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Happy Death of the SUV Neurosis

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
Don't miss the real reason for the alleged decline:

Market Forces!


Full disclosure: I owned a 2000 Izuzu Trooper LS and loved it. It cost me just about $120.00 per month in gas. For me, just too much.

My gas costs are not down to say $80.00. Thats big savings.

But no government or environmentalist or anti-personal choice group made that decision for me. I did.

Thats why the free market, warts and all, is the only way.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Come on. Its not "Just the Market."

Many SUVers bought 'em cause they were RUGGED and COOL and three times a year they might need to carry five adults somewhere.

Evil LIBERALS and ENVIRONMENTALISTS made them less "COOL." I guess that is the "Market" at work, but its also a case of moralistic (admittedly annoying) hectoring as well. Based on income, most luxury SUV drivers CAN afford the extra gas, so that's not going to change things that dramatically.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
BKM said:
Come on. Its not "Just the Market."

Many SUVers bought 'em cause they were RUGGED and COOL and three times a year they might need to carry five adults somewhere.
SO?!

You're probably anti - skateboard too. ;)
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
BKM said:
Come on. Its not "Just the Market."

Many SUVers bought 'em cause they were RUGGED and COOL
I might argue that this was effective marketing that sold this illusion and that marketing is one part of the market.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Defining Market

The market place theoretically satisfies the buyers needs when the consumer acts in "rational self interest". Someone acting in a vain way by purchasing an SUV is in fact meeting their need to find some sense of self satisfaction. Essentially, I buy an SUV and guzzle gas because I can. And not everyone can, so this makes me superior and I feel good about that. In fact I am superior enough that I don't care if I kill you in an accident because I'm also paying for the false sense of security I get with such a massive vehicle. After all we do live in a "ME" society.

Obviously, there are many other reasons people buy SUV's, such as cargo room, although you'd be amazed at how much baby equipment and children will fit into a Ford Windstar.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I can't wait to trade in my little whimpy Ford Ranger for my Hummer H2 ....now that's rugged!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Mike:

And, you could carry your entire racing team and all of their equipment!
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Re: Mike:

BKM said:
And, you could carry your entire racing team and all of their equipment!
Hate to argue with you BKM because I really think we are on the same side of this issue. However, an H2 is surprisingly cramped on the inside given its external size. Seems to me a Volvo wagon (where are you El Guapo) is almost similar in internal usable space.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Defining Market

Budgie said:
Someone acting in a vain way by purchasing an SUV is in fact meeting their need to find some sense of self satisfaction. Essentially, I buy an SUV and guzzle gas because I can. And not everyone can, so this makes me superior and I feel good about that. .... After all we do live in a "ME" society.
Agreed - This also explains jewelry, furs, yachts, box seats at the opera and so much about our society. It is also part of the engine that spurs innovation. In my marketing campaign I'm making my SUV just a little cooler by adding the Lenny Kravitz tune and a nifty cargo rack I smite my rivals and make money. I'd rather live in this world than the one of the Great Leader where all colors are gray.

If you want to save the world you guys are going to have to get more market savvy. Running rubber boats at whaleing boats is so 90's.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Re: Re: Defining Market

El Guapo said:
Running rubber boats at whaleing boats is so 90's.
Oh kewl, this is the 21st century and we are at war, how about a thermite grenade set on the hood?

But seriously, I think as the articles point out market forces are lining up against the gas hogs. Now smaller hybrid Ford Escapes and the like may find a nitch, but overall I think the SUV fad is going to start petering out. Seems to me Ford has already decided to end production of the worst of the worst (Excursion).

A jolt to the oil markets would even speed up the end.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
The H2 really isn't much bigger than a Ford Explorer...just boxier. BTW, I'm not getting one. I was just playing around. I can't justify spending over half the appraised value of my house on a vehicle.

I hear they are coming out with pickups in a year or so, that may be something I'd consider.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I've got to add that the Hummer is an awful thing to drive. Admittedly, I have only driven the military model, but they are far from comfortable and have very poor visibility. At the same time, they are great for difficult terrain.

I think it is a bit much to talk of the demise of the SUV. They are always going to be around. The question is whether other vehicles may begin to be more appealing. It would be interesting to see a comeback of the station wagon. When so many automakers virtually eliminated them, people needing room for family or cargo had little choice but to go the SUV route. I also suspect that aging boomers will find cars more appealing, although these will not be Honda Civics. They will go for the big cars.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
let me say that the SUV rage isn't just American, it's here too. And damn it bothers... you can see soccer moms going back and forth from school in a ford explorer or a hyundai galloper. sure, they're 4x4, but when the hell do you think they USE the 4WD? Here it rarely snows so chart that out. So the only time they use it (if they actually use it) is when they go on vacations to the mountains or some not so accesible place.
They just buy those monsters to feel safe, but actually they're far from it.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Gas Prices

I think all this talk of the "market place" is useless without mentioning that we are not talking about unadulterated supply and demand forces. When gas prices start reflecting their true costs, then we will see how attractive SUV's are. Subsidies in various forms (often competing against each other) make the rise of wasteful consumerism possible. Would anyone like to fathom a guess at the amount of money spent on transportation infrastructure, gas price subsidies, policing and public safety related to automobile use, administrative overhead to maintain our glutonous oil policy. Our energy consumption will catch up with us both economically and politically. I have no idea why Britain still claims to be an ally, when the typical brit pays over 3 times as much for petrol.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Gas Prices

Budgie said:
I think all this talk of the "market place" is useless without mentioning that we are not talking about unadulterated supply and demand forces. When gas prices start reflecting their true costs, then we will see how attractive SUV's are. Subsidies in various forms (often competing against each other) make the rise of wasteful consumerism possible. Would anyone like to fathom a guess at the amount of money spent on transportation infrastructure, gas price subsidies, policing and public safety related to automobile use, administrative overhead to maintain our glutonous oil policy. Our energy consumption will catch up with us both economically and politically. I have no idea why Britain still claims to be an ally, when the typical brit pays over 3 times as much for petrol.
Yes when those gas taxes disappear - holy dead dinosaur will the market encourage SUVs. What are these true costs? I hear this all over the place, but other than some "eco" math I have yet to see these "True Costs."

What does the UK's internal taxation policy have to do with our relations with them?

It was you feel good types that effectively killed Nuclear power in the US. Now we see coal's zenith. Its killing more people than nuclear would have. Nuclear is Re-New-Able. That's a word you guys like. Why aren't you for it? Did Tom Hayden tell you no?

Kill the SUV at your peril. You may not like what comes after it.

I will agree that corporate welfare subsidies are wrong-period, but the free market is going to have what you believe are excesses. That is one of its costs. Nope, no getting around that fact.

PS - There are English speaking socialist-lite counties - why aren't you posting from there? Why kill the last bastion of capitolism - besides the PRC?
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Michael Stumpf said:
I've got to add that the Hummer is an awful thing to drive. Admittedly, I have only driven the military model, but they are far from comfortable and have very poor visibility. At the same time, they are great for difficult terrain.

I think it is a bit much to talk of the demise of the SUV. They are always going to be around. The question is whether other vehicles may begin to be more appealing. It would be interesting to see a comeback of the station wagon. When so many automakers virtually eliminated them, people needing room for family or cargo had little choice but to go the SUV route. I also suspect that aging boomers will find cars more appealing, although these will not be Honda Civics. They will go for the big cars.
I recently sold my 1978 (very reliable) SUV and am in the market for a station wagon. I just think it is silly to pay $29,000 for a new station wagon. I want safety, reliabilty and durablity and I have decided an old Volvo Wagon fits the bill. Finding one in the Midwest is hard because the people that own them keep them until they die or the car dies.

When you quit worrying about what your neighbors and friends will think and accept that you are a SW man it gets easier. SWPRIDE!
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
El Guapo !!!

El Guapo:

I am shocked at the personal attacks. I dare you to find one of my posts where I ever mention "nuclear" anything. If you find one, it's clearly fabricated by the host of this chat.

I suggest you read a little about economics. Do the terms "negative externatities" or "market failures" ring a bell? In fact, the entire notion of zoning is based on negative externalities that exist between conflicting land uses, which appear to me to be less tangible than the costs to society. The effects of these negative externalities are reflected in the sacred "property values" that come up at every public hearing.

Yes, there are gas taxes, but they don't come close to meeting the true costs of gasoline usage. That's why we have the plethora of Federal regulations to counter our lack of political will to mitigate the harmful effects of gasoline use.

I'm not a psychotic tree hugger. And "yes" there will always be those who can prescribe to "excessive consumerism" but the number of those who can entire that market is reduced when price is reflective of true costs.

El Guapo, I have always loved your witty style, but I'm disappointed that you would single me out for treatment. Might I remind you, that opinions are like ***holes, everyone's got one. So let me bear mine as you bear your's.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Capitalism

Capitalism only truly exists where there are no subsidies, it's called economic anarchy.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: El Guapo !!!

Whoa _ Didn't mean to go personal Let me re-read. If I did let me appologize right now.

Ok - I have re-read my post. I should have been clearer in my use of "you." I meant to address all rage-against choice positions. But it was truly not a personal attack. I enjoy your perspective. Please accept this as an offer of good will out of respect. But I stand by my arguments and I have yet to see these "true costs."

I know what negative externalities are and there are some involved in having human life above the surface. We could grow hemp, make blankets, and live in harmony with mother earth, but a damn sight fewer people would survive infancy.

Budgie - you personally enjoy the luxury of being able to live in harmony with mother earth to a ripe old age here in NA and promote these good ideas. However, it took a huge logistics train of negative externalities to put you there. Kemina in Mogadishu doesn't have that option.

Yes, Brian I am trying to grow. :)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
El Guapo said:

When you quit worrying about what your neighbors and frineds will think and accept that you are a SW man it gets easier.
That has many applications innlife beyong station wagons, my friend.

And Budgie - I read it as not being an attack on you, but I can see how you got that impression from EG's post.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
You Guys ?

El Guapo:

Who are the "you guys" you are referring to? You lost me here? Who is Tom Hayden? Maybe I don't watch enough sitcoms to know what this means.

Need I remind you that your very livelihood is based in part on regulating and subsidizing as is your salary. Let's just drop the "free market" and "democracy" references because they don't exist.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Choice ?

At what point is choice being threatened in my comments? Please enlighten me !!!!!

Making a choice implies that full knowledge of the options exists. Price is part of knowledge and if the price is not representative of the true costs, an educated choice can not be made. Freedom of choice is central to my argument and might I say of the entire economic thought of capitalism. Central to capitalism is "knowledge" reflected in price. Did those owning Enron Stock have full knowledge? NO !!!!!!!!!!! Are SUV and gas purchasers being given knowledge of the true costs? I don't think so. What would happen if tomorrow all farm subsidies were taken out of the "fair market"? You'd have to shift you resources from excessive automobiles to food, that's assuming you didn't get laid off due to the shock the economy would go through when the subsidies are yanked out from under you.

Rebuttal, please !!!
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: You Guys ?

Budgie said:
El Guapo:

Who are the "you guys" you are referring to? You lost me here? Who is Tom Hayden? Maybe I don't watch enough sitcoms to know what this means.

Need I remind you that your very livelihood is based in part on regulating and subsidizing as is your salary. Let's just drop the "free market" and "democracy" references because they don't exist.
I am referring to the people that hold positions similar to yours. People I like to generalize as free market subsidized "Earth Savers." People who sit at the top of the social and economic order and suggest how others should live and what values they should hold.

Re: Tom Hayden - The former Mr. Jane Fonda - California 60's radical. A fellow often used by us capitalists to illustrate a point.

Need I remind you we have a little thing called a bill of rights that lets me write any gosh darn thing I please. Yes, this last post may have gotten personal.

My very livelyhood is based upon thinking decisions through and planning for the future. Regulation is but one tool.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Choice ?

Budgie said:
At what point is choice being threatened in my comments? Please enlighten me !!!!!

Making a choice implies that full knowledge of the options exists. Price is part of knowledge and if the price is not representative of the true costs, an educated choice can not be made. Freedom of choice is central to my argument and might I say of the entire economic thought of capitalism. Central to capitalism is "knowledge" reflected in price. Did those owning Enron Stock have full knowledge? NO !!!!!!!!!!! Are SUV and gas purchasers being given knowledge of the true costs? I don't think so. What would happen if tomorrow all farm subsidies were taken out of the "fair market"? You'd have to shift you resources from excessive automobiles to food, that's assuming you didn't get laid off due to the shock the economy would go through when the subsidies are yanked out from under you.

Rebuttal, please !!!

"wasteful consumerism” "gluttonous oil policy" - Mr. Doom and Gloom. All socialist counties do is shift the burden from one class to the next.

When are you going to figure out Enron was not about oil. It was about greed and crime. Oil and energy were the setting. Oil is not inherently evil. In my world we would have punished criminals early and often and fewer would grow up to be bad people. A stick is the necessary companion to the carrot.

I'm all for taking the farm subsidies away. No argument there.

I'm still waiting on the "True Costs."
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
EG - I like your idea of growing hemp. It is a remarkable raw material. We can grow immense quantities of it and it has countless uses. I have a checkbook cover made from hemp - what can be more symbolic of capitalism than that?

Budgie - I like your thought of removing farm subsidies. Wisconsin dairy farmers would love to be able to compete in a free market.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Choice ?

Budgie said:
Making a choice implies that full knowledge of the options exists. Rebuttal, please !!!
Nope -People make choices everyday without all the facts. And most people even make good choices without all the facts. That's planning in a nutshell. More facts are always better, but sometimes you have to eventually make a choice.


PS - Thanks - I love a good fight.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Burdens !!!

My comments regarding Enron had nothing to do with Oil or Energy policy. They had everything to do with the fact that the stock price did not reflect the true nature of the investment people made in Enron. The same is true for food prices, gas prices and anything else that involves tinkering by the Federal government.

At what point is recognizing that excessive energy usage is going to have negative consequences, a apocolyptic doomsday forecast?

Shifting burdens !!! By your definition of socialist, that's exactly what the system the the USA is "socialist". And yes, the burden is shifted, in part because the negative externalities have to be dealt with. For example: farm subsidies (shifted burden) keep food cheap, so that American's can eat. I think this is a good thing. Why, because our country is stable because of it. Everyone benefits. Why does the NFL spread around the wealth? Because it benefits the whole. The NFL is socialist.

El Guapo, did someone kick your dog today? I'll let you rest.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Burdens !!!

Budgie said:
My comments regarding Enron had nothing to do with Oil or Energy policy. They had everything to do with the fact that the stock price did not reflect the true nature of the investment people made in Enron. The same is true for food prices, gas prices and anything else that involves tinkering by the Federal government.

At what point is recognizing that excessive energy usage is going to have negative consequences, a apocolyptic doomsday forecast?

Shifting burdens !!! By your definition of socialist, that's exactly what the system the the USA is "socialist". And yes, the burden is shifted, in part because the negative externalities have to be dealt with. For example: farm subsidies (shifted burden) keep food cheap, so that American's can eat. I think this is a good thing. Why, because our country is stable because of it. Everyone benefits. Why does the NFL spread around the wealth? Because it benefits the whole. The NFL is socialist.

El Guapo, did someone kick your dog today? I'll let you rest.
No, no one kicked my dog. Thanks for asking. Seeing as your talking in circles, and I'm not going to change your views, I'll bid you good day also.

PS I'm still waiting on those "True Costs."
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
True Costs

You are a well read individual. You know what "true costs" include. Planners assist communities make decisions with some "true costs" taken into consideration. There breadth of reputable studies on the topic make it difficult to find a concise all encompassing list. This link lists a few in the third paragraph. Mind you this is a planning document, prepared by planner for the purpose of making community choices with the best available information "knowledge".

http://www.olywa.net/roundtable/soc/current/transpo_current.html

If it appears that I'm writing in circles, it's because just like land use and infrastructure issues, they are interelated with multiple impacts.

I find it nearly impossible to understand how someone who is gung-ho free markerters don't comprehend the impacts such a system would have. Economic anarchy (true free market without rules other than supply and demand) does not exist and if it did there would be no certainty. Besides it will never happen because people want power and control and economic controls are a part of that.

The word "planning" implies forethought and making decisions for the betterment of community, not every man for himself free market mentalities. This is not a tyraid against any particular opinion, I just think that any all or nothing mentality is foolish. Unfortunately, some who wave the flag of "free market" don't understand what it is nor do they have any idea of what the implications of such a system (or lack thereof would be).

How can someone be a planner and really believe in the "free market". If I truly understood and believed in an unadulterated "free market", I would be completely opposed to planning because it involves making decisions that directly and indirectly affect the way someone can use their property, how they will be taxed, what tax dollars will go to, etc. These decisions are made by communities (which are a society (socialism)). This is why we have water treatment plants with mandatory hook up within cities. This is why we have franchise agreements. This is why we have wastewater treatment plants. This is why we have landfills. Can anyone explain how the planning profession (or any profession for that matter) is congruent with untethered free market beliefs.

I think the fact that widespread SUV use exists is a testament to the fact that "free market" forces are not at work. Remove all subsidies and shelter, clothing and food would become the most costly items we spend money on. Transportation costs would be down the list. That's not to say that SUV's wouldn't exist or to say that no one should choose to have one. It's just that since all other things are artificially cheaper makes widespread SUV use possible.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
untetheredschmeathered

Now, I’m "well read"? In a prior post you told me I needed to study economics.

"I find it nearly impossible to understand how someone who is gung-ho free markerters don't comprehend the impacts such a system would have. Economic anarchy (true free market without rules other than supply and demand) does not exist and if it did there would be no certainty. Besides it will never happen because people want power and control and economic controls are a part of that. " Straw man - Please read my first post in this thread.

"When gas prices start reflecting their true costs, then we will see how attractive SUV's are." - One last time - what are the "true costs" of cheap energy? - Itemize or go away.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Re: Defining Market

Budgie said:
The market place theoretically satisfies the buyers needs when the consumer acts in "rational self interest". Someone acting in a vain way by purchasing an SUV is in fact meeting their need to find some sense of self satisfaction. Essentially, I buy an SUV and guzzle gas because I can. And not everyone can, so this makes me superior and I feel good about that. In fact I am superior enough that I don't care if I kill you in an accident because I'm also paying for the false sense of security I get with such a massive vehicle. After all we do live in a "ME" society.

Obviously, there are many other reasons people buy SUV's, such as cargo room, although you'd be amazed at how much baby equipment and children will fit into a Ford Windstar.
PS. Isn't this post here a bit of self-indulgent eco feel good rationalization of your "I'm superior because I love mother earth more than you attitude?" Please correct me if I'm wrong. And I'm shocked that you got so personal - knowing of course that I am a former SUV owner. In your vicious personal attack on SUV owners you asigned to me some "I don't care if I kill you in an accident" thoughts. Did you think I'd be out hunting for losers on a Segqway with my SUV?
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
?

Will someone please step in here an start making sense out of this mess?

El Guapo: I didn't know you were a former SUV owner, nor was it a personal attack. Perhaps, this is the Kunstler coming out of me. Oops, I guess my quotes are alot like the NPR story recently posted to this site. Yes, I alone am making this crap up and there is no forethought to it, except to hurt El Guapo's feelings. Yes, there is no rational basis or evidence to support what I have written. Yes, I'm stupid enough to assume that SUV drivers are out to kill, just like someone who purchases a Segway is a self rightous tree hugger. This is the kind of gernalizations you will find all over my posts. You know, the ones were I refer to "You Guys" to put everyone in there place. Yes, that's my MO.

You have clearly catagorized me as a tree hugger but at no point have I suggested anything radical enough to paint myself into a corner where I don't belong. I guess owning a Windstar is equal to owning a VW van with peace symbols on the side.

As for your tongue in cheek P.S. concerning hunting me down on while I'm on a Segway, I think someone should be able to make a choice to use any kind of transportation they like provided there are no significant danger to others. Even you can't deny that there are benefits to your community (and by extension yourself) in the use of light vehicles rather than autodependency.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,847
Points
59
A couple of years ago, The Onion ran an article called "98% of All Americans Missing the Point Entirely." A photo included a Ford Excursion with a bumper sticker that said "SAVE THE EARTH."

When I lived in Denver, I saw a lot of that ... the outdoorsy, Rocky Mountain High-folks who preached granola-flavored crunchy environmental goodness, while practicing something else entirely. Many Boulder tree-huggers preached that they don't want YOU to waste resources. Since they're well-informed environmental stewards, though, they've got the right to own SUVs. "We're driving them to trailheads," they say, but any car with a functioning engine and four barely-inflated tires can make it to a trailhead or ski lift. They make up for it by shopping at Whole Foods and buying their copy of "Simple Living" there, along with their free-range whole wheat bread.

Consumerism, suburban living, and "affluenzia" is bad in others. However, it's just fine for them to have a $3,000 Miele dishwasher, $5,000 Sub-Zero fridge and $10,000 Viking oven in the Euro-kitchen of their 6,000 square foot home located in some "mountain cluster development" 20 kilometers from the nearest supermarket. They're responsible, and we're not.

If we examine our set of values long enough, we'll find lots of hypocriticism. I'm pro-choice but anti-death penalty, for example. Why do we hate SUVs, but not minivans with only slightly better gas mileage? Why aren't we cursing the Confederate crowd in west Orange County, Florida, with their love of obscenely huge pickups? It's okay to hate Buffy because she drives an Explorer, but not Bubba for his Ford F-350 crew cab duallie? (I ain't puttin' no g'damn sheetrock in there ... it'll scratch the g'damn bed!) Where's the line between "gas hog" and "socially acceptable motor vehicle?"

Why all the SUVs? IMHO, it was a convergence of trends and market forces. In the 1990s, we all became stinko rich, and things outdoorsy became a fashion trend. Yeah, there were stinko rich people during the 1980s greed era, but they drove BMWs and Mercedes.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Dan Tha Man

Dan, you again have summed it up pretty well. We are all guilty. The Bumper Stickers here on the Excursions and Land Rovers all read "Keep Tahoe Blue" and "Save Mono Lake," but the Bay Area is the exact same way. :)

"Luckily," the affluent era is over. There is nothing on the economic horizon that can bring about the gluttony of the late 1990s. We are in for some lean times, I'm afraid. There will always be people who can afford the H2-but during harder times, it will no longer be so "in."

Budgie: Have you ever read "False Dawn," written by one of Thatcher's intellectual gurus. He is now a bit of a skeptic about the whole Anglo-American ideology about "Free Markets." He offers no solutions (his fear is that the forces set in motion during the 1980s and 90s are at this point somewhat unstoppable), but he also makes a good point that laissez faire was a deliberate creation and a political choice.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Dan said:
Where's the line between "gas hog" and "socially acceptable motor vehicle?
I think it would be a number provided by a composite index of:
  • MPG
  • Mass
  • Weight
  • Exhaust pollutants
  • % of time operated at full capacity (volume & weight)
Back after the oil crisis of the early 70's the EPA mileage pamphlets were easy to find and actually read and cared about. We have drifted away from that concern as cheap gas and easy money has distracted us. Maybe the time will come when cars can be rated on the GHSA (Gas Hog - Socially Acceptable) Scale and people would care.

On a related topic I noted a discussion in Oregon on taxing registered vehicles by miles driven. I sure would like to see a weighted scale added to this covering mass and weight. I figure if I drive X number of miles in my Mini Cooper I am costing the state (wear and tear on roads, etc.), and anyone I potentially run into, a lot less than my neighbor driving his H2 behemoth the same X miles. Not to mention the reduced infrastructure needs of my smaller footprint car (ex. parking slot size).
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Dan said:
Why do we hate SUVs, but not minivans with only slightly better gas mileage? Why aren't we cursing the Confederate crowd in west Orange County, Florida, with their love of obscenely huge pickups? It's okay to hate Buffy because she drives an Explorer, but not Bubba for his Ford F-350 crew cab duallie? (I ain't puttin' no g'damn sheetrock in there ... it'll scratch the g'damn bed!) Where's the line between "gas hog" and "socially acceptable motor vehicle?"
To me it just seems like very few people can justify getting the SUVs compared to other types of vehicles. Bubba really does need his pickup to haul his sheetrock and deer carcasses, and Aunt Carol needs the minivan for her 4 kids. "Josh from Accounting," on the other hand, doesn't need a rugged sport utility vehicle to get to the office park. He needs it to look like a successful MAN to his neighbors, his co-workers, other commuters, and THE LADIES. Very few people actually use them to drive up dirt mountain roads or whatever the hell they're really made for.
 

Cardinal

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True. The majority of people will never (and perhaps because they do not know how, never should) use the full capabilities of a four-wheel drive SUV. Now how about the gas-guzzling sports car? The milage is not much better. Do people really need a car that goes 140 mph?
 

Jeff

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Seabishop said:


To me it just seems like very few people can justify getting the SUVs compared to other types of vehicles. Bubba really does need his pickup to haul his sheetrock and deer carcasses, and Aunt Carol needs the minivan for her 4 kids. "Josh from Accounting," on the other hand, doesn't need a rugged sport utility vehicle to get to the office park. He needs it to look like a successful MAN to his neighbors, his co-workers, other commuters, and THE LADIES. Very few people actually use them to drive up dirt mountain roads or whatever the hell they're really made for.

I find nothing more amusing than seeing a nice and shiny (insert SUV here) with polished chrome wheels, etc and the brush guards over the headlights and taillights. I mean really, when are you taking that thing through the Australian Outback that you need all that??
 

Dan

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Seabishop said:


To me it just seems like very few people can justify getting the SUVs compared to other types of vehicles. Bubba really does need his pickup to haul his sheetrock and deer carcasses, and Aunt Carol needs the minivan for her 4 kids.
When I lived in Florida, a lot of Bubbas considered their massive pickup trucks as status symbols, in the same way that Kristin "in marketing" thinks of her 4Runner. On my former middle- to upper-middle-class Confederate cul-de-sac, one of my neighbors left his former employer, started his own roofing company, got successful rather quickly, and bought a loaded Chevrolet Avalanche as a reward. (I drove it a few times, and there is an obscene amount of power under the hood. :D ) That's not the work vehicle, though ... the "old'un" was used for hauling squares of shingles, sheets of drywall, and towing the boat trailer. The Avalanche was used to go to the flex-space office, the mall, and the grovery store.

Bubba might be a workin' man, and Chad might be a smooth jazz listenin', late sippin' yupster. If both of 'em have huge vehicles that are never used for their engineered purpose, why shouldn't Bubba face the same amount of derision as Chad?

Let's head west a few time zones.

In Denver, there really wasn't an SUV stigma. The taxonomy of SUV drivers could be broken down into five groups:

1) The power yuppie. Smooth jazz listenin', e-business solution providin', Cherry Creek Mall shoppin' upper income thirtysomething. Vacations in Tuscany and Provence. May ski occasionally. SUVs of choice include Lexus- and Infiniti-branded models of Toyota and Nissan SUVs.

2) The outdoorsy yuppie. Works as an executive or mid-level professional for an outdoors equipment supplier or a dot-com where you could take your dogs to work. Vacations in Patagonia and Iceland. Conducts business on the back bowls of Copper Mountain. SUVs of choice ... Land Rover, Range Rover, and Land Rover Discovery.

3) The middle-class working professional. Works as an urban planner for a local government in suburban Denver. Vacations in Cancun, Australia and the UK. SUVs of choice ... Ford Explorer, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Dodge Durango.

4) The outdoorsy middle-class working professional. Girl who wears official Denver resident uniform of ponytail pulled through back baseball cap, or guy with goatee and world-class collection of flannel shorts, both of them never in the office because they're always "at the trailhead." Really doesn't go off-road, but they lead a lifestyle that's otherwise off the pages of Outside magazine. SUVs of choice -- Toyota 4Runner, Nissan XTerra, Izuzu Trooper.

5) Old-school Coloradan. Crusty, horsey guy who talks without moving his mouth, much less opening it. Could be an engineer, could be a mechanic at Coors, could be a parole officer. Goes off road a lot, but mostly on dirt roads that a normal car can navigate. SUVs of choice -- old Ford Bronco, old Chevrolet Suburban, old International Harvester Scout.

Of the bunch, who's most deserving of SUV ownership? How about the least deserving? Why?
 

Dan

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Michael Stumpf said:
Do people really need a car that goes 140 mph?
Yes. :D

Seriously, I don't NEED a car that can go 140 MPH. However, if it's capable of tracking down the Interstate in a safe manner at that speed, I know it'll be superb when facing normal rush-hour traffic.

I've taken my UberWagen to 180 KM/H. It tracks and handles just fine on America's less-than-perfect Interstate highways at that speed. There was still room to go faster. However, the car is not built to be driven at such speeds all the time. Mentally, I don't feel comfortable with prolonged high-speed driving. Keeping up in 120 KM/H rush hour traffic, though, is far less stressful in the UberWagen than in a Hyundai Accent or Geo Metro.

I think a lot of folks who justify SUV ownership use a similar argument. "I don't ever use the full capabilities of the vehicle, but considering that it's there, I know it'll be damn good at handling the gentle duty I'll give it."

Unfortunately, few people know the limits of their vehicles, or what they were designed to even do. An SUV is not intended to be the equivalent of a Bombardier Arctic Cat; you can't drive it through a foot of snow at 120 KM/H on the Interstate. Hell, an SUV is built on a truck frame, and it really doesn't handle well a speeds greater than 60 or 70 KM/H. A German luxury sedan isn't the rquivalent of an Italian supercar; you can't zip along the twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway at 200 KM/H.
 

Seabishop

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Yeah, I guess the successful Bubbas like that guy are in the same category. The ladies must be more impressed with pick ‘m up trucks there. I’m sure there are plently of one child families in mini-vans too.

I can only imagine the SUV clogged roads of greater Denver. There must be thousands of people flocking there for the outdoorsy lifestyle every year. I would look like such a dork driving up to the ski loft in my Chevy Lumina. It communicates that I have the same taste as taxi companies.

Its funny, the Hispanic kids who blatantly will tell you they soup up their cars just for status and getting laid at least mostly drive fuel efficient Japanese cars. (yes, I am aware that not all Hispanic people do this)

Out of your list I would have to pick the old school rugged guy - at least his wheels touch dirt and everyone from the other categories is trying to adopt his mystique, although in a more sophisticated way.
 

giff57

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Seabishop said:


Its funny, the Hispanic kids who blatantly will tell you they soup up their cars just for status and getting laid at least mostly drive fuel efficient Japanese cars. (yes, I am aware that not all Hispanic people do this)

The are not so efficient after they modifiy them to make 400 HP
 

PlannerGirl

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what IS a socialy acceptable car for the typical urbanite when they want to haul the beasts, home improvment stuff, take vacations camping in the woods *read get the whole car dirty if i can* and still be presentable for work?

No I dont agree with the huge SUVs but some of the smaller things look like a nice middle ground.

Thoughts?
 

BKM

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Subaru WRX!

My Subaru wagon is not all that big, but it can haul (at different times) beasts (three dogs), two road bikes, a full-size set of shelves, almost any box from IKEA, Target, or Scandinavian Design, etc.

Of course, because I agree with Dan, there is a turbocharger, and the gas mileage (the way I drive) is nowhere near that of a Honda Civic.
 

PlannerGirl

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humm i have actualy been thinking about the Outback-god a young single woman with no kids owning a station wagon-god help me!
 
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