July 29th, 2006


supersize it!

Let's just talk about sport utility vehicles for a minute.

Because ... it's getting hard to bite my tongue as I hear
excuse after excuse after excuse.

The current round of excuses talk about the great gas millage
or low emissions statistics for their wonderful new vehicle.

The "I've got a big family... and dogs" bit is still a big hit.

And "what have you done for me lately" or "look at all the bad
stuff you do, so don't give me a hard time about my SUV" is gaining in popularity.


It's not complicated.

The SUV phenomenon is bad.
A culture of excess, ignorance and manipulation has brought us all to this place.

North America ... is the only place in the world where SUVs are popular.
In fact, the failure to maintain decent market shares in other, global, markets has brought american auto makers to their knees.

They - as a class of vehicle - create more harmful emissions than any other class of non-commercial vehicle.
Certainly, you can get the newest fancy spancy model and make gains in this area.

More raw materials go into making one than into a normal family car.
There is more waste generated in making an SUV than a normal family car.
The tires alone, represent a dangerous burden to the tire disposal industry and carry a vastly greater pollution potential than the tires on a normal family car.
More fluids; oils, coolants, GAS!!!, etc... are used by an SUV than a normal family car.
And when you dispose of an SUV, there is a significantly larger foot print on the dump than there is with a normal family car.
The manufacturing, normal life and disposal of SUVs is a symphony of waste.

The percentage of people that well and truly need the wheel base, power and capacity of an average SUV is a dramatically smaller number than the number of people who drive one. The big three US auto makers have sold an amazing number of these vehicles...
You have choices. There are large vehicles aka small suvs, and there are BF SUVs.
Like... omfg, have you driven behind a yukon on city streets?

The problems with environmental issues are only a part of the story ...
We built city and municipal road systems based on the concept of a family car.
Commercial vehicles are well accounted for in the plans...
But this is completely off the charts now.
Huge vehicles clog roadways.
They pose various dangers to themselves and other drivers.

There are an endless number of web pages dedicated to outlining statistics on SUV Roll Overs and Accidents in general...
[ :: example :: ]
Just Google "SUV Accidents" ... and away you go....

The saddest part of this issue is that it's very much the auto makers that are at fault here, and not the average joe that bought an SUV. Our market was manipulated to a very fine tune and then we just gobbled up the goods.

The event horizon that will signal any kind of real relief is when people who don't actually need them just stop buying them.