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May 17, 2001
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what should we be doing to voice our opposition to dangerous, gas-guzzling, CO2-emitting, vision-obstructing, environment-destroying conspicuously-consumed SUVs? what can one do to prevent others from driving these monstrosities? should we ticket them? should we stick "i'm changing the climate" stickers on them? should we stick potatoes in their tailpipes? should we shoot out their windows? is there any way to educate suburban families that SUVs are simply an unnecessary addition to their lifestyle? should we resort to retaliatory vandalism? can SUV owners ever have a meaningful discussion with those who object to their vehicles? i do my part by not buying an SUV, but could i do more? should i?
posted by palegirl (104 comments total)

 
Why just SUVs - why not cars in general? (Maybe we could have special markers on hire and community car-pool cars?)

Seriously - are SUVs *so* much worse than other cars? If you're from the USA the following (esp. given the European/USA "climate" here on MeFi) may illustrate my point...

...I went to a public meeting on global warming or something similar in Edinburgh (hosted by the university there). The speaker described how Europeans used 30 times as much natural resources per capita as some typical developing country. Then he mentioned how people in the USA use 3 times as much as we do. There was a noticeable feeling of relief - we could blame the Americans. In the questions at the end of the talk everyone wanted to know how to get the Americans to honour Kyoto etc. No-one seemed to realise that the European factor of 30 was almost as bad as the American factor of 90; that Europeans could do a lot more too (imagine a plate of food - you might be able to eat 3 times as much, but 30 times as much is in a different league altogether...)

Anyway, on a lighter note, I recommend having automatic high power lasers that zap any SUV or single occupancy vehicle on sight.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:27 AM on May 17, 2001


We should just laugh at them as they pay to fill up their tanks on $2.50 a gallon gas.
posted by bondcliff at 8:31 AM on May 17, 2001


Perhaps we should mind our own business.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:31 AM on May 17, 2001


By all means, I believe that environment-loving people of the world should take illegal actions against people so benighted as to purchase and operate the evil SUV. Why, the very temerity of these people to believe that they should be able to choose a vehicle which doesn't meet our standards of what is acceptable. I vote that owners of these vehicles should be taken out and shot. /sarcasm

SUVs are not the problem here, people. Lawless criminals claiming their actions are acceptable because they are "protecting the environment" are a much worse danger. If you don't like SUVs, try to get them outlawed or attempt to legislate modifications to make them more eco-friendly. But using illegal tactics to humiliate/damage people who buy them will only earn you enemies and the scorn of law-abiding citizens.
posted by CRS at 8:32 AM on May 17, 2001


Clean air and safe roads are everyone's business.
posted by terrapin at 8:35 AM on May 17, 2001


Oh, dear. Another SUV thread.

You know, I drive a tiny Subaru Justy (think "pregnant skateboard") and honestly it's not the SUVs on the road that I have a real problem with. I just get tired of being run off the road by:

a) dangerous, gas-guzzling, CO2-emitting, vision-obstructing, environment-destroying, conspicuously-consumed pick-up trucks with giant tires, lift kits, gun racks, and bumper-stickers that say things like "The South's gonna rise again!" (I'm in eastern Washington - the state) and "If you can't find your cat, check my grill." who can't see me due to relative height and amount of grime on their windows.

b) Massive Dodge vans who can't see me due to the number of children and extended family plastering every window.

Just a thought: due to the age (c. 1982) and condition of my little tiny car it probably guzzles more gas and emits more CO2 than a new SUV. Maybe we should start a movement against old, decrepit cars instead? Please? I could use a new one!

[/tongue-in-cheek]

Jen
posted by NsJen at 8:35 AM on May 17, 2001


What really gets me are the shiny, new jacked-up Ford F-350 X-Cab X-bed duallie diesel monsters that have never had anything but rain in their bed.... with one yuppie talking on a cell phone in them.

I drive a compact car (Honda Civic) that gets 30 mpg if I'm careful, and one of the monsters that's exampled above might get 10 if he's lucky. So that's my 3x better right there. I'm also moving this August/September to a location where I can ride public transportation to work and school.

So how do we educate suburban families? Simple. VOTE FOR A GAS TAX. A big one. I'll CHEER the day that the price of gasoline reaches $5/gallon. I have a 12 gallon tank, and I rarely put more than 10 in it at a time. So that's $50 for me. But for someone with a 40 or 50 gallon tank, like in a SUV... that's $200-$250 per fill. Could you imagine spending $1000/month on gasoline alone? I think many people would cut very far back if it becomes too expensive to drive the block and a half to the grocery store.
posted by SpecialK at 8:36 AM on May 17, 2001


Join the insurance industry. Convince your colleagues to look at the actuarials - esp regarding figures on an suv-with-normal-car-crash killing ppl in the car - charge the SUV owners accordingly.

Do we honestly believe, as an aside, if climate change is anthropogenic, that there is anything we can do at this point to reverse the trends?
posted by methylsalicylate at 8:37 AM on May 17, 2001



There's always the less flashy (and legal!) option of writing your reps and asking them to increase fuel-economy standards for SUVs and light trucks (according to NPR this morning, I believe, this is part of the energy plan Bush is unveiling today) -- but heck! why stop there, ask them to raise standards for everything that moves!
posted by claxton6 at 8:38 AM on May 17, 2001


A problem also that will be with us, and soon, no matter what gets done or does not get done on SUV issue: these vehicles are owned or leased by fairly mature and reasonably well-fixed people.
After a number of years, though, these vehicles will show up as used cars and be bought by less experienced and hormonally driven younger kids, eager to show their friends what their vehicles can do on the road.
Cars, then, like people often present problems as they age.
posted by Postroad at 8:38 AM on May 17, 2001


ask them to raise standards for everything that moves

Outlaw fast metabolisms!
posted by redfoxtail at 8:41 AM on May 17, 2001


Git off the lawn!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:57 AM on May 17, 2001


how about minding your own business. I have 2 vehicles, a Chevrolet Blazer, and a Yamaha V-Star 1100 motorcycle. The Blazer gets about 16 mpg, and the bike gets between 40 and 50. I'd say that they balance each other out. I ride the bike as much if not more than taking the car.

The idea of leaving the car at home for that block and a half walk to the grocery store is nice. But realistically not many of us live a block and a half away from the grocery store. Neighborhoods are now built so that all commercial entities are built up in one area, not within a residential area.

Living in Chicago, I drove maybe once, twice a month. That was easy. Take the train to work, walk everywhere else. But since moving to Austin, doing that is frankly impossible. Most communities aren't set up like Chicago, NY, San Francisco, etc. they are more spread out. And even those cities, the idea of not driving only works if you live in the densely populated urban areas of the city.

What to do about SUV's? Vote for your green candidates, whatever. Tell your friends not to buy that vehicle. Don't be suprised when they tell you to f-off. But don't vandalize someone elses property.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:57 AM on May 17, 2001


It's funny you should bring this up. I hear on BBC World Service this morning an interview with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, concerning Bush's energy policy. What I found interesting was not necessarily what Reich said, but a question the interviewer asked. I paraprhase wildly: "But isn't the administration's new policy just indicative of what the American people want? Don't most American's favor building power plants over conservation?"

He asked that without any irony. The impression of the US throughout the world is that we have no interest whatsoever in protecting our environment. Much of that reputation is earned, as we do love our SUVs, but I don't believe that a majority of American's are lacking concern over the environment.

Strides made in the last decade to bring environmental concerns to the forefront of public debate are, in my opinion, being lost. Twenty years ago, recycling was somewhat of a joke in mainstream America--something for the "hippies" to do. In the 90s, recycling became a way of life.

Now I feel things are slipping again. Too many stories of activists chaining themselves to trees and Jay Leno jokes about spotted owls have turned the tides against the enivornmental cause. We need, I think, a renewed effort to make caring for the planet "cool" again. We need to let Americans know the damage that's being done and let the world know that, despite Kyoto, Americans do care about the planet.

OK? So let's all meet at my house this afternoon. I'll provide juice and cookies.
posted by jpoulos at 9:00 AM on May 17, 2001


oh ya. how many of you guys that are vehemently opposed to SUVs smoke?
posted by jbelshaw at 9:01 AM on May 17, 2001


andrew cooke >> I put the numbers you mentioned, 1, 30 and 90, into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I made Excel generate a simple chart. From what I saw, USA looked a lot worse than Europe. In fact, it seemed odd that USA, using 90 times as much natural resources per capita as a typical development country, would be blaming Europe for using 30 times as much - although that's still a great deal. And yes, I'm european.
posted by Hjorth at 9:04 AM on May 17, 2001


How is it that damaging SUV's leads to helping the environment? Clearly SUV drivers don't share your values, so they're just gonna get the damage repaired and go on their way - and repairing the damage consumes reources.
posted by NortonDC at 9:05 AM on May 17, 2001


Let's talk realities, here, people.

Gasoline: 50 gallon tanks? In what universe? I've yet to see one with larger than a 27 gallon tank, and that's the Escalade or Expedition or that massive Lincoln thing.

Higher Taxes: Would have a negative impact on the economy all the way around, and would most deeply impact the poor, not the yuppie SUV drivers that such moves are targetted towards. A huge jump in gas taxes is perfect -- if you want to see immediate inflation as consumer prices skyrocket to reflect increased transport/shipping costs, and mass unemployment as companies lose profits and start layoffs.

Insurance: Already high on SUVs versus other vehicles. 50% higher, for instance, over a "standard" minivan. This reflects both the unfortunate consequence of damage done when SUVs collide with unsubstantial little vehicles and the fact that they are quickly jumping to the top of the "most stolen" vehicles lists. (Everybody hates 'em, but everybody wants 'em. Go figger.)

Emissions: As I mentioned in the last useless MeFi SUV thread, I just had to get the state-mandated (PA) emissions test on my vehicle. I asked the service manager at my car dealership (Baum Boulevard Dodge - ask for Tony) "Is there a different level of emissions that the Durangos and Ram Trucks can put out versus the cars, and still get their stickers?" The short answer: "No." The long answer, yes, SUVs and trucks put out more emissions, on the whole. But a passenger car can legally put out the same level of emissions, at least in Pennsylvania. That must account for the high numbers of 1979 Toyota Celicas (15 mpg city tops, I used to have one) and 89 Dodge Colts that I see on the road.

Acts of Vandalism: Illegal and message-diluting. If someone wants to undertake a reasonable debate with me about how bad my vehicle is for the world at large, fine. But the minute that you touch my vehicle, you have become a criminal and an idiot whose ideas are just so much garbage. Why not take all that furor and do something useful to promote your cause, instead of being juvenile and pissing people off?
posted by Dreama at 9:07 AM on May 17, 2001


First, I assume you are registered to vote?

Good. The next step is to help others register to vote.

The third step is to change the ocmposition of Congress in 2002. SUVs are a direct result of a gas mileage loophole intended for working pickup trucks used by farmers, gardeners, construction workers--not soccer moms. SUVs were classified as light trucks, in 1975 although they are now "far more likely to haul lattés home from Starbucks than lumber from the yard," according to a damning Sierra Club study.

This can be done. In 1974, 9 or 10 of the 12 worst environmental votes in Congress--the so-called "Dirty Dozen" were defeated, in part because of a voter reg campaign that started at least 16 months before on college campuses in the aftermath of the McGovern defeat.

To start a voter registration drive, go to your county clerk, election official, voter registrar or whatever it is called in your community and inquire. Laws and practices vary from state to state as we learned during Florida. However, most states at least pay lip service to the idea of letting citizen groups help them encourage citizen participation.

The trick is to register voters in geographical areas that will have a high propensity to oppose SUVs, such as college campuses and which are represented by a congressman who votes wrong. Another tactic is to identify people who oppose SUVs by phone or door-to-door, determine that they are not registered to vote, and then send someone else in to register them to vote. Generally speaking the same person cannot both electioneer and act as a non-partisan registrar (at the same time).

Finally, Pale Girl, if you live in a district with a pro-SUV congress member, run AGAINST the SOB yourself. Even if he (it probably is a he) has $8 million and you don't have five cents, you can usually get the filing fee waived by getting people to sign petitions in lieu of the filing fee. Go door to door everywhere you don't see an SUV parked in front and tell them your story. The idea is not to win but to raise a stink.

SOBS for SUVS. Beat them. Read why We're right and they're wrong.
posted by steve_high at 9:10 AM on May 17, 2001


All for destroying property, eh? Disgusting.

All I can say is I like how Chicago handles these sorts of domestic terrorists; they basically refuse to investigate when a property owner defends his property. Had your teeth smashed in with a bat while trying to put a sticker on a SUV? No sympathy from the police. Or the prosecutor.

Or me.

Don't like it? Don't buy 'em. Otherwise, do us all a favor and quit whining and trying to tell other people what to do. There is anything but a concensus on whether global warming is even happening, even in the scientific community.
posted by hadashi at 9:11 AM on May 17, 2001


Hjorth: I'm not saying the Americans are blaming the Europeans (not sure where you've got that from). I'm saying that we *both* are using a lot more than an awful lot of people (I'm European).

The *big* difference is between 1 and 30 or 90. The difference between 30 and 90 is a lot less (a factor of just 3, compared to 30).

In other words, people get obsessed with the small difference rather than thinking about the big difference. Remember that it's factors that matter (because we're comparing "times as much").
posted by andrew cooke at 9:12 AM on May 17, 2001


Folllowup to my own post; the above comments were not directed at the poster (who specifically states that he does his part by not buying SUVs...).

It was directed at the fringe element who not only believes one-sided press releases (from groups who profit from "chicken little" style predictions) but also believes that destruction of private property is allowable.

Personal feelings? SUVs are ugly, handle badly, have poor ride quality and are completely unsuited to actual off-road driving. Come on, plastic transaxle housings? However, if someone else wants to waste their money on it, go ahead.
posted by hadashi at 9:15 AM on May 17, 2001


Metafilter.com should change domains to IhateSUVswithanirrationalallconsumingpassion.com. SUVs aren't the worst polluters on the road - older, badly maintained vehicles of all sizes are. If you're so damned concerned about air quality, how about having cops setting up a few "emission traps" on the highways and ticket people who drive polluting vehicles (of all types, not just SUVs). That would do a lot more to curb auto pollution than your arrogant tirades against a type of vehicle that has little to do with most of your oh-so-concerned-taking-the-bus-to-work-hip-urban lifestyles.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:21 AM on May 17, 2001


So how do we educate suburban families? Simple. VOTE FOR A GAS TAX. A big one. I'll CHEER the day that the price of gasoline reaches $5/gallon

You and Chairman Mao would get along nicely.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:26 AM on May 17, 2001


I don't think we need a gas tax, but rather an SUV tax. People want the ability to own any kind of vehicle they want, so they should be responsible enough to pay for the damage that they're inflicting with it. We're all about personal responsibility, right?
posted by Doug at 9:33 AM on May 17, 2001


SUVs aren't the worst polluters on the road - older, badly maintained vehicles of all sizes are.

The difference is that old decrepit cars are usually driven by poorer folks who can't afford new cars. Those among us who drive new SUVs are in a position to actually do something positive, and they don't. Free country and all, but they should at least admit it.
posted by jpoulos at 9:33 AM on May 17, 2001


I don't think we need a gas tax, but rather an SUV tax. People want the ability to own any kind of vehicle they want, so they should be responsible enough to pay for the damage that they're inflicting with it. We're all about personal responsibility, right?

That assumes, incorrectly, that SUV are automatically more damaging that other types of vehicle. Everyone already pays the govt. an "air pollution" fee in the form of the cost of an emissions inspection. Those who would be the worst offenders don't pass, thereby forcing them to spend more for repairs.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2001


*sigh*

I drive a GMC Suburban. Sometimes. Most of the time I'm in New York City, so I don't drive at all, but when I'm home in Florida I drive the Suburban. I've made sure it meets emissions requirements (which are too weak, but hey). I have it tuned up regularly to prevent worse emissions problems. Is it the cleanest car in the world? Hell no. Would I drive an electric or fuel cell car? Of course I would. But this car has helped me in many, many ways, from social -- you haven't lived 'till you've driven to concerts with eight people in one car -- to artistic -- hauling materials for plays, productions, etc. -- to personal -- I drive much better, much more cautiously, knowing the damage I could do if I screwed up in this thing. And for Christ's sake, I carpool in the thing -- every time my friends and I go somewhere, we take the Suburban instead of three separate cars. Don't try to tell me *that* isn't good for the environment.

I'm as much of an eco-snob as the next Nader voter, but if a car has helped me to be a better friend, a better driver, and a happier person, I deliver a hearty "fuck you" to the person who tells me I shouldn't have it.
posted by logovisual at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2001


The difference is that old decrepit cars are usually driven by poorer folks who can't afford new cars. Those among us who drive new SUVs are in a position to actually do something positive, and they don't. Free country and all, but they should at least admit it.

So, what you're saying is that you admit that one group is the principal offender, but some other group should suffer economically or have limits on their liberty because they're better able to adjust to the limitations? Some sense of justice you have.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2001


Addendum:

I don't *want* my car to be a gas-guzzler, I don't want it to spew horrid things into the atmosphere. It's not something I'm proud of. If they put out a clean SUV, I'd do everything I could to get one. But as it stands, the SUV provides the services I need, and I'll take the bad with the good.
posted by logovisual at 9:42 AM on May 17, 2001


ljromanoff, obviously didn't mean only SUV's. It should be for every vehicle, to be fair. The money should go to research on the alternative fuel sources these vehicles will force us to require.
But it would never work anyway, because Americans believe that they live in tiny personal bubbles, where nothing they do effects anyone else. And in these bubbles, there are limitless natural resources.
Does anyone know the statistic on exactly how much gasoline consumption has risen since SUV's were introduced?
posted by Doug at 9:48 AM on May 17, 2001


Terrapin, everything that everyone does affects everyone else. "Freedom" means that sometimes my right to do something is more important than you right to interfere.

In any case, this is a problem which will cure itself. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and sales of new SUVs are in the toilet. Lots of them are coming in as tradeins on smaller cars. The used car lots are loaded with them. The reason you're seeing a lot of shrill advertising for SUVs all of a sudden is that sales are down.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:51 AM on May 17, 2001


I'm not calling for any "limits on their liberty". I'm just saying that those who use SUVs should be conscious that they're being wasteful and harming the planet, and that they should admit it. They shouldn't just say "it's none of your business" and expect everyone to ignore it. God knows that argument didn't work for me when I was a smoker.
posted by jpoulos at 9:53 AM on May 17, 2001


In any case, this is a problem which will cure itself. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and sales of new SUVs are in the toilet

You're right, this problem will cure itself. However, you are wrong that gas prices are skyrocketing. While gas prices have shot up in some isolated places around the country, the average price per gallon is $1.70, which after inflation is factored in is not very high, historically speaking. And a lot of that price is tax, not actual cost.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:55 AM on May 17, 2001


I'm not calling for any "limits on their liberty". I'm just saying that those who use SUVs should be conscious that they're being wasteful and harming the planet, and that they should admit it.

Please show me some data that says that SUVs are much worse for the environment than the average car, and I might be inclined to agree with you. I think there are some very sensible ways to insure that auto pollution is limited, but singling out one type of vehicle regardless of the facts seems pretty irrational to me.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:58 AM on May 17, 2001


Sure, there are plenty of environmental issues that SUVs bring up. But what about the simpler issues of visibility and driving ability?


(1) In order to drive safely, people need to be able to see ahead of them, to be aware of things coming up along the road they're on, so they can plan ahead if necessary. That's what they emphasized when I took driver's ed anyhow.

Unfortunately with so many SUVs on the road, I feel my line of sight -- and that of any non-SUV owning driver -- is not what it should be. Driving behind one of those is like having the majority of your front windshield blocked.

(2) Another issue is the ability of most drivers to control their vehicles. From my perspective, driving an SUV is not like driving a regular car. There are different issues to be aware of -- size being a big one -- but a lot of drivers of SUVs drive as if they are in a normal car, speeding and maneuvering around traffic despite these issues.

Perhaps SUVs should require an additional license or certification in order to operate one, just as trucks, buses, etc require different licenses. Allowing anyone licensed to drive regular-sized cars to drive a larger SUV seems dangerous enough to require this.


Just a few more points to ponder...
posted by valerie at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2001


"we should mind our own business."

attention everyone: it's now my business to slap stickers on SUVs.

don't like it, catch me in the act.

and if you think me putting a sticker on your vehicle is justification for causing me bodily harm, you have a bigger problem than i do.

i might get little respect in a courtroom for what i do, but believe me, your actions will be looked on as FAR worse, and FAR more criminal.

(mind you, if you DO try to "smash my teeth in", you better hope you're faster than i am. i take physical threats VERY seriously. i'm also well trained. AND i walk to the store each day. better you just stay in your car and use your cell-phone.)
posted by jcterminal at 10:43 AM on May 17, 2001


jpoulos, you're right.

I drive a 1989 Chevy Suburban. At best I get 12 mpg on highway. I'm due in for an oil change and would guess I'm getting more like 9 or 10 in the Cities.

I like my truck. My friends like my truck. My truck beeps when i back up. I'm sure it pollutes like all hell and I shell out a fortune to keep it fueled. I don't use it very often to hual things and 98% of the time I'm driving a short distance I could just as well bike.

When I see people putzing along the highway in their eco-friendly rice burners and 4 banger glorified scooters, I get a good chuckle.

Don't hate me cause I drive an SUV, but because your geo metro is stuck under my front tire.

Oh, and I smoke too, make sure you point out how bad that is so I can blow my smoke in your face as you exit the building.

now where is my greesy cheese burger and aeresol hair spray...
posted by Zebulun at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2001


"Please show me some data that says that SUVs are much worse for the environment than the average car..."

Common knowledge, Dude.

SUVs get worse gas mileage than average cars. They are exempt from mileage standards because they have been classifed since 1975 as "light trucks," when only 20% of all vehicles were so classified.

Today, nearly half of all U.S. vehicles are "light trucks." Gas mileage is at a 20 year low.

Reclassifying SUVs could save 120 million barrels of oil per year.

SUVs need to be classified as cars. This is not unfair. This is not punitive. This is not a tax. This is not vandalism.
posted by steve_high at 10:49 AM on May 17, 2001


side note, i actually emailed the guy who runs that site. I want to slap those stickers on my truck .. just to the right of my NRA one.
posted by Zebulun at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2001


is there any way to educate...

Indoctrinate, you mean.

And by the way, palegirl, what sort of computer do you use? Are you aware that certain processors need more energy than others, and give off far more heat than others? (Which adds to your air conditioning costs, for example.) When you're not using your computer, do you turn it off? Not just the monitor either, the whole thing. And not just overnight, but whenever you're not using it. Or do you leave it on for the convenience? Heck, why do you have a computer at all? You COULD go to a lab or cybercafe all the time. Most of what you do with computers is an unnecessary addition to your lifestyle.

Translation: You're focusing on SUVs as your bugaboo of the moment because it's the current fad. And anyone who examined your personal lifestyle for more than a few moments could find any number of things you do that they consider needless, wasteful, and/or evil ... so much so that they would consider committing crimes against you in order to stop you from doing them. Just as you are considering in your original post.
posted by aaron at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2001



VOTE FOR A GAS TAX. A big one. I'll CHEER the day that the price of gasoline reaches $5/gallon.

Mhm. How about if the oil companies simply decide to raise the price to $5/gallon on their own? The effect on driving would be identical.
posted by aaron at 11:03 AM on May 17, 2001



Aaron, what you're saying is the same as, "Sure people beat their kids, but people ALSO beat their wives, so lets not worry about either, cause they're both bad." SUV's aren't a bugaboo, they are a problem. And a huge problem compared to processor heat and energy consumption. So, if we are to be logical at all, we should first attempt to deal with the larger problem, and then we can vandalize palegirl's computer.
And it looks like Steve_Highs post about reclassifying them could work pretty well.
posted by Doug at 11:14 AM on May 17, 2001


Aaron's not just trolling, he's brawling. A Ford Expedition gets 12 miles to the gallon. The hottest Pentium ever made isn't even close--and I use a PowerPC.
posted by steve_high at 11:17 AM on May 17, 2001


jcterminal: those stickers are oh so enlightening as well. How many converts do you think they have created. I'm guessing 0. How many people do you think they've pissed off, and made think that environmentalists are nothing but stupid, smelly, pot smoking hippies. I'm guessing quite a few.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2001


Doug, physical violence against others is a crime. Driving a certain kind of vehicle you happen to dislike - or using a PC with an unnecessarily wasteful processor - is not. They're not comparable.

And a Big Giant Clue to steve_high: There are millions of Pentium PC computers out there, a huge percentage of which are left running 24/7. They may not directly run on gasoline, but the amount of energy wasted by them in toto is at least comparable to that wasted by SUVs, if not more.
posted by aaron at 11:23 AM on May 17, 2001


you could maybe try to promote the purchase of hybrid cars on the market today (prius & insight) using tax credits. from the doe:

Q: Can you get Energy Policy Act (EPAct) credit for purchasing an HEV?

A: Not at this time. Although HEVs are fuel efficient and produce low levels of emissions, they do not count as "alternative fuel vehicles" under EPAct. EPAct, which was passed in 1992 to accelerate the use of alternative fuels in the transportation sector, requires that federal, state, and alternative fuel provider fleets ensure that a certain percentage of their new vehicle purchases each year are alternative fuel vehicles. Because the HEVs on the market today do not use alternative fuels (they use gasoline), they can't be considered for credits under EPAct. There's been discussion on including HEVs in the future, but no final decision has been made to date. For more information on EPAct and other laws and regulations, go to the Office of Transportation Technologies Regulations and Legislation Web page.
posted by kliuless at 11:27 AM on May 17, 2001


Unfortunately with so many SUVs on the road, I feel my line of sight -- and that of any non-SUV owning driver -- is not what it should be. Driving behind one of those is like having the majority of your front windshield blocked.

And it isn't by the busses that public transporation advocates insist that we should all be riding? By the trucks that deliver every single thing that you eat, wear and buy? Gimme a break, you're in your nice zippy little car -- if you don't wanna be behind an SUV, pass it!

And anyone who examined your personal lifestyle for more than a few moments could find any number of things you do that they consider needless, wasteful, and/or evil ... so much so that they would consider committing crimes against you in order to stop you from doing them.

Amen, Aaron. I'm going to start going through all of my neighbours' garbage, and start putting signs in the yards of everyone who doesn't recycle. I'm going to spray water on smokers to extinguish their polluting butts. Then I'll get myself some insulation suits and start cutting the electric lines of houses where the people leave extraneous lights on, I'll torch every bag of grass clippings I see on the curb on trash day and take tire irons to non double-glazed, double-paned insulating windows. I'll send down probes to break the water mains into homes where lawns and gardens are watered during daytime hours or where people wash their cars with constantly running hoses. I'll picket the homes of people who do yardwork with gas powered tools on ozone action days or use clothes dryers when it isn't raining. I'll put pinpricks into the hoses of gas pumps so that the stations have to close down on ozone action days, too.

And then I'll get crazy. Of course, then I'll justify my SUV even further -- I'd need a vehicle big enough to carry my probes, picket signs, tire irons, etc. I'll be the Durango Driving Eco-Avenger. I might even wear a green uniform. I'll be unstoppable!
posted by Dreama at 11:29 AM on May 17, 2001


Now, now Aaron.

Palegirl truly meant educate, not indoctrinate.

That particular type of communication (indoctrination) is the domain of your facist friends.
That's why our educational institutions are called "liberal arts" colleges while the right wing nuts call their repositories "think tanks (emphasis on tanks)."
posted by nofundy at 11:35 AM on May 17, 2001


"Please show me some data that says that SUVs are much worse for the environment than the average car..."

Common knowledge, Dude.


Well, obviously a bigger vehicle will get worse gas mileage than a smaller vehicle - that's a matter of size, not design. I'm sure the giant Cadillacs are worse for the environment than the mini-SUVs.

And, besides, I said MUCH worse, not merely worse.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2001


nofundy, that's unfair in so many ways I can't even begin to count them.
Sigh... the more rabid the left gets, the more appealing the center looks to me...
posted by darukaru at 11:43 AM on May 17, 2001


That particular type of communication (indoctrination) is the domain of your facist friends.
That's why our educational institutions are called "liberal arts" colleges while the right wing nuts call their repositories "think tanks (emphasis on tanks)."


This is pretty weak.

There are left-wing think tanks, too, my friend.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:45 AM on May 17, 2001


as per someone pointing out the violent nature of my last post here, i apologize.

i just wanted to point out how ridiculous it is to react to a bumper sticker with physical action.

it takes less time to remove the bumbersticker than it does to beat someone's face in.

AND it's not going to land you in jail for assault.

'violence completes the partial mind.'
-slappy the squirrel
posted by jcterminal at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2001


Aaron, how about some facts and figures? Energy wasted by cpus is not even remotely close and I think you know it.

I've provided factual links--maybe if you could turn off Rush Limbaugh for a while and multiply the TOTAL power consumption of all the Pentiums in the world for us instead of just running your mouth, that might be interesting...

PCs use electricity and electrical generating plants throw CO2 at the ozone layer--but not at anything like the magnitude of "light trucks," which singlehandedly produce ten percent of all U.S. CO2 pollution.

Show me the computer that produces that kind of air pollution and I'll eat this website.
posted by steve_high at 11:52 AM on May 17, 2001


I've provided factual links--maybe if you could turn off Rush Limbaugh for a while

Maybe if you stopped assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is a Limbaugh robot you might learn something.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:57 AM on May 17, 2001


Oh, OK, darukaru and ljromanoff, my post was just wrong and offensive but the post Aaron made (flame is more like it) and which I responded to was totally acceptable, maybe even "center" and definitely not "weak?"
Yeah, right!
posted by nofundy at 11:59 AM on May 17, 2001


jcterminal: but just removing the bumpersticker is less cathartic. not that i'm a violent person mind you.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:59 AM on May 17, 2001


I've been dreaming of a hefty gas tax since long before SUVs even made their appearance. a hefty gas tax for all gas pumped, with the revenues going to local public transit. then you make your choice: the more gas you use, the more funding public transit has. the more funding it has, the more routes and lower fares it can implement.

of course, my plan falls apart at the point where more people choose to use public transit than drive, but I doubt if that's going to happen anytime soon in the US.

in any case, carrot/stick.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:02 PM on May 17, 2001


Steve, I think you've never been in a major data center.
posted by kindall at 12:03 PM on May 17, 2001


Lance, I've been to your site--which is uncommonly beautiful--and I know that your political views are not the same as Rush Limbaugh's, nor did I say that they were.

I did say--and show--that SUVs as a class are bad for the environment. I believe this is because the government regulates them improperly.

Others might say that no regulation at all would be preferable so that market forces could work unimpeded to produce cleaner air. I believe we would choke to death first.

As far learning something goes, I'm waiting. Thus far, all I've learned is opinions, and I can get those by turning the radio back on.
posted by steve_high at 12:10 PM on May 17, 2001


I've been dreaming of a hefty gas tax since long before SUVs even made their appearance.

I hope this is just hyperbole. Anyone who actually dreams about high taxes is in serious need of a therapist, or voted for Ralph Nader, or both.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2001


Lance, I've been to your site--which is uncommonly beautiful--and I know that your political views are not the same as Rush Limbaugh's, nor did I say that they were.

I did say--and show--that SUVs as a class are bad for the environment. I believe this is because the government regulates them improperly.

Others might say that no regulation at all would be preferable so that market forces could work unimpeded to produce cleaner air. I believe we would choke to death first.


First, let me thank you for saying something nice about my web site.

Second, I agree that clean air is not something that could easily be achieved via market forces. Air is a classic "tragedy of the commons" issue that I believe can legitimately be regulated by government. However, unlike many people on MeFi, I believe that we can achieve clean air without using taxation and regulation to enforce some kind of utopian car-free fantasy land. Most of this SUV bashing seems to me to be less about the environment and more about class warfare and a sort of urban vs. suburban elitism.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2001


I'm a centrist/republican, not a tree-hugger, and even I can see that SUVs waste like you can't beleive. Get over it, and drive something slightly smaller.
posted by SpecialK at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2001


Also, I only want high taxes in areas where other people are taking advantage of low taxes. :)
posted by SpecialK at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2001


ljromanoff : I hope this is just hyperbole. Anyone who actually dreams about high taxes is in serious need of a therapist, or voted for Ralph Nader, or both.

none of the above. not hyperbole, I didn't vote for nader, and, while I am probably in need of a therapist, this isn't why.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2001


"Most of this SUV bashing seems to me to be less about the environment and more about class warfare and a sort of urban vs. suburban elitism."

i don't care much for the environment really, i just like making fun of people's four-wheeled penis extensions.
posted by jcterminal at 12:45 PM on May 17, 2001


"Most of this SUV bashing seems to me to be less about the environment and more about class warfare and a sort of urban vs. suburban elitism."

i don't care much for the environment really, i just like making fun of people's four-wheeled penis extensions.


Well, in your case it sounds more like an excuse for petty vandalism, if your posts are any indication.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:49 PM on May 17, 2001


I don't understand the data center comment. I've been in Yahoo's server farm and I know it can dim the lights in San Jose.

So what? Every gallon of gas burned puts 28 pounds of CO2 in the atmosphere.

If we raised the bar on SUV mileage to 34 MPG--which is hardly beyond reason--we would save more than 1,500 gallons of gas PER SECOND!

I would appreciate it if someone would check my math, but I get just over 600 million metric tons of carbon NOT emitted by increasing SUV mileage.

By contrast, turning off all the nation's televison sets for a year--completely--would apparently save only about 13,000 metric tons. At its most optimistic, the EPA's Energy Star program hoped to reduce "leaking" electrical waste from the 100 million US TV households--75% of which have at least two sets, on for an average of 7.5 hours a day-- to equal one or two million automobiles.

There are a helluva lot more TVs than there are computers.

TVs and computers are a JOKE compared to SUVs when it comes to air pollution--600 million to 13 thousand--metric tons per year of black poisonous crap unnecessarily pumped into the air because of venal congressmen and a lazy-assed uninformed electorate.
posted by steve_high at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2001


"Well, in your case it sounds more like an excuse for petty vandalism, if your posts are any indication."

NOTHING i do is EVER petty.

if you think my posts are only an excuse for petty vandalism, i recommend you have someone reread them to you.

ask them questions too.

you might be able to understand them better.
posted by jcterminal at 1:00 PM on May 17, 2001


Doug, while Aaron doesn't believe your violence analogies compare, I'm going to run with them anyway, because I don't think you get what Aaron's saying.

Aaron's not saying "Hey, beating people is fine because I choose to, stay out of it," he's saying "Don't get on my ass for spanking my kid when you're at home whooping your dog into submission, slapping your wife for kicks and shooting holes in your neighbors' walls because they play their stereo too loud."

In other words, before complaining about all the heinous damage other people are doing, make sure that you aren't leaving any kind of environmental footprint behind when you get onto your high horse.

Metaphor salad anyone? :-)
posted by cCranium at 1:22 PM on May 17, 2001


"Well, in your case it sounds more like an excuse for petty vandalism, if your posts are any indication."

NOTHING i do is EVER petty.

if you think my posts are only an excuse for petty vandalism, i recommend you have someone reread them to you.


Actually, what I said was that SUV ownership seems to you to be an excuse for petty vandalism, not your posts. Maybe you should have someone start reading MeFi for you.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2001


Methinks everyone should step outside a bit to cool off; this isn't the kind of discussion we want to have.

*ducking flying bottles and chairs*
posted by Avogadro at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2001


steve_high: 34 mpg?? not a chance in hell. there are plenty of mid size cars that won't get anywhere near 34 mpg. my MOTORCYCLE will get 35 mpg at an extremely low end if I get on it hard off the line everytime. at least your name sounds accurate. you must be high.

its not necessarily about whats possible. Its about what is acceptable and reasonable to the American public. sure, ridding the earth of any auto that is larger than a Ford Focus is possible. But, its not IMHO reasonable or acceptable.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:47 PM on May 17, 2001


Who needs an SUV when you can have one of these instead?
posted by Tom Bowler at 1:52 PM on May 17, 2001


Or one of these.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:55 PM on May 17, 2001


cCranium, I disagree. I'm almost positive that Aaron doesn't particularly care about people running their computers, OR driving SUV's. What you're saying would make sense, if he really cared about either problem, and wanted them to be solved. But I don't think he does. He is, in essence, saying that we all do bad things, so who cares, cause there's lots of bad things goin around.
Could be wrong. Who knows.
But once again, we've devolved into weird insults because, well, some people use more gas than others.
posted by Doug at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2001


" Actually, what I said was that SUV ownership seems to you to be an excuse for petty vandalism, not your posts. Maybe you should have someone start reading MeFi for you."

that's not what you said.

that's it, next SUV get's a cinderblock thru it's windshield with your e-mail address on it.*

:P

*(for those without a sense of humour, that was a JOKE.)
posted by jcterminal at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2001


cCranium, I disagree.

Fair 'nuff. There's nothing wrong with that.

I do think you're doing yourself a disservice to make assumptions about peoples' intent, though. Aaron never said we shouldn't care about the environment or SUVs effects on them, he just said that people focus on SUVs because they're all over the media.

I know here in the Toronto area I've heard numerous audio snippets of people with influence (from radio personalities to politicians to active community folk) saying things to the effect of "If there were less SUVs, gas prices wouldn't be so high!"

SUVs use energy, and therefore cause environmetnal problems. Computers use energy, and therefore cause environmental problems. Yes, it's important to think about stuff like the environment, but before you (not necessarily you, Doug, the infamous generic 'you') go calling someone a monster for driving an SUV, clean up your own act first.

Or, to rephrase again, let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

Figure out and fix the things you do wrong, then educate others. That's all.
posted by cCranium at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2001


As someone who doesn't own a car and hasn't driven in years I feel I have to jump in. I cycle to my destinations during the summer and take public transit during the winter (and to anticipate the responses ..I don't live in a major metropolitan area..I live about two hours from Toronto by bus). So for half of the year, I directly eat the byproducts of combustion engines. Pretty tasty stuff. Listening to people argue about SUV's is like listening to people argue that hitting your wife is wrong if you close your fist.

If you belive that the pollution caused by driving is bad then you shouldn't merely be pointing at the people with the biggest vehicles. Sure they are wasteful but they are only the greater of two evils. Your smaller vehicle is the lesser. But you need to keep in mind that is still one of the evils.
posted by srboisvert at 2:18 PM on May 17, 2001


Hey! The first hour of Talk of the Nation with be on Hybrid Cars tomorrow. "In this hour, we'll take a look under the hood at hybrid cars--including Honda's Insight, and Ford's plans for a hybrid S-U-V." Sounds like fun.
posted by eckeric at 2:49 PM on May 17, 2001


that's not what you said.

Yeah, that is what I said. I pointed out that you were making a weak case for vandalism-as-political-protest. Next time I'll draw you a picture and stick it on something you own. Maybe then you'll get it.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:53 PM on May 17, 2001


I don't understand the data center comment. I've been in Yahoo's server farm and I know it can dim the lights in San Jose. So what? Every gallon of gas burned puts 28 pounds of CO2 in the atmosphere.

And every kilowatt consumed by a computer puts a certain number of pounds of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere as well. The question is, what is that number and how does it compare? How much pollution does a dual-P3 server that's on 24 hours a day generate compared to a car that's run for an hour a day? (Don't forget to include the server's share of the air conditioning in calculating its power requirements.)

For comparison, how much CO2 does a human being put into the atmosphere in a day? i have no idea whether "28 pounds" is a lot or a little. It sounds like you'd need a large volume of any gas at STP to make 28 pounds, but I really have no way of knowing for sure. What I'm asking for, i guess, is a little perspective. It's like finding out you're a millionaire -- but only in Yen.
posted by kindall at 4:05 PM on May 17, 2001


Some propaganda I wouldn’t mind seeing come around again: When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler!
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:14 PM on May 17, 2001


I think that this might greatly help many of you who have one or more posts in this thread...
posted by fooljay at 5:15 PM on May 17, 2001


Kindall, I'll try one more time:

28 pounds a gallon = 237 million tons of pollutants per year from SUVs.

Television sets = 13,000 metric tons of pollutants per year.

Electrical power plants produce 185,000 metric tons of C02 per TRILLION killowat hours. 100 million US TV households on 7.5 hours per day at 100 watts = 75 billion watts annually.

Even allowing for air conditioning, leaving the computers on 24 hours, etc., there is no way you can get anywhere near the energy consumption of an SUV. Look at the power bill in your house. Solid state electronics just can't compare to things with motors--washers, dryers, etc.
posted by steve_high at 6:32 PM on May 17, 2001


That's more what I was looking for. I have no idea where those numbers came from but I'll take your word for 'em.
posted by kindall at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2001


I don't know where this TV argument came from. TVs are not computers, and they don't tend to be left on 24/7. And what do the numbers about pollutants have to do with total energy consumption?
posted by aaron at 9:34 PM on May 17, 2001


Gee, aaron, if I didn't have a freakin' computer I couldn't get any work done. Zero. Mercy. Tell me get a typewriter, I'll ask whether you'll send me a ticket to southern Italy, where they're still in vogue, or so I hear. Without computers, America would shut down overnight, maybe in an hour or two. Bah. What a totally insane argument. No one needs SUVs, but they need computers here, unless they're working in, say -- well, no, lawn care services use computers, police computers. Aaron, sorry, but you sounded like a total fruitcake there. You're not a dingbat, I don't think, far from it, but that was a dingbat's sort of argument. Beefwitted, asinine, vapid, choose your adjective. Oh, just made me want to scream.

Just for the record, turning off your computer too much, more than once a day unless necessary, can harm your machine.

Also, and not to aaron specifically, SUVs are definitely increasingly way too big and block city traffic far too often. I don't know what the folks who drive them are trying to prove. I can understand needing an SUV in, say, Chi-town, but not where I live in the South. Ain't workin' on the farm here or off in the wood on a daily basis here in Tuscaloosa, AL. And why would anyone, in anyplace, need such a giant automobile? It defies any sort of common sense.
posted by raysmj at 9:58 PM on May 17, 2001


P.S.: Leaving your computer on as long as possible, from what I've been told for at least a decade, is actually better for your machine. The thing, unfortunately, makes a wee too much noise here, even when in low-power mode (which Windows has featured for eons now). But your computer actually takes a slight blow every time you turn it on and off. You risk a little something every time. Hell yes I want my bank, say, leaving its computers on 24-7.
posted by raysmj at 10:19 PM on May 17, 2001


final note, just for the record, I was complaing about SUVs at least three to four years ago. So it's like I was a fan of R.E.M. before anyone bought "Murmur." Please. SUVs have grown larger and larger, people notice.
posted by raysmj at 10:46 PM on May 17, 2001


Hey, I just have to add one thing here. I have an SUV because I have 4 kids and my choices for a 7 passenger vehicle are (1) a minivan, or (2) an SUV. I had a Dodge caravan for 7 years, so I feel like I paid my dues and earned the damn SUV. It gets only slightly worse gas mileage than the minivan did, and at least it looks decent.
posted by JParker at 12:34 AM on May 18, 2001


Just a technical note.

I was a little confused as to how a 6 pound gallon of gasoline could produce 28 pounds of ANYTHING when burned. I did figure it out though, so if you were also confused, here you go:

The carbon comes from the gas, but not the oxygen, which composes nearly 3/4 of CO2's molecular weight.

Am I right? Am I close?
posted by Nothing at 1:22 AM on May 18, 2001


LOL This is the funniest thread I've seen in ages. Thanks guys!

(Although some of you nazis are scary crazy, and NONE of you seems to have a clue about REAL cause and effect....)
posted by rushmc at 2:48 AM on May 18, 2001


I was curious about the efficiency of SUV's relative to gas guzzlers of the 70's a month ago or so. I did some research and did a comparison of the Ford Expedition to the 1975 Ford Country Squire LTD. Both vehicles are in the same class in terms of their use (grocery getters, kid haulers, large space vehicles). Here's what I wrote up:

When I bought my pickup, I made a conscious choice in terms of mileage. Very few pickups do well in mileage, but it was one of the criteria I used. So, my '96 Tacoma gets between 23 and 30 MPG (addendum--with the warmer weather, the last four tanks of gas have all been better than 27MPG), which is better than my old VW Bug, but worse than my old Sentra.

By comparison, the best mileage on the Ford Expedition, 16/21 in the 4.6L V8 (4x2), and the worst is 12/17 in their 5.4L V8 (4x4). Ford doesn't list mileage for the Excursion, which at the top end has a 6.L V10, which will be much worse.

Now in 1975, Ford made this great car: the LTD Country Squire. It was equipped with a 351 cubic inch V8, which is 5.75L--more displacement and presumably more power than the engine in the Expedition (addendum: with the newly added smog control on the LTD, it was probably less capable). The LTD got 11/15 mpg. The LTD weighed in at 4658 pounds, which is 800 pounds lighter than the heaviest (and worst mileage) Expedition.

So overall, Ford is selling a vehicle which weighs 25% more than a comparable car made 26 years ago and gets roughly 9% better mileage. As an FYI, the LTD was 224 inches long, the Expedition 204 inches, the LTD 79.5 inches wide, the Expedition 78, the Expedition is between 24 and 30 rollover-enabling inches taller than the LTD.

In general, Ford is spending whatever gains in engine efficiency on power to handle the extra mass.
posted by plinth at 5:25 AM on May 18, 2001


plinth: Thanks for sort-of pinning down what *should* be the issue here -- not SUVs in general. The majority of them are goofy-looking, but it's not illegal to be goofy. The pants some kids wear, the ones with flares so large that they could hide a squirrel are similarly goofy. They will not be illegal soon, and shouldn't be, although some people would applaud such a measure.

The ones that aren't safe to car owners or other people on the road should be absolutely more strictly regulated, however. And if particular SUVs prove impossible to be made safe, they should not be manufactured at all. (Didn't one of the chiefs at Ford say more or less the same thing, only to go ahead and sell the unsafe vehicle?). The ones that are so huge, not only the Excursion but lesser huge ones (if that makes sense), are an nuisance to city traffic. As with diesel trucks, you shouldn't be allowed to drive through neighborhoods at will or without a special purpose. Then there should be special licenses, higher-grade ones, for drivers of SUVs over a certain size. If drivers of these SUVs pitch a fit, too bad.
posted by raysmj at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2001


"far more likely to haul lattés home from Starbucks than lumber from the yard," according to a damning Sierra Club study.

and no, we don't have an agenda, whydoyouask? this is a completely impartial and realistic stance! no inflammatory, emotional rhetoric here, nosiree!
posted by fuzzygeek at 10:52 AM on May 18, 2001


fuzzygeek: That the Sierra Club has an agenda is not a big story. Any research it does will automatically be suspected of being biased, because it *is* a group with an agenda and makes no bones about it. The emotional rhetoric is, however, ridiculous. The goofiness of the vehicles is a cultural issue, sort in the same way that pre-washed jeans are. (I read somewhere that one of the American companies considered having something akin to pre-washed SUVs.)

Anyway . . . I said on metatalk that the SUV issue is akin to a local zoning controversy. In a zoning matter, there will likely be serious issues involved too. But then someone will want to keep a certain industry out for pollution or for hurting property values (just like they'll be legitimately worried about certain SUV gas mileage, safety issues, making city traffic less bearable), while others will want it gone because it's ugly. They might also want that new apartment complex that's a nuisance re density out because it's not aesthetically pleasing and the people who'll rent the apartments are snotty latte drinking folks, whatever. And bitching about the latter dilutes their message.
posted by raysmj at 11:21 AM on May 18, 2001


washed jeans are. (I read somewhere that one of the American companies considered having something akin to pre-washed SUVs.)

Well, you can get the 'Eddie Bauer' Ford Explorer.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:29 AM on May 18, 2001


The Sierra Club report I cited is objective. Take a look at it first before you comment. I am not defending everything the Sierra Club has done, just the report I cited.

The issue here is not complicated. SUVs are exempted from minimum mileage requirements on the specious grounds that they are used for business/agricultural transportation as "light trucks."

The number of so-called light trucks has risen from 20% in 1975 to nearly 50% today, with a corresponding decline in average fuel efficiency.

GM has announced a 220 horsepower SUV that will get 35 MPG.

As I said above, this would save 1500 gallons of gas per second, leading the way perhaps to the U.S. becoming an oil-EXPORTING nation.
posted by steve_high at 11:54 AM on May 18, 2001


I don't have anything substantial to add to this thread (I don't even have a car). But I just wanted to say that I really found the link titles for this post (the tool tip info that pops up in IE when you mouseover the link) to be very useful. Cheers palegirl... (sorry if this has already been discussed, etc. etc.)
posted by phunkone at 12:15 PM on May 18, 2001


Methinks everyone should step outside a bit to cool off; this isn't the kind of discussion we want to have.

Sorry, I thought the very point of this site was about debate, who is this guy Avagadro to try and censor one of the more interesting debates I've seen on this site. Sounds like a lameoid teacher who wants to stop a class debate just as it gets interesting. And exactly who is the we he talks of?
posted by johnny novak at 3:26 PM on May 18, 2001


jeff -- i'm glad you said that, because adding all the titles to the links makes it very hard to compose the post or edit it because there's all this text everywhere & i often wonder if anyone even notices -- but i figured it was important in this case because i was including so many links...

xoxo
posted by palegirl at 7:24 PM on May 18, 2001


I think some of the SUV defenders should try sharing a downtown street with Excursions and Suburbans and the like, inside less stupidly oversized vehicles. Big SUVs are, plain and simple, a nuisance in traffic. The sense of power they give the drivers only enhances this effect. It's like the old Goofy cartoon where Goofy gets behind the wheel and becomes a monster. That happens so often with SUV drivers around here, it's not even funny. My own uncle is one of the nicest, calmest guys you could ever meet, but behind the wheel of his Suburban, he's the opposite. And don't give me the "sports cars do the same thing" junk - there are a heck of a lot more SUVs than sports cars. If there were only as many Suburbans in the country as there are 911 Turbos, nobody would have a problem. SUVs and their effects on drivers cause increased danger on the road, and slowly but surely are destroying the pleasure of driving.

Personally, I think the solution is quite simple: require SUV drivers to get a Commercial Driver's License. When you're in an Excursion or Suburban or the like, you're already basically in a baby 18-wheeler. Might as well require people to get some training to handle those oversized road hazards safely. Something needs to be done to tell the morons driving them that they can't be driven like Camaros.
posted by Spirit_VW at 2:20 PM on May 20, 2001


I think SUV defenders should try sharing any street with Excursions and Suburbans and the like, while walking. It's a very scary experience.
posted by daveadams at 10:47 AM on May 21, 2001


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