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Death to SUVs!

Annys Shin tells us this morning that America's love affair with the large SUV has braked to a screeching halt with the advent of $4-a-gallon gasoline. If we own one of these fuelish beasts we can't sell it for anything close to what we could have gotten, say, six months ago.

Our Readers Who Comment have little sympathy for those who find themselves unable to afford the gasoline and unable to sell the SUV. They have less for the auto industry, which is having trouble moving SUV inventory. Those who drive smaller vehicles have felt intimated; they can't see around SUVs. Besides, they get better gas mileage. Nanny nanny boo boo.

Some readers tie the issue directly to U.S. involvement in the Mideast -- an oblique reference to the continuing assertion by some that the war in Iraq is really all about oil.

Whatever the reason, the comments on this article are as one-sided as any I've seen on any subject.

Just to make my point, we'll start with reporter1, who wrote, "Detroit has been making money off of a real life "bigger fool" theory in action for the past 15 years. Now guess who's paying the price? You're right, both the manufacturers and buyers of the obscene gas hogs that the American public was persuaded to buy..."

osage said, "It's hard to shed many tears for these road hogs. Good riddance once and for all!"

And seantaylor21 complained that "The worst is when you are parked in a parking lot and on both sides are two monsterous SUVs. Just backing out safely is a risk. You have no clearance to see around you! GOOD RIDDANCE!"

B2O2 said, "I am so thrilled to see these people being burned. I hope they lose most of their outlandish investments in these disreputable, treasonous vehicles. Thousands of our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq are dying to keep their fat rear ends in these wasteful vehicles..."

And 8-man added, "Just wait until we invade Iran and gas goes to $8 a gallon."

But acindc007, obviously acquainted with the total inability of Washington area drivers to navigate in a small snowstorm, wrote, "Just remember, when we get hit by those 2 inch blizzards it will all be worth it!"

550iDC, taking all this in, said, "A lot of haters here."

jack824 wrote, "The big ones are already a menace on the road and this will only get worse as deeply discounted resales are snapped up by buyers unable to afford to maintain them. It's time to require commercial licenses for anything over 3 tons. If you want to drive a truck, at least be licensed to drive a truck."

average_person said, "...SUVs are not only terrible for the environment, they pose dangers to drivers in regular-sized vehicles, and they frankly for the most part have no style. Most are ugly bubbles of steel that make the drivers seems like dim-witted blobs..."

Kabongus had no sympathy for those trying to sell or trade, writing, "...If you can afford to purchase a $40,000 vehicle taking a $8,000 hit will not cause you to become homeless. Spare me the whinning. Think what it is doing to people in poor countries that can no longer afford to pay for their food."

usnr02 said, "The SUV concept is a triumph of Madison Ave marketing... Most SUVs, including ones with 4 wheel drive, never leave a hard surface road. Pure stupidity. I have no sympathy for buyers of these gas hogs. My 4 cylinder truck gets 25 MPG."

Last word goes to hitpoints, who wrote, "Awwww... awwww... I mean, seriously, just... awww..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  July 2, 2008; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  Gasoline  
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Posted by: carrie | July 15, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

SUV is really not affordable. Gasoline is so expensive now the prices are hiking. Why people tolerant SUV, whether gas gives them better mileage.
___________________________________
jerry
Knox Leon

Posted by: jerryflower | July 15, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

not sure if anyone is still reading this blog, but i really do enjoy the venom. proving my point really.

father, if you really are a father (and i doubt it, but lets pretend), i feel my kids are safer in and around SUV's than they would be around a priest. but to address the saftey issue, like guns, SUV's dont kill people, bad drivers in SUVs kill people. there are bad drivers in every type of vehicle. there are many people who don't know how to handle a high riding car, just as there are those who can't handle a sports car. its the people, not the cars.

and edfeeney. i know you made that story up. but just in case you actually do hang around gas stations, you need to get a life. and next time you try and spin a yarn, make it believable/interesting.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 3, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I find hanging around gas stations is as much fun as a barrel of monkey's lately. Just pack a little lunch and find a good wall to sit on as close as possible to the pumps. Then let the fun begin. I don't know who's more fun to watch, the huge truck and SUV owners or the BMW's and Audi's that have to pull up to the premium pump. You just won't believe how many ways the face can contort when they see their grand total. The one I like the most are the people who act like their constipated and if they could just get their bowels to work right. I mean, I've seen some funny and scary stuff on the faces of these people. So if you have the need for a cheap date or want to have more fun than a comedy club can provide do yourself a favor, think of "gas station. You won't regret it.

Posted by: edfeeney | July 3, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

a few years ago Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article for the New Yorker about the SUV phenomenon. (http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html) He concluded that while they would protect their inhabitants in a collision with a smaller car, they handle so poorly that they get in more accidents than smaller more nimble cars. Research also finds that SUV drivers are less confident about their driving skills than drivers of smaller cars. Full size SUVs are built on truck platforms which are unchanged in basic design for many decades. This is why they are so profitable - there is virtually no R&D cost. They are clearly inferior vehicles, and now that they have become prohibitively expensive to operate they are falling out of favor.

btw I have 3 kids and drive a Mazda3 sedan...it's plenty big enough.
Anywhere else in the world it would be considered a mid size car.

Posted by: jvf | July 3, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I will look this up for you, but there was an actual research report published a few years back that basically said Detroit did a psychological profile of who would buy an SUV so they could fine-tune the advertising campaign. They found out that the most insecure dysfunctional people are the ones most likely to buy an SUV for 3 reasons:

1. The ad campaign sold them a bill of goods (I am a rugged outdoorsman, the all-american image)

2. Insecure people felt more assertive with more ground clearance (towering over others) and a bigger/louder engine

3. Insecure people felt that the SUV projected an image of "reproductive youthfulness" that they themselves cannot manage on their own.

What I infer from this is that the typical SUV buyer has never gone camping, wants to be taller and (especially with women) want to create the image of youthfulness and vigor. Just one more manifestation of the sickness that permeates our culture.

Posted by: BiffGriff | July 3, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Love the passion but where's the love?
...and seeing both sides of the story?

I too am owner of an SUV and I love it AND I love Mother Nature as much (if not more) than the next person. I bought it used and will drive it until it dies. I live in a one car household, primarily ride my bike or use Metro to get from A to B, buy carbon offsets for my SUV and air travel, compost, try to buy local produce and avoid red meat, swapped out incandescent light bulbs etc. etc.

Will I buy a hybrid the next go around? Probably....but in the meantime, I'll keep what I've got since the amount of energy required to build a car is significant itself (for the Prius it's 25% of total energy used during the entire lifecycle).

So to the self-righteous fuel efficient car owners, before you crucify people at "car-value", accusing them of ignorance, vanity, indifference to the environment, take a hard look at the eco-footprint of their entire lifestyle (and your own) before you dismiss them.

Posted by: Green SUV Driver | July 3, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

There little difference between Al-Qaeda and SUV drivers; both are the enemy of the United States.

SUV drivers should be weeded out of society and placed in internment camps, until they apologize for their misdeeds.

SUV drivers, I hope y'all burn in hell.

Posted by: Livia | July 2, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, I really love my Vespa!

But I did drive an SUV thru 2003, and it was great.

I would suggest to many of these posters to mind your own driveway.

Posted by: Susan | July 2, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

160 bags of mulch? Maybe I couldn't fit that much into my Prius, but it holds more than you'd think. For instance, last Christmas, I had a 8x10 ft rug, a 5' drop leaf desk, two large suitcases and several boxes. Drove 1/2 way across the country and still averaged over 50 mpg.

Safe? Well, I remember reading an article about EMTs wanting to make sure they knew how to deal with a Prius in an accident (concern over the battery, I guess). Problem was, they couldn't find a wrecked on to work on. Guess Prius drivers must be defensive drivers, huh, even while daydreaming about their mileage (don't have to daydream, the monitor shows exactly the mileage).

As for being uneducated (don't know where THAT comment came from!), I have a Ph.D. In business. You know, the free-market stuff.

Don't make assumptions. You'll be wrong!

Posted by: patd | July 2, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

LuvMySUV said:

"so here i am, just a hardworking american with kids and a dog and a lot of home repair work who required the utility, safety and space of an SUV."

Your safety comes at a steep price: everyone not in a SUV is slightly less safe because of you.

If that's not being selfish, I don't know what is.

May Christ curse you and your ugly children/dog!

Posted by: Father Simon W. | July 2, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

wow, the level of childisness on this blog has reached depths i couldn't have imagined. i knew the anti SUV crowd was full of insecure people but didnt know it was this bad. death to SUV owners. restrictions on where we can park. assumptions about political leanings and suggestions that we are the cause of the iraq war and the decline of the american way. along the way i enjoyed the nostalgic stories of days gone by when we all sat inthe back of the ol' station wagon with no seatbelts.

so here i am, just a hardworking american with kids and a dog and a lot of home repair work who required the utility, safety and space of an SUV. who decided to live close to work so i wouldnt have to go through long commutes and waste gas like i'm sure many of you do. i've got a perfect driving record.

but you all would rather there be laws preventing me from owning such a vehicle. from parking where i wish and exercising my right to live my life the way i please within the law. so let me ask you, who's doing more harm to american society, me in my SUV or those of you who would rather limit peoples basic constitutional rights..

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Tom 3, it's "City Slickers ARE idiots." Geez, where did you go to school, Berkeley?

Posted by: Gimme a Hummer | July 2, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Green Horns,

You rock! Energy prices are not being driven up so much by consumer demand for it as an end product, but for demand for energy as a production input. It's all the crap people but that's the story, including their brand new green technology--it's industry.

I always have to laugh when I hear about energy broken out into units of "number of homes it would power" or something. How about how many factories, or shopping malls? People inefficiently using gas or electricity at the household level is small potatoes compared to the energy sunk into their insatiable desire for stuff. My favorite joke is the campaign about how much wealth and prosperity green industry will bring! If that's true, then it will only encourage more consumption and negate itself.

So we now believe that buying more things will save us later? Huh? That's like the ads that tell people that if they buy more, they save more money.

Posted by: bkp | July 2, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

SUV's are bad, the people who buy them are ignorant or greedy, and the incredible thing is they have the blessing of a president who of course wants oil to be used more and more since he gets money from it.

oh, and they smell.

Posted by: zapatista | July 2, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I hate large SUV's like the Suburban/Tahoe/Durango/Range Rover/Expedition, etc...
But I also love my four cylinder CR-V. Is that an SUV? Some say yes, some say no, some say crossover, whatever. It gets about 25 mpg which is decent, but not spectacular. It's certainly better than the behemoths but not as good as a Prius.

I might buy a Prius next, I think they're great. But what if I end up with three children? I don't think I can fit three car seats across the back seat of any car. Hopefully Britax or Graco will solve that problem soon; otherwise I guess I'm doomed to a minivan. If there was a four cylinder hybrid minivan I would probably buy it in that case, but right now I'm pretty sure there is none.

So I too think it's ridiculous to see the suburban yuppies in their monstrous V-8's with one car seat in the back. At least now they'll have to pay for their foolishness. As Rob Riggle said on the Daily Show "Just because there is no mountain between my house and my kid's school doesn't mean I don't need a Hummer."

So for once I seem to agree a little with alot of the far left; I'm somewhat glad to see such high gas prices. But I also voted for Bush. Once.

Posted by: Who am I? | July 2, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

City Slickers is an idiot.

And from what I've seen of SUV owners, they are NEVER going to rule the planet.

A bigger bunch of inbred drooling Repuke rednecks you've never seen.

Besides, if they keep driving those SUVs, there won't be any planet left to rule.

Stupid moron Repukes.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I read a study once that said 5 cars can get through a green light in the same time that only 3 SUV's can.

So SUVs are hogging gas in yet another way...they are slow, fatas$ed monsters that are blocking traffic for the rest of us.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The SUV owners will rule the planet, because they have more kids, better educations, healthier lifestyles, and higher IQs. They snicker at the Prius-driving dweebs who grow corn to fuel cars and use coal to make light. Dummies. You starve Third World kids with ethanol, use highly inefficient utilities, pollute as much, and have the economic and environmental knowledge of a wombat. Actually, to call you a wombat is an insult to wombats. Read above: "Whatever the reason, the comments on this article are as one-sided as any I've seen on any subject." Intelligent people always see two or more sides to an issue, and you see one. Dummies.

Posted by: City Slickers | July 2, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Americans didn't used to drive SUVs. We didn't want 'em. We didn't need 'em.

A Wagoneer or a pickup truck was regarded as declasse' back in the day. It was what the repairman or the yard work crew drove.

Americans drove CARS back in those days, not pickup trucks or Suburbans.

Then Detroit figured out they could make a 100% markup on these big gashogs. So they marketed us...brainwashed us...with TV and print ads on how wonderful SUVs were.

And like the idiots we are, we bought it.

There are some people who actually DO need a SUV. A forest ranger who drives dirt roads in the winter. People like that.

But 99% of the SUVs on the road are driven by commuters and soccer moms. A lot of them never get shifted into 4-wheel low, because they never leave the paved road.

We were sold a bill of goods by Detroit and Madison Avenue.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 2, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"I bought and transported 160 bags of mulch in one day, don't think you could do that in a VW beetle."

No, you moron, but you can rent a pickup truck or van at Home Depot for twenty bucks and do all the hauling you need.

You right-wingnuts are tying yourselves into knots trying to defend your destructive gashogs. You're all idiots.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

LuvMySuv:
Love your arrogance! You voted for Bush, right? Now you're getting exactly what you deserve. Voting Republican, ignorance, snottiness, arrogance and greed all go together. I wonder why.

Posted by: Pluto Animus | July 2, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Never understood the appeal of SUVs. To me, it boils down to vanity, and to what end?

As a design exercise, I can't think of a vehicle class more antithetical to the driving experience. They handle poorly, they take longer to stop, the chassis' feel creakier than even mediocre sedans, the road feel is horrible, the turning circles are huge, and visibility out of the rear and side has massive blind spots.

Basically, they're vehicles for drivers that hate driving. Say what you will about the vanity and image consciousness attached to exotic sports cars like Ferraris, but they also make no pretentions that they are built for high performance driving.

At a utility level, SUVs have the high step-in, they have no real bumper protection (unlike passenger vehicles, which have to withstand a low speed impact), and the interior space is puny and inefficient relative to the exterior dimensions. And because SUVs are subject to lower safety and emission standards than regular passenger vehicles, car makers routinely strip out the safety features and more advanced engine control systems found on their other cars while charging consumers through the nose for that inferior technology.

Oh yeah, and SUVs waste gas too!

Unless you live in a rural area with a lot of dirt roads or need the towing capacity, there's little logical reason to go with the SUV compared to other options. It's just funny that it took a fuel crisis to spur demand for more sensible vehicles, when so many other reasons to dump SUVs have been there all along.

Posted by: Woochifer | July 2, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Today, being "green" has apparently returned to meaning young and stupid. Oy, you couldn't be more shrill, "intolerant," or mistaken. I love the fact that SUVs subsidized the R and D and production of your precious Prius, but you ignore that. I love that you display your ignorance of economics by rushing out to buy a new car, rather than reusing one. I love that the guru of global warming (no, NOT Al Gore-ifice) has noted that gasoline is a moot point, but you, the pseudo-environmentalist, would rather that the Chinese, good friends of green. pour it through non-emission control equipped engines than your neighbor's SUV. Green is young and stupid.
Your truck driving farmer that feeds you knows more about the environment (usually having a Master's) than you ever will. And before launching a PETA-farce-rant, he feeds the world far more humanely and efficiently than the Third World by light years (See Zimbabwe disaster and genocide). Smug, self-deluding sanctimony from the snot-nosed. Use CFLs, buy used, plant a garden, and stop your urban coal-fired generator powering your CPU in your mom's basement, dorks. If you had enough room in your city, you could ride a bike. But, that might involve thought and effort.

Posted by: Green Horns | July 2, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think its awesome that many of the people who got greedy (or stupid) and bought houses they couldn't afford are the same people getting crunched by the price of gas and the declining value of their cars.

I laugh at them, and no one should feel sorry for these people.

They're the very definition of stupid Americans.

Posted by: Kate DC | July 2, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Kenneth said:

Personally, I hate SUV drivers, most are ignorant people.

They can die for all I care.
-----------------------------------------

True, most SUV drivers are relatively ignorant and while they put they jeopardize the safety of everyone on the road.

Just because they're ignorant, doesn't make them bad people.

Posted by: Bob V | July 2, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

detroiter,
you're for vanadalism? why stop there? why not torch someones house if we see that they don't recycle. how about 40 lashes for people who dont ride the bus?

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

luvmytoyota,
i think that's great that your family was able to live a great life back in the day. you know, there werent any seatbelts back then either, perhaps we should go back to that? no cell phones either, should we toss those. fact is, times change and techonology changes which makes new things possible. not only that, but laws change too. i remember cramming into the back of my moms subcompact datsun and nobody gave it a second thought. these days, if i wanted to take 4 kids under the age of 8 in a four door sedan i couldn't because they all have to ride in the back and require seat belts. i suppose i should disregard the law (any my kids safety) just to save a few gallons of gas? sure.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Detroit and I have no sympathy for either the industry or the egomaniacs driving the earth killing monsters. I celebrated when the masked men demolished the kids Hummer in Tenleytown. You people are a large part of the reason we are in Iraq and are threatening Iran.

Make gas $10 a gallon! We'll finally be forced to invest in solar, battery R & D, hydrogen infrastructure and mass transit, rather than building HOT lanes, the ICC, and leasing out our toll roads to foreign countries.

Posted by: Detroiter | July 2, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

amazing comments. first off trading in your SUV for something more fuel efficient and losing $8K in value or actual loss, means you don't know economics. Like buying any hybrid small car versus a gas powered honda civic, the payback takes a long time if ever. You all will be crying when the cost of small new cars goes through the roof, because all manufacturers have been subsidizing small car prices with the profits from SUVs and trucks to maintain the gas mileage standards. Lastly, ever try to put 6 people in any sedan lately, or 5 people in a prius with car seats, it doesn't work. Also, when the snow blizzard hits and doctors/nurses/patients have to get to work, it is the volunteers with SUVs who make that happen, not the prius driver. Bottom line I am more worried about small sedans zipping in and out of lanes in traffic at high speed, then I am about SUV drivers. I bought and transported 160 bags of mulch in one day, don't think you could do that in a VW beetle.

Posted by: SUVsarenottheproblem | July 2, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

the beauty of this conversation is that it means nothing. i'm going to continue to drive my SUV and there's nothing the rest of you can do about it. you can continue to curse out SUV drivers but i suggest you put your anger to better use. there are much bigger problems in this world than SUVs. much.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Nobody "needs" an SUV. There was no such thing as an SUV for many, many, years and drivers got along very well without them. My parents raised 6 kids in the suburbs without ANY car for several years. Imagine that! And guess what? We did quite well!! We walked to town for food and entertainment and knew all our neighbors. It was frankly, a better, friendler and more caring time. Don't tell me if you have 5 kids you need an oversized monster to truck them around! Total, spoiled nonsense!! The SUV was just another marketing gimmick used successfully by car manufacurers to satisify the increasingly piggy American driver during the era of cheap gas. The pity is that this will be a hard fall for some, but for the many spoiled suburbanites who drove the SUV as a status symbol, the ending SUV era is a necessary return to reality.

Posted by: luvmytoyota | July 2, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Another quote from High and Mighty book:
"Bradsher quotes auto execs who concede that the self-centered lifestyle of SUV buyers is apparent in "their willingness to endanger other motorists so as to achieve small improvements in their personal safety."

Posted by: albagirl | July 2, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@LuvSuv
I'm Contemptuous, not envious, of your myopia. I'm *using* gas; every pseudo-stylish dimbulb using a 3-ton vehicle for a solo commute is *wasting* gas.
I'm subsidizing your ignorance, which I suppose is the American way, but it's great fun to watch you take a loss on it too.
>>"important issues, not what's in my garage."
Perrrfect. Because what you do with finite resources that are secured by blood and fortune is, um, not important, right?

Posted by: Tanks4thememories | July 2, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Kenny of 11:55 - the feeling is mutual.

We need a Post article about out of control bicycle riders. I'm terrified that one day I'm not going to see them when they fly through stop signs/lights, and bounce off the front end of my truck. Oh, the humanity!

xoxo,
Big Mean Truck Driver

Posted by: KennethLover | July 2, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Again, it is truly troubling that people take pleasure in the "dying breed - the SUV driver". There are people out there who actually need SUVs. What about them? I have relatives who live in rural areas and rely the function of the SUV for their income. Instead of casting hatred why not focus offering solutions. As for the argument about the size of SUVs, shall we eliminate, mini-vans, vans, school buses, mass transit buses, trucks, etc. The road is a public venue for all to use. Until those vehicles (large and small) are deemed illegal to drive, the use of that argument is weak.

Posted by: bamsmba | July 2, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Also to those who claim safety is the main reason for buying an SUV, they might want to consider this statistic from High and Mighty By Keith Bradsher:
The occupant death rate in SUVs is 6 percent higher than it is for cars--8 percent higher in the largest SUVs.

Posted by: albagirl | July 2, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Some suggest that SUVs aren't so bad because of other cars that are too.

Take a given technology and put it in an SUV and in a modest sized car. The SUV will lose by a large margin.

A Ferrari uses an outrageous amount of gas just to make the driver feel important. However, I don't find myself surrounded by them when driving. Let's face it, popularity and car manufacturer greed stoking that popularity have created a highly visible (and quite predictable) problem.

Lots of people must have trucks and use them as trucks frequently. That's fine.

For the rare truck use, rent one. I once hauled 1/2 ton of bricks in a VW beetle. You can be creative too.

For the few who were sucked into buying an SUV by low monthly payments and no money down, too bad that you were so foolish.

For the rest who can afford the car and the upcoming $150 fill-ups, when will you grow up and realize that you shouldn't do something just because you can. You don't live on an island. You have nearly 300,000,000 neighbors in this country alone who are affected by your personal decisions. Try being just a bit logical when you make them.

If we could replace every SUV on the road with a standard car, the amount of oil imported would drop significantly, and our economy would benefit. We can't unring the bell, but we can make better decisions in the future.

Posted by: Harry, Los Angeles | July 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

SUV drivers taking the heat?

Two words to that:

Who cares?

Posted by: Andy | July 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh .... How good it is. The last gasps of a dying breed - the SUV driver. They will do down frothing at the mouth and hurling curses at the rest of us but they will go down. With manufacturers shutting down production lines it will be increasingly expensive to repair these overbuilt monsters, let alone replace them. They can join all the other has been cars in junkyard lots - the sooner the better.

Posted by: luvmytoyota | July 2, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

more from High and Mighty
"According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

Posted by: albagirl | July 2, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments in that story confirm to me that the environmental movement is really about telling your neighbor what they can or cannot do. Environmentalists are rushing not to save the environment, but to take a position of power in which they get to decide what is and is not allowed. Add to this the religious fervor that some have and it's time to start worrying about some of these people and the future of freedom.

Posted by: Bob | July 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The car manufacturers marketed the SUVs to appeal to quote "the reptilian part of our brain". Read High and Mighty by Keith Bradsher A more in depth look at the history of SUV and the people likely to drive them.
From the wikipedia entry on the book,
"it notes that the SUV is the car of choice for many of the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the less gracious its owner is likely to be"

Posted by: albagirl | July 2, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Another tragedy of the commons moment for the good ol' USofA.

SUVs have several problems and some upside. Reminds me of snowmobiles, a great work vehicle in really snowy areas but a silly recreational vehicle.

1. SUVs use too much gas for one person to commute or to get groceries in. Some owners can afford $100 fill-ups and thumb their noses at the rest of us. Excessive use of fuel hurts us all, however, in many ways. Their selfishness should not be allowed to create so much harm. Still, that's the American capitalist, free-enterprise way.

2. SUVs block the views of standard car drivers making the roads less safe. Sure, trucks do the same thing, but they aren't nearly every other car on the road. It's worst when pulling out of a side street with SUVs parked at the corner so that you cannot see oncoming traffic. Could we not ban SUVs from parking at corner parking spots?

3. SUVs use much more material in construction. The recycling problems of this extra material are not reflected in their costs.

Note that larger families used to use station wagons, a slightly larger form of a standard car. Then came minivans. SUVs were supposedly created for off-road driving. Hah!

For those who really must go off-road often, the SUV provides a more comfortable means to do so. For the rest of you, it's just a way of showing off and feeling important. Let me inform you about a very simple fact. Material possessions don't make you important. I am sorry that your egos require this bolstering but am more sorry about the havoc that your lemming-like behavior has wreaked on the rest of us.

Posted by: Harry, Los Angeles | July 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's the people driving the packages of gum with four wheels who need someone else to help them out whenever they need to move somthing bigger than a bag of groceries.

Yeah, I'm happy with my truck and I don't give a f*ck. If the difference in the ice caps melting is the 15 mpg that I get, well, surf's up! I just wish it were a lot older so I could snap up the great deals on the new ones. Heck, I might buy one just to tow it around behinf mine and use even more gas and more road.

Posted by: Stick | July 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered gas consumed versus miles per gallon? I would rather have the scenario where someone owns an SUV (e.g. Jeep 19mpg) and typically drives 75 miles per week (3.9 gal of fuel per week) instead of the scenario where someone owns a highly fuel efficient car (e.g. Prius 48mpg) and drives 300 miles per week (6.2 gal of fuel per week). Why are people making general statements about a class of automobiles? Are people saying that all non-SUVs are fuel efficient? That is hardly the case.
Reference: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/FEG/bestworst.shtml
I am not a driver of an SUV nor do I endorse them. I do find it troubling to make such sweeping statements when they simply are not true.

Posted by: bamsmba | July 2, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

It's so peculiar how those on the left side of the political spectrum (not that liberals have exclusive rights on environmental issues) preach tolerance for other viewpoints, right up to the point that someone disagrees with them. Am I the only one who's noticed that?

Posted by: And how! | July 2, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

saucy, really? a few folks who are upside down on their car loans are causing the decline in the middle class. first of all, who says those people are in the middle class? second, people upside down on cars is nothing new. happens all the time. this time it's because SUV values have declined.

and how do you know that all the SUVs out there are needless and wasteful? do you follow people around on weekends to see what they do? some surely are useless, but so are cars w/ 200+ horsepower. in fact, i would argue six-ten cylander, 200+ horsepower cars are more useless given that there are speedlimits and really no legal need to drive over 65 MPH or go 0-60 in 5 seconds. but i'm not about to suggest that they are leading to the decline in the middle class or tell them they cant have them.

gasmonkey, i could have paid cash for my SUV, but made a financial decision to lease. turns out i made the right bet.

luvmytoyota - bullies? i think you've just proven my point. there's some sort of inate jealousy and fear of SUV drivers. you need to stay in your safe house lest all of us bully SUV drivers run you over.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

This is such a ridiculous thread. Of course, I never realized there were so many people who hate SUV's out there. I think some of the people posting here believe a SUV to be any vehicle bigger than theirs that also gets less MPG. As for me, I drive a Suburban and it's as big as they come. High gas prices suck but I can afford them and it's the only vehicle with the space I require. I have five kids and while we don't always ride it in together, it does fit us all when we do. Or would the lil' car people suggest I somehow drive two cars, using twice as much gas, requiring twice the maintenance? I'm sorry that people who drive lil' cars don't like my Suburban, but I like it -- that's why I bought it. Maybe you folks should stop worrying so much about other people's cars and worry about yourselves. It seems some of you could use some attention -- or therapy.

Posted by: And how! | July 2, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So if you drive a hybrid SUV - regardless of size, that makes you what, exactly? And if you drive a cross-over SUV that gets the same or better as say, a Subaru outback, then you're what? And if that cross-over SUV gets more MPG than a late model Pontiac sedan?

Why the hate, y'all? And who are you hatin' on? The driver of that Chevy Subburban, or the driver of that Honda CR-V?

BTW - didn't the federal government help spur this "problem" by offering big tax breaks a few years ago on these vehicles?

Posted by: Don'tGetIt | July 2, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"They can die for all I care."

You think there are some who don't. Good luck.

ALSO:

"i'm sure all of you folks who complain about SUV's drive.."

I drive a Mazda. But I did spend under $15 a month on gasoline since I live next to a Metro stop. Perhaps it will go up - to $28 as month. I can afford that.

Posted by: Gary E Masters | July 2, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Why do these defensive SUV drivers think that others envy them? Get over yourself. Just because I choose not to drive an SUV does not mean I cannot afford one. Particularly the folks who leased their SUV! I guess that means you can't afford one either, eh?

We all aren't raised to buy everything we can afford, nor do we all like to demonstrate our wealth to the world. Obviously, some people do need an SUV. Most people do not, though. A minivan carries more, is safer, and more fuel efficient. Many SUV owners bought them because it was the "in" thing to do. Almost every SUV I see contains one person - the driver. Often it is a woman, whose largest payload is her golf bag on weekends. Does anybody really need a Cadillac SUV? Come on; defend that one.

Like every other style, eventually it will be the "out" thing to do. The real pity is that like most style trends, it will work its way down to the poor. Like discarded "designer jeans" and cassette WalkMen at the Goodwill store. When SUVs are the cheapest cars on the used car lots, the poor end up buying them because that's what they can afford. See who crows about SUV envy then.

No, I don't drive a Prius either. But the marketplace is chock full of 30+ mpg cars that are not hybrids, and they are generally safer than SUVs too.

Posted by: Gasmonkey | July 2, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The dinosaur against the mammal? or the quick against the large?

"And when you're daydreaming about your gas mileage and get into a collision with an SUV, guess who's going to fare better?"

Got to hit them first, and many smaller cars are very agile. How about your great SUV and an 18 wheeler? There is no end to that race.

Posted by: Gary E Masters | July 2, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

But George Will told us that the SUV was "unfairly safe."

Posted by: Gary E Masters | July 2, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@ LuvMySuv:

Sure thing. Part of the middle-class/SUV connection is in the article itself:

"For those determined to swap their fuel-thirsty behemoths for gas-sipping subcompacts, the glut increasingly means taking a financial hit. In the worst cases, declining SUV values leave owners owing more money to the bank than their vehicle is worth."

I have several coworkers who are now taking severe financial hits due to their SUV ownership. I agree that it wasn't a problem until gas prices rose, and I agree that wealthier people still aren't affected. Right now, however, SUV ownership is a significant downward pull on those middle-class people who own one. Further, gas-guzzlers by definition go through lots of oil, raising gas prices and overall inflation for everyone. SUVs are hardly the cause of the decline of the middle class--that would be the separation of wages and productivity that has occurred over the last 30 years, along with some terrible tax structures--but they are presently contributing.

I'm not among the people laughing at truck owners. Lots of farmers and construction workers, for starters, legitimately need those vehicles. Suburban SUVs, however, are in a different category, since they are generally unneeded, wasteful, and now are hurting their owners. You're of course correct that politicians and oil companies are the prime culprits, but lots of Americans have been aiding, abetting, and benefiting too.

As for the solar panels, please don't assume that I a) own my home and b) live in a single-family structure. I've been trying to convince my landlord to make energy-conscious improvements for some time. In any case, I don't believe that one has to be perfect on an issue; the only way we're ever going to make progress on energy is incrementally. If some people aren't able to or cannot afford solar panels, they should still be able to support non-SUV forms of transportation.

Posted by: saucy sauce | July 2, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I think all those SUV lovers who are trying to dump them should be forced to keep driving and maintaining their vehicles. When their gas guzzling road hogs have completely bankrupted them the rest of us will finally have the bullies off the road. Good riddance.

Posted by: luvmytoyota | July 2, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Have fun in your Prius! And when you're daydreaming about your gas mileage and get into a collision with an SUV, guess who's going to fare better?

Enjoy having your Prius totalled!

Posted by: Duh | July 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

PPS Laced, of course, with a liberal (no pun intended) dose of hatred/envy towards those who are wealthier, since wealth, evidently, is always the result of avarice, never of studying, hard work and being a productive member of society.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I have known so many families over the years who have their first tiny infant and think they MUST have a gas guzzling, road hogging, view obscuring vehicle to carry the little bundle around. I managed to raise two children in school, sports requiring bags of gear, carpools, and moves to college and never drove a vehicle bigger than a 4-door car. I managed just fine and now try to park THAT car as much as possible. I would not be sorry to see SUVs gone from our already crowded and wreckless Northern Virginia roadways.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

As usual, liberals are convinced you don't really know you are doing and need to be saved from yourself through taxes and regulation. Except the poor, who would do noble deeds if only offered enough opportunity and welfare checks. Nothing to see here, move on.

PS Anytime you want to imagine the typical liberal response to anything, just imagine what Martin O'Malley would do. There's your answer!

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 2, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I hate SUV drivers, most are ignorant people.

They can die for all I care.

Posted by: Kenneth | July 2, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's no wonder that this country is falling apart. But it has nothing to do with gas or SUVs. It has to do with the venom and anger that people spew over something as silly as SUV prices. Just read a handful of the comments listed her and see how much hate and anger there is. People are actually happy and seem joyful at other peoples suffering and curse SUV owners...it is just sad. Plus, I guarantee someone will respond to my post with even more hatred and anger...just wait an see.

Posted by: banking51 | July 2, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

saucy, please explain the connection between my SUV and the decline in the middle class. keep in mind, SUVs have been around quite awhile, as have large sedans with low MPG. all of a sudden gas prices go up and it's all the SUV's fault? really? such a convenient excuse to blame SUVs for all the worlds ills. dont look at politicians or corporations or oil speculators? thats no fun when you can curse the guy driving next to you.

how those solar panels on your house working?

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I can only say that while I do have an SUV, the mileage is on par with the Wagon I traded in for it last year.

However, because of the child safety regulations, if I want to take more than two kids to school, camp or an event, I am required to have this kind of car, with a third row, to take up to 6 kids.

So, in total, by having this beast, but only driving it 2-3 times a week, I am pulling other cars which would have been doing the exact same route, off the road.

I know this isn't everyone, but on the other hand, not everyone is simply tootling around in their gas-guzzler.

Posted by: A Driver | July 2, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

hey Hate, i dont curse gas prices and i dont know any SUV owners who do. you wish we were so somehow it could make you feel better. most SUV driver i know realized when they bought the car that they would be paying more to run the cars due to lower MPGs. in my case, the tradeoff on MPG was worth it due to the utility of the vehicle. i'd like $1/gallon gas as much as the next guy, but i'm not going to go broke filling my tank now.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

@ LuvMySuv:

That's right, feel the selfishness! Embrace it! Ignore any wider impacts your actions may have--it's your right!

You're correct that there are more important issues out there--global warming, the war on terror, the decline of the middle class--but it's interesting that this relatively minor topic touches on so many of them. It's the connection to those problems that makes the impending death of SUVs something to celebrate.

Posted by: saucy sauce | July 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

love the depreciation, especially since i leased it 2 years ago. the depreciation will be the leasing company's problem next year.

patd - i got news for you, the SUV days are not over. prices will come down and people will buy them. i know i will because i need the space that my SUV provides. congratulations on overpaying for your prius. you will never recoup the premium you paid no matter how many MPG's you save even with $5/gallon. you really want a rule about where i can park my SUV? think about how stupid you sound.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I drive a Prius, thank you very much! On a recent trip, I averaged 56.8 MPG. I hate SUV hogs, and am delighted that their day may be over. I have two requirements for future SUVs:

1. They should only come with a standard transmission. This should cut down the number of soccer moms and 18 year olds driving them.
2. They should be required to park at the far end of any parking lot.

If somebody is stupid enough to pay a premium for them and then want to stuff $90 bucks into the gas tanks on a regular basis, so be it!

Posted by: patd | July 2, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

How do you like your depreciation now? I drive a Honda Civic getting 40 miles a gallon with normal driving, and I laugh at all the single-occupant big SUVs driving around the city while their owners are cursing gas prices. I sure don't need a land boat that can tow a small building. I'm also sure 90% of the people I see driving one don't need one either and only got one because it's "cool", they "didn't want to get a minivan", or because they're compensating for inadequate body parts.

Anybody else see the parallel to the subprime lending crisis? Anyone with a brain could see this coming years away, but sadly, millions of the American public seem to be lacking one... think ahead, plan for the future, and don't consume more than you can afford!

Congratulations on your SUV, I'm glad you love it, because no one else wants to buy it from you!

Posted by: HateYourSUV | July 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This might not be something to increase your mileage but it will certainly put some money back in your pocket if you have a business. IRS just increased the mileage deduction rate from 50.5 to 58.5 cents for every mile. There is an exciting business tool that captures your mileage automatically (hands free) and sends this information through wireless networks to http://www.MileageLogger.com . I think is a great tool to get your money back when is time to do your taxes.

Posted by: mileageblogger | July 2, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

i'm sure all of you folks who complain about SUV's drive electric cars and heat your homes with solar panels. i'm also sure you take public transportation every chance you get. i'm sure your cars are also really well maintained so that they maximize fuel economy. yeah, i thought so.

get over your big car envy and worry about yourself and not what i drive. you dont know why i drive my SUV or how i drive it. if you cant handle yourself in a parking lot, stay home.

and nobody is dying in iraq or starving because of my suv. last i checked, any oil coming out of the middle east doesnt just go to SUV tanks, it goes into everyone's tank.

the anti-SUV whiners need to move on and focus on more important issues, not what's in my garage.

Posted by: LuvMySUV | July 2, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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