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This is a funny, yet VERY TRUE article of how people are buying SUVs like crazy...yet they dont use them for their initial purposes and they have become a menace to society! Enjoy <img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle>

The SUV Fad: A public menace
By A.J. Nomai

Usually, fads are just a fleeting, harmless fancy, flowing through the American conscious like the distant smell of rotting fruit wafting with a summer breeze. Taking the form of a musical group, a haircut, or even a certain brand of sneaker, these fads usually don’t become life threatening or much of an economic burden on an already debt laden culture. Not until now, that is.

The new fad, all the rage among yuppies, suburban families and seemingly testosterone unbalanced males, is the sport utility vehicle (SUV) as everyday commuting machine. Not only is the SUV a public menace, it’s true purpose has been abducted and distorted by Madison Avenue. And those who embrace this new transportation fad are so caught up in it, they throw away all common sense and reason in order to be part of a trend.

The problem:

• SUVs get horrible gas mileage and, as a result, needlessly spew extra tons of pollutants, greenhouse gasses and carcinogens into the air while increasing our dependence on a nonrenewable resource.

• SUVs are unsafe automobiles, dangerous for the owner, but mostly for other drivers on the road.

• Owners aren’t using SUV’s for their intended purpose: it’s current use is more for image enhancement than utility.

• Those who buy SUVs are getting ripped off big time. And, overall, they are an unwise purchasing decision.

Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the SUV fad is the commentary on American society displayed through the car culture. Those who drive SUVs are needlessly killing those who choose to drive economical and sensible automobiles. What more disturbing is the selfishness SUV owners display to justify those deaths.

A LUNG FULL OF SMOG, ANYONE?

In 1975 congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in response to America’s growing demand for an unstable energy source: foreign oil. As part of the act, congress established corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE).

These standards are an average standard, meaning vehicles falling below this standard can be built as long as vehicles exceeding the standard are also built. Currently, CAFE standards require an average 27.5 miles per gallon (MPG) for cars, and 20.7 MPG for light trucks (SUVs fall in this category).

But auto manufactuers are breaking the law and not reaching these standards, mainly because they refuse to build SUVs with better MPG performance.

CAFE has helped save consumers millions by prodding auto makers to build cars that go further on a gallon of gas. It is possible to buy a car that will get 450 miles on one tank of gas costing $10 to fill. CAFE standards have also helped clean the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by lowering the amount of gasoline burned by automobiles.

But as with any regulation that saves consumers money or helps the environment to any degree, CAFE has it’s critics. Washington Times writer Eric Peters is one such critic. With all the mastery of a corporate spin artist, Peters blames CAFE standards for unsafe “tin can, ‘downsized’ economy cars.” And suggests that fuel efficiency standards be “eliminated” so auto makers can “build cars to suit the needs of the marketplace.” He means SUVs.

He concludes by saying, “Is burning a little more gas – of which we’ve got plenty, by the way – worth a few thousand lives saved every year?” Peters demonstrates that he lives in a make believe, magical world where burning more gas saves lives, doesn’t increase pollution and doesn’t cost more money; it is an action with no consequences.

And he never acknowledges the fact that the vehicles he defends as safe are the vehicles making the roads increasingly unsafe in the first place.

WHO’S SAFE?

Consider the case of Albert and Marianne Hassan. The Hassan’s were on their way to pick up their son when a Chevy Suburban slammed into the side of their Chrysler Concord. The high front end of the Suburban struck Albert in the chest, killing him almost instantly. The force of the 5,000 pound Suburban threw the Concord 50 feet, until the passenger side slammed into a tree, blinding and critically injuring Marianne.

The driver of the Suburban was not injured.

While this accident would be used by some as evidence of SUV safety, it is exactly these types of accidents that are making the roads increasingly unsafe. And the defense of those who own those dangerous SUVs are very unsettling.

The most common defense is the “free market” defense; people should be able to buy what they want, et cetera. Another defense is to put the blame on the person driving the smaller vehicle, i.e. “If they drove a bigger car they might have survived.” (Peters would say this.)

Those two arguments are very easy to dismiss. First of all, there is no such thing as a “free market” or “free enterprise.” If it’s not the government influencing markets, corporations do it on their own with advertising and other forms of market manipulation, like price fixing.

Perhaps the defense that really sums up the SUV mentality is the “if they drove a bigger car” defense. There shouldn’t be a death sentence for choosing to drive an economical automobile.

In a perfect example of corporate spin that Peters would envy, “auto officials” told New York Times writer Keith Bradsher that “the shift to [SUVs] might actually be saving lives over all.”

Of course, there is no evidence to back this up. But there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that SUV’s are killing others on the road at ever increasing numbers:

• Last year 5,447 people were killed in crashes involving a car and an SUV, that’s over 1000 more deaths than in crashes involving two cars. This is despite the fact that car-to-car accidents are more common than car-to-SUV accidents AND there are twice as many cars than SUV’s on the road.

• What about cyclists or pedestrians? CNN reported that because of their weaker brakes and lack of maneuverability, sport utility vehicles account for an unusually large share of pedestrian deaths.

• For every person who dies in an SUV that collides with a car, four people die in cars hit by SUVs.

SELLING A FANTASY

There is a false illusion of the safety provided by the SUV. And there are more reasons to NOT purchase an SUV than there are to buy one.

• SUVs are not built to avoid accidents. Because federal safety standards for light trucks are lower than for cars, accident avoidance in an SUV is more difficult. For one, the SUV’s high center of gravity makes it more likely to roll over when trying to avoid an accident. Insurance industry statistics show that people in all but the heaviest SUV’s have higher death rates in single-vehicle accidents, mostly as a result of roll over accidents.

Also, at a conference on SUV safety in December of last year, a brake engineer said that brakes on SUVs are inferior to those in cars. Add inferior brakes to the SUV’s need for more stopping distance, and you have a recipe for disaster.

• SUVs don’t have the same crash test requirements as cars. As a result they are not required to have safety features like airbags, side impact beams, and impact absorbing bumpers. The latter of which is helping to make impacts with smaller cars even more destructive and deadly.

• SUVs are a rip off. Suv.com, a web site devoted to the SUV consumer culture, reported that each Ford Expedition sold delivers an estimated $10,000 profit. J.D. Power and Associates estimated that SUVs make up 15 percent of automobile sales, while yielding 60 percent of industry profits.

• Safe cars exist on the market. There are many vehicles offered by auto manufacturers that are as safe as SUVs. Some are even safer than SUVs.

• Higher insurance rates. Because of the safety reasons mentioned above, and as more SUVs cause more damage, insurers want the autos inflicting more damage (SUVs) to pay accordingly. The result: higher insurance rates for SUV owners.

The selling point for the SUV is the illusion of freedom advertisers give potential owners. In these advertisements, SUVs are seen plowing through mud or snow, hauling a horse trailer or boat, digging up dirt roads and overlooking vast canyons and valleys from remote locations. In reality, SUVs are overwhelmingly used to sit in traffic on the way to work, haul groceries and perform daily chores.

What must be driving the popularity of SUVs is the status that owning an SUV is suppose to provide. After all, SUVs have always been widely, although incorrectly, considered safer, so that doesn’t account for the sudden boom in sales. And if there’s one thing marketers know, it’s that advertising moves merchandise. The spate of advertising, with SUVs as bigger, tougher, status enhancing freedom machines, has had some role in pushing SUVs into record sales territory.

UTILITY OR FUTILITY?

A recent Izuzu ad opens in the country, with the view of a home surrounded by lush, green meadows nestled beneath tall, rocky mountains. The dirt road leading up to the home terminates at the side of a house. There sits a glimmering symbol of power and freedom: A highly polished Izuzu Rodeo with tires that look like they’ve never been off the showroom floor, much less on a dirt road.

A conversation between a couple is overheard. A woman wants to go on an adventure in the new vehicle. A man tries to persuade her otherwise. In the true spirit of feminist freedom (no doubt an influence of the vehicle), she decides to do what she wants. Off she goes in her Rodeo, down a dirt road that even a Honda Civic could handle until she’s reached her destination: THE CITY!

No doubt she kicks her Rodeo into four wheel drive to get safely over the speed bumps in the mall parking structure.

Sure it’s “just an ad,” but it also illustrates what has become of the SUV. Once used almost exclusively to haul, tow, race or take off-road, the SUV is now overwhelmingly used to go to work, the mall or otherwise tool around town. An internal auto industry memo noted that only 13 percent of those who own SUV’s use them for their original design specifications: Sport – Utility.

(While that fact beautifully illustrates the point, it’s not all bad. It’s painful to imagine the number of empty Budweiser cans that would litter once pristine wilderness if 50 percent of SUV owners went off-road.)

Yet going off-road, driving up a mountain or overlooking a remote valley, is how SUVs are advertised. People like the safety features intended to protect occupants from rollovers that might occur while climbing over some large, natural obstacle. But now drivers are flipping SUVs over on city freeways and streets in record numbers. The problem is so pronounced, the government wants labels put on the doors of SUVs, warning drivers that roll over is a serious risk.

Naturally, the auto industry is wary of this new proposal, just as they were with seat belts. But as seat belts made the roads safer, all that may be in vain. Regardless of the rollover rate, the overwhelming mantra of the SUV owner is “safety” while SUVs are the vehicles making roads increasingly unsafe.

WHEN IS TOO MUCH ENOUGH?

The SUV culture is a very good example of rampant greed and selfishness in our society. On the one hand, greedy corporations are popularizing vehicles that aggravate an already bad pollution problem, as well as make the roads unsafe for the millions of Americans who choose to drive economical automobiles.

On the other hand, consumers are showing a great deal of selfishness by purchasing vehicles that are life threatening to their fellow citizens. They also show a great lack of respect for others on the road (see “SUVs, unsafe at any height” pg. 3), not to mention the environment and the world’s limited supply of oil.

We’ve already seen one war waged over the control of oil reserves. Since 1991, all Americans lives lost in the middle east (need I remind anyone of the bombing of the American barracks in Saudi Arabia) are a result of trying to satisfy our ever increasing dependency on oil. Are we so brainwashed by Madison Avenue and Wall Street that we will be willing to start wars to drive our big cars?

And what will happen when easily accessible oil supplies dry up? Will we destroy the pristine wilderness of Alaska so we can drive our V-8, 2500 horse power machines to the mall? Will we drill in the fragile ecosystems of the California coast, thrust sea creatures into extinction and destroy miles of spectacular coastline so we can sit in an air conditioned, 17 foot long truck in bumper to bumper traffic?

Or will we make use of technology that already allows us to stretch out our limited supply of fossil fuels while we perfect alternative energy automobiles?

If there is one constant of the consumption culture it is that it sacrifices the future for instant, personal gratification. The destruction wrought by SUVs illustrate how we’re living in a “look out for number one,” society where “**** the future, I want it now” is the unspoken creed. That type of lifestyle can only lead to an unsustainable society that is on it’s way to ruin.

© 1997 Free Heretic Publications, San Diego, Ca


I eat Honda Civics for breakfast, Toyota Corollas for lunch, and Volkswagen Jettas for dinner
 

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wow that was a long post


2001 Tiburon
Black with Blacked out windows
Alpine cd player
More mods to come slowly
 

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You even know how to read? Hehhehe... <img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_blackeye.gif border=0 align=middle>

JGraham9382
2001 Alpine White Tiburon

<img src="http://www.wtfisup.com/tiburon/images/tibsig.jpg"" border=0>

http://www.wtfisup.com/tiburon/
Sign my damn guestbook...hehe :D
...As hip as a fat chick...
 

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I've taken to driving in the day with the headlights on now, just so dumbass SUV drivers can see me coming. I mean, how hard canit be to not see a school-bus yellow Scoupe? Well, from personal experience, it must be very easy. I have lost count of the number of times SUV's have pulled out in front of me, almost run me off the interstate by changing lanes without looking, or rear-ended me in traffic because their 6000lb behemoth can't stop worth a damn.

And another thing. Why is it when I park in a lot with a billion vacant spaces, do I <b>always</b> come back to find the biggest, ugliest SUV's parked all around me? Is it some kind of ego-boosting crap... "lets park around the small car to show how big and important we are."<img src=icon_smile_angry.gif border=0 align=middle> And just what purpose does that fugly Chevvy "Avalanche" serve, apart from to crush small cars before it? I mean, the hood of that machine is higher than the roofline on my stock ride height Scoupe. If someone wants to drive a big truck, they should go get a Kenworth.<img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle>

Useless factoid time... In the UK, <b>every</b> SUV is sold as a 4x4, from the tiniest Suzuki SJ (Sidekick) to the biggest Grand Cherokee. Doesn't mean they are used off-road, but at least they all come ready for some boondock-bashing.<img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle>
 

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I recently got a SUV (2k1 Grand Cherokee) mainly to protect my family from other SUVs. It's not my personal choice but I felt I had to because of this fad. Just imagine... if they were in a compact or mid-size car and a hulking SUV hits them at 40 mph... they'd be crushed!

Better be safe than sorry!
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
i refuse to read that.<img src=icon_smile_angry.gif border=0 align=middle>
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=1 id=quote>
Heh, me too <img src=icon_smile_sleepy.gif border=0 align=middle>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Acid burn and melvyn. I appreciate you guys taking the time out to read it. I will give my two cents on this topic. SUVS like the Jeep Cherokee/Grand cherokee, Ford explorer, GMC Jimmy....those arent' the problem. Those are the minivan alternatives...a very good alternative I might add. They are a bit bigger, but not huge. then can fit in parking spaces and dont take up 2 lanes. Its the Ford expeditions, ford excursions, chevy suburbans and anything of that size...and the new toyota sequoia. Thats the problem and shouldnt be aloud on the road.

For the rest of you, I ll find the link and you can read it in bigger text and it won't be as mind boggling to read <img src=icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle>

I eat Honda Civics for breakfast, Toyota Corollas for lunch, and Volkswagen Jettas for dinner
 

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Heh, j/k I did read it, it was just a really long post. <img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle>
 

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Good article. I hate suv's. I drove my brothers explorer the other day when I was moving to my new apartment (using it for a purpose) and it's easy to understand the way people drive them after driving it. Compared to my car it takes so long to stop. You can feel the weight of it wanting to keep the momentum going. The steering is so over powered that there is no feedback from the road at all! No wonder they seem to wonder all over the lanes. Seeing out of it is challenging (looking out the back and sides) I felt sorry for all the cars around me while driving it and tried to be extra cautious when making lane changes. I slowed down to make the turn into my old neighborhood at what would be a snails pace in my car and my sister in law riding with me freaked out, and was like 'this isn't your little car you can't make turns that fast in this'(I thought I was going slow) I would hate to ever have to pull an emergency move on the highway in this thing. You would have to just hit the breaks and close your eyes. You would have to spend weeks cleaning the **** out of my pants if I had to do a high speed swerve to avoid something.

JustinL

'98 Black Hyundai Tiburon FX
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