 cars and consume even more gas?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 3:21 PM on August 1, 2002


insomnyuk - Where did I say I wanted to restrict your choices? I said, "I'm not saying SUVs should be outlawed. Simply that not everyone who chooses them is doing so for a good reason." You can drive whatever you want. I just reserve the right to glare at single SUV drivers "off-roading" through the Meijer parking lot.

Dean_Paxton, don't they still make regular vans? You can get, like, 10 people in one of those, and I'm sure they get better gas mileage than an SUV. They're just not very cool these days, I guess.
posted by web-goddess at 4:54 PM on August 1, 2002


Oh sure, that's what we have. I guess that little word up there didn't really stand out. It's kind of like this one.

Personally, I couldn't drive/own an SUV. I was just trying to say earlier that the full-sized van is probably the least economical vehicle of them all. But, no one has really jumped my case about it being a hog So, you are right, they aren't really all that cool... they love to tease us about it.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 6:16 PM on August 1, 2002


Oh! Sorry I missed that. Looks nice! I guess the reason van owners don't get jumped on as much is that (generalizing here) nobody would willingly own one if they didn't need it. A van isn't really a status symbol anymore these days, whereas SUVs are. The environmental cost isn't as important to me as unnecessary wastage and safety issues. You got a lot of kids that you need to transport. I totally understand that. It's the people that choose an SUV for their everyday urban transport that annoy me. (It comes from attending a fairly wealthy university where probably half of the student body came to school with "Eddie Bauer" Limited Edition SUVs that they used for the sole purpose of transporting cases of Diet Coke back to campus from Wal-Mart.)
posted by web-goddess at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2002


the other day i saw the driver of a gleaming SUV with the license plate "KEPT LDY" immediately depart a gas station upon realizing that the full service pumps are not working.

i didn't see whether or not the driver was alone, tapping her perfectly manicured hands against the steering wheel, chatting mindlessly on a cell phone, and/or Hitler, i'm just saying...
posted by brigita at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2002


So we've laid down the rules:

The rest don't need them to go shopping or take the kids to soccer practice or drive to Tahoe for the weekend.

I just reserve the right to glare at single SUV drivers "off-roading" through the Meijer parking lot.

The environmental cost isn't as important to me as unnecessary wastage and safety issues.

So help me to understand, oh MeFi SUV rule makers and judgment passers, because I'm a little confused.

It's okay for me to drive my SUV when I have all of my kids (actually, all of my kids don't fit in my SUV, but that's neither here nor there) with me and we're going somewhere other than soccer practice, even though I don't need to have a SUV to haul my kids around. But if I drive the same vehicle on my own to get groceries (which can take up a helluva lot of room in an SUV or any other vehicle when its enough food for a household with ten people, trust me) or to transport two dogs to the vet, or go out with just my husband, then I'm evil and bad and subject to glares, at the very least, because it's irresponsible to drive an SUV unless you're utilizing all of its capacity, right?

I'm just trying to make sure I have the rules down.

So if the problem here is wastefulness of a big vehicle not being used to its capacity, then I presume that none of you drive your five-passenger sedans with fewer than five passengers, right? You do combine your trips, don't you? You're all carpooling with full vehicles during your daily commutes, or, better yet, using public transport, aren't you? And of course you're all making sure that your tires are properly inflated, your oil is changed at appropriate intervals, your engine is properly tuned, your wheels are properly aligned and you're using the cleanest, highest quality gasoline available so as to limit emissions, right? And you don't drive at all during ozone action/high smog days, that goes without saying.

I mean, you wouldn't all be a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites, right?

If you are saying that, I can fit 2 adults and 6 children in a minivan, car, or a Miata... I'm here to tell you, I simply can't.

Well, see, Dean_Paxton, therein is another problem that the pro-environ, anti-vehicle types have -- people are creating a horrible drag on the ecosphere by having so many children. How dare we?
posted by Dreama at 8:59 PM on August 1, 2002


Dreama rested my case.

Hey, I don't know about your family Dreama, but I just about have to file an environmental impact statement each time we cross the state line.

Talk about conspicuous consumption...

Look at the bright side, we've created our own microeconomies.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:32 PM on August 1, 2002


Actually, Dreama, I don't have a car and I haven't owned one in over five years. That's partly why I enjoy living overseas. There are a lot more places outside the U.S. where it's possible to get by without an automobile. I take public transport and I walk.

Your presumption of my hypocrisy aside - I'm not anti-vehicle. I totally understand that there are big families who need a big car. I understand that people don't always live within reach of public transport. Did you not see where I commiserated with Dean? I just find it difficult to believe that it was impossible for parents to drive around all their children and their groceries before SUVs came along. Oh wait, it wasn't. That's because they drove vans and station wagons. Why don't people drive those anymore? Honestly, does an SUV (driven in an urban setting, mind you) have any benefits that one of those other vehicles doesn't? Seriously, I'm asking. Because the only real reason besides image and "keeping up with the Joneses" that I've seen offered in this thread is "I want my family to be safe so I prefer to put them in a tank and everyone else be damned!".

So if you're looking for rules, I guess my one rule would be: "What does your SUV provide that a big ol' van or station wagon doesn't?" Based on my own (albeit limited) experience, I'd say 90% of SUV owners couldn't justify it.
posted by web-goddess at 9:41 PM on August 1, 2002


Am also bit skeptical of the safety argument. It looks like that you trade better protection in collisions for an extremely high likelihood of being killed due to rollovers. I also suspect that this is one case where a few notable lawsuits will lead to a nice adjustment in liability insurance prices.

One of the things that would help quite a bit is if SUV drivers recognized their vehicles pose higher risks to other vehicles and were quite a bit more polite about sharing the road. Just little things like blocking the field of view at an intersection, tailgating, or refusing to use turn signals are much more dangerous to the people around you when you're driving an SUV. It's not the fact that people drive them that bother me so much as the frequently expressed opinion that road safety is an arms race rather than a cooperative effort.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2002


Look at the bright side, we've created our own microeconomies.

And your own microclimates.

(My 'Mars space station' comment obviously flew over your head, even though you're loftily perched in your sperm-byproduct wagon. The point being that when you say you'll 'leave the protection of the environment to other, more qualified people', you imply that the enviroment is where 'other people' live, and that you have no role in protecting it or otherwise. Which is to be expected.)
posted by riviera at 2:44 PM on August 4, 2002


Good riddance to another overweight, fat-assed yuppie-mobile.
posted by drstrangelove at 7:30 PM on August 4, 2002


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