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[P]
Another casualty to the new arms race: SUVs in America

By zenofchai in Culture
Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:20:25 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

A good friend of mine was recently involved in a fairly nasty accident while driving along a highway in her Honda Accord. She was struck from behind by an SUV, spinning her out of control, leaving her car lying horizontal in traffic. She was hit again by a pickup truck, throwing her car into the median. Moments later, a small convertible hit the pickup as it careened out of control across the road.

She escaped serious injury, as luckily did everyone else involved in the accident. But something changed in my friend that day, she was afraid to get back behind the wheel of a car and go back onto the road. Afraid, until she joined the new "Arms Race": SUVs in America.


My friend now drives a 3755-lb SUV, and finally feels comfortable enough to drive on the highway again. I'm very happy for her, but this is just the latest example of a growing phenomenon of ordinary drivers upsizing to an SUV to protect themselves from other SUVs. Of course, this defies the logic that if no one were driving SUVs, you wouldn't need an SUV to feel safe. This is an often opined parallel to the nuclear arms race, in which neither side really needed nuclear weapons in and of themselves, but each needed them to protect them from the other. But, unlike the arms race, there appears to be no end in sight.

The 2002 Ford Excursion, as was pointed out to me weighs in at a whopping 7700 lbs. Ditto for the Cadillac "Escalade". This brings me to the names of SUVs: Avalanche. Yukon. These names set out to promote the image of massive, towering power and indestructibility. And damn the consequences.

SUVs are the fastest-growing segment of automobiles. More than half of all new vehicle sales in the US are SUVs. And the most popular is, you guessed it, the 7700-lb. Excursion, with its 10 mpg city, 15 mpg highway efficiency. The rich can afford this excess, and the poor are left to drive cast-off 1992 Camrys.

But why shouldn't the rich buy every bit of safety they can afford? After all, the majority of fatalities in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions goes against the car driver, in favor of the SUV which has struck them. A car driver who is involved in a side-impact with an SUV is 27 times more likely to die than if it had been another car.

I'll be the first to say that everything here has been said before, and hashed and re-hashed. What I'm trying to figure out, is how does the k5 community feel about this mess we're getting ourselves in on America's roads? Do you fix it by enforcing a standard bumper height? By restricting SUV sales through taxation or fuel emissions standards? Do you just let it go, and let might make right, let the rich drive over the poor and on toward their beach house?

Because this is ultimately a self-feeding cycle of one-upsmanship. Two tons. Three tons. Now we have four ton SUVs. When we cross, no, make that shatter the 5-ton mark, what then about the safety of the family of 4 driving along in their Corolla? What then about the 50 gallons of gasoline they burn driving 500 miles?

In the end, I'm afraid to tell my friend that this is a battle that she will ultimately lose. She is, after all, still outweighed by just about 2 tons. And let's not talk about me down here in my little 5 speed. I've got airbags, I've got crumple zones. But when an SUV bumper comes through the window and crashes into my head, well, airbag, crumple zone, or not. That, as they say, will be that. It won't matter that to drive the same 500 miles I only burn 12 gallons. I'll be the next casualty in this, the new arms race: SUVs in America.

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Poll
What to do about SUVs?
o Outlaw them except for forest rangers 19%
o Tough emissions and fuel efficiency standards 30%
o Enforce bumper height standards 10%
o Special license for all vehicles over 2 tons 26%
o Let the drivers fight it out on the road MK-style 9%
o Huh!? 3%

Votes: 344
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o often opined
o pointed out to me
o SUVs are the fastest-growing segment
o the majority of fatalities in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions
o Also by zenofchai


Display: Sort:
Another casualty to the new arms race: SUVs in America | 874 comments (855 topical, 19 editorial, 1 hidden)
Don't some bridges have axle weight limits? (4.00 / 11) (#5)
by Xeriar on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:39:27 PM EST

At 6,000 pounds or so?

Literally, these things also wreck the roads and bridges they drive on. Anything over two tons is too much for many roads to take regularly, this trend simply cannot continue with the government's blessing.

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.

Big rigs are larger (4.50 / 2) (#160)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:33:37 PM EST

C'mon, most roads can take big rigs regularly and they can clock in at 20 tons, legally, on 5 axles.  8 tons per axle.  These things are only pushing the 2 ton per axle limit.  Of course the true measurement is lbs/sq inch on the tires, not axles.  Point is, though, that SUVs are not even coming close to big rigs and many roads are designed with that load in mind.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Big Rigs must pull over at weigh stations (1.50 / 2) (#265)
by Xeriar on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:25:51 PM EST

So proper road repair dues may be assigned.

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]
Uh.... no. (5.00 / 1) (#377)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:56:47 AM EST

The weigh stations are there to ensure that trucks are running under the limits imposed.  So let's spell it all out for you.

Actually trucks are limited two ways.  First they have to be under a certain weight.  IIRC it is 40,000lbs, total.  Of course there is about 800lbs of play in there for driver and his assorted crap up in the cab.

Then there is the per axle weight.  This is not an even distribution.  The steering axle has a weight limit around 8000 and the others have a weight limit of about 10000.  It has been about 7 years since I drove so these numbers are fuzzy.  Point is that the steering axle has a lesser weight than the others.  This is because the drives and tandems are dual axles with 4 tires per axle versus the single axle with 2 tires for the steering axle.  It all comes down to the fact that a truck cannot exceed x amount of weight per square inch on the tires.

With me so far?

Ok, now, each state has a different way of weighing trucks.  Oregon, for example, requires the truck to come to a compplete stop for each axle on a single scale and they weigh each axle accordingly.  I found that out the hard way because I was used to California style weighing and got pulled over.  In California loaded trucks go over the scale at 3mph while empties go over a speed bump at no less than 5mph.  California weighs each axle separately as well but doesn't require the truck to stop.  The empty trucks, if they don't bounce enough, are assumed to be at least partially loaded and must go through the scale properly.  Those are the two states I still remember completely becuase one I screwed up and the other I live in.

Ok, so, here's the deal.  Scales aren't open all the time.  Furthermore some scales pull random trucks into them and let others go by.  Some scales check only at the state borders.  Others (like California) have several scales not only near the borders but also along the major routes inside the state.  However at no time do the scales hit all the trucks all of the time.  They don't even hit most of the trucks part of the time.  They hit some of the trucks some of the time.  Just enough to keep the vast majority of the trucks under the weight limits described above through self-weighing and load shifting.

*pant, pant, pant*

Where the money for road repairs comes isn't from the scales.  No.  For each trucking company to operate in any given state they have to have a permit to run a truck in their state.  One permit, one truck.  For a company like Schneider which has thousands of trucks you can imagine the nightmare it is to keep those trucks up to date for 48 states.  What is required by law is that every truck that enters or leaves a state must record the milage when it crosses the border in either direction.  This milage is passed to the states and the states charge fees to the companies based on the miles the trucks drove in the state regardless of how heavy they were.  IE, me hauling a load of pillows up the grapevine in SoCal costs exactly the same as the load of recycled paper (which is damned heavy) that I'm passing by at that instant.  We're both travelling the same number of miles over that pass.

-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

My company... (5.00 / 2) (#379)
by ti dave on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:03:15 AM EST

We regularly drive trucks, in WA, CA and OR, with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 88k.
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Then it is most likely that high (5.00 / 1) (#687)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:34:07 PM EST

Yeah, my numbers are most likely off.  It has been 7 years since I drove.  I couldn't remember if it was about 40,000lbs or if it was 40tons which is 80,000lbs.  Thanks for the clarification.

-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Corrections (none / 0) (#474)
by bofkentucky on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:31:13 AM EST

Heavy trucks in the US are allowed to run up to 40 (US) tons (80,000lbs total for cargo and truck) without carrying any special overides.  In some places, restrictions on OTR trucks are lifted.  Clinton approved a 50 ton limit on chicken trucks in Arkansas (Is it still in place?), coal operators run 60 tons (120000 Lbs) legally in Kentucky and West Virginia.  US Interstates are capable of carrying much heavier loads though, due to their cold war heritage.  Minimums of 16" concrete decks on 16" gravel, with another 4-24" of asphalt on top should be plenty to allow C-5's and B52's to operate from US interstates  

[ Parent ]
Are you a civil engineer? (4.00 / 3) (#344)
by sowellfan on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:30:23 AM EST

Ok, you made a statement that "anything over two tons is too much for many roads to take regularly". In order to state something like this as a fact, I would expect you to have some expertise. Are you in fact, a civil engineer? Do you have any experience in roadway construction or maintenance? Or are you just pulling figures out of your butt?

[ Parent ]
No. (2.33 / 3) (#496)
by CodeWright on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:33:27 AM EST

He's just another retarded hippie tree-hugger with a chip on his shoulder. Move along, nothing to see here.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Reminds of a commercial from GTA3 (4.50 / 12) (#6)
by Scooby on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:40:51 PM EST

I'm a marketing manager who lives in the suburbs and commutes to work on the highway. I live alone. So of course I needed a car that seats 12 and is equiped to drive across artic tundra. It just makes me feel better. The new Myboxu Monstrosity; Mine is bigger.

The Mythical Maibatsu Monstrosity (none / 0) (#87)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:42:30 PM EST

Here's a webpage about it! Hope you like French :)

[ Parent ]
Another commercial.. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:44:19 PM EST

From the above website:
Woman: "Phil and I just had another kid. So of course we need a bigger SUV. Being a mom is hard, with soccer, football and lacrosse practice, so we bought the new Maibatsu Monstrosity. It's so big...we lost little Joey in the back and couldn't find him for and hour! When I'm rushing to the mall, or talking on my cell phone, I know me and my family are safe. The Maibatsu Monstrosity has 4-wheel drive, and in amphibious mode...it can cross rivers. So far I've only hit a few puddles, but it's good to know it's there. With the time I save taking shortcuts through the strip-mall parking lot I can focus on the important things. Like gazing longingly at the pool boy or...buying more exercise equipment off the TV. So what if it gets 3 miles to the gallon!? I'm a mom, not a conservationist!"
Woman Voice: "The new Maibatsu Monstrosity...mine's bigger!!"


[ Parent ]
What next? Big Foot and the Monster Machines? (none / 0) (#406)
by Hektor on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:44:16 AM EST

Seriously. Why can't I run a Monster Truck like Big Foot or the like on the road? Or can I? With a car like that I could care less about big SUVs, busses and pedestrians.

[ Parent ]
Finally!! (3.40 / 10) (#11)
by rayab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:50:12 PM EST

Finally there is a story about SUVs on kuro5hin. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates those things. I was also involved in an accident with an SUV. I rear-ended one of those hunks of metal going about 25mph. My subaru legacy was totalled, the entire front end was squashed to nothing. However the SUV just had slight bends on the bumper.

My mom now drives a Jeep Grandcherokee, she says she'll never drive a sedan again. I guess she likes that high-off-the-ground feeling. It also probably makes her feel powerful and important. BUH!

<rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant>
I'd never buy and SUV, unless I buy a boat or something else that I need to haul around, but even then I'd rather buy a pickup.

In fact I find all car alterations to be stupid. I laugh at the dumbasses that raise their pickups and put HUGE tires on them, or the guys that lower their cars as low as possible, or the rice boys who pretend to be speed racers or something. To me a car is a tool of getting from point A to point B. <rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant><rant>

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
rice boys? (3.40 / 5) (#13)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:52:42 PM EST

how you went from a rant on suv's to a racial remark I'm still trying to figure out.

It was uncalled for, and made you sound pretty stupid.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

not really (4.00 / 5) (#17)
by rayab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:59:39 PM EST

Well, when I first heard someone use the term riceboy I also thought it was a racial remark. But it was explain to me that the term actually refered to the fact that the cars were asian imports and has nothing to do with the race of the driver. I guess I should not have used that term but I was flamed by the ranting mood. The reason I even mentioned them was because I switched to ranting about all car modifications. Sorry if I offended you.

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
no offence taken... (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:10:01 PM EST

whatsoever... and I know what the term means, to those who attempted to educate. However, it is meant to be a derogatory term (regardless of who it's applied to, since when does that mean it's ok?)

don't get me wrong, I'm hardly the PC type... maybe the propaganda's getting to me :-)


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

derogatory (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:17:57 PM EST

i'm not sure that "rice boys" has to be derogatory. i have friends which participate in that particular subculture and call each other by the same moniker. i'll agree that most often, it is used to depict "little brat japs super-sizing their honda civics", but i don't think this was the manner it which it was used in the original post.

maybe the propaganda's getting to me, too, i have no idea why i got involved in this thread at all...
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Propaganda? (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by rayab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:21:07 PM EST

If you could clarify what propaganda you were refering to I will be very happy :)

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
mind control... (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:26:46 PM EST

That would be the "PC Propaganda"... I think I smell a good article topic here... I write it if I have the time... :-)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Darn right it's derogatory (4.80 / 5) (#47)
by fencepost on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:28:55 PM EST

Anything with neon under it is rice.

Honda Civic DXs1 with "Type R"2 stickers are rice.  Civics with Ferrari stickers are rice with cheese sauce.

Fartcan exhausts that aren't straight pipes up to the engine are rice.

The TaxiMex Dodge Neon with the 5-foot-wide 18-inch-high foot-deep wing that I see driving around in my area is rice.

Yeah, "rice" and "riceboy" are derogatory.  So is "flaming idiot."  Personally, I'm going to keep using all three terms.

1 DX is the cheapest trim line of Civics and has the smallest engine.

2 Type R is used on the Japanese models to indicate that the car came from the factory with racing modifications.
--
"nothing really says "don't hire me, I'm an idiot" quite as well as misspelling "pom-pom" on your resume." -- former Grinnellian
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#223)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:16:07 PM EST

Anything with neon under it is rice.

I wanted to get a lighting kit for my Jeep Grand Cherokee and plates that read "31337" but unfortunately I do a lot of rough road/gravel driving and in Ontario you're not allowed to have more than two or three consecutive numbers on your plates.

My dreams of being an offroad riceboy are dashed...



[ Parent ]
Spotted in Northern VA... (none / 0) (#263)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:16:28 PM EST

In the parking garage that a friend of mine parks in, there is an Audi TT with a license plate that reads 313377.

[ Parent ]
Rice burners (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:00:23 PM EST

Not to characterize, but most of the riceboys I see in this area are either white or hispanic.. and boy there's a lot of them. Just saw a beat up Civic LX with a Type R plate and a huge exhaust that appeared to be hanging from a coat hanger. Not to mention the giant, bright red windshield wipers.

It may have originally referred to Japanese cars, but I actually don't see many asians driving the rice burners.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

in his defense (4.83 / 6) (#18)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 03:59:40 PM EST

"rice boys" is more becoming associated with the general practice of heavily modifying a small car for racing purposes, and it is being more and more frequently praticed by white suburban males and their Volkswagens. i'll agree that the origins were not PC (origins being Honda = Japanese Car Maker = Rice = Ha Ha aren't we clever) but throwing out the "racist" accusation is a little touchy. it's not like he said, "all slanty-eyed japs should go home" or something actually racist. "rice boys" is a popular term to denote "young male humans who heavily modify an economy car so that it goes very fast and/or looks strange and/or makes a loud noise".

but then, that's me trying to fight off the PC-craze, not doing anything actually constructive.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Her defense ;) (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by rayab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:01:58 PM EST



Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
its slang (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by Altus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:00:47 PM EST

for the guys who modify their japaneese cars... mostly hondas... it does not refer to race at all

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Of course it has to do with race (none / 0) (#314)
by jabber on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:01:43 AM EST

Street race.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Rice boys come in all colors (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:58:02 PM EST

They are people who put rediculous modifications to underpowered cars, usualy japanese. In truth, there are a lot of asian kids who do it, but there are plenty of white/black/latino people who do it as well.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
I suppose because of the lack of decent cars (none / 0) (#248)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:54:49 PM EST

Because they don't sell those sports version of the Japanese cars in the US (not through the dealers anyway?)

[ Parent ]
I think the real reason.... (none / 0) (#387)
by Gray Ghost on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:31:15 AM EST

I'm not in the whole scene - I just like to go to the car shows they're having around here all the time - but I think you get more cool points for tricking out a car that is not normally associated with being a hot fast car. Also they are a lot cheaper to buy than Porcshes or those new Mitsubishi's, and they are light as hell so you can spend all the money you saved on the car on a really hot engine to go into the car that the car was never designed for. And then watch that muther fly when you crank those RPMs.



[ Parent ]
Does it come from so. cal? (none / 0) (#383)
by Gray Ghost on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:23:38 AM EST

I didn't here it until I came out to LA. He wasn't using it to sound racist....it's just street slang. Although I usually here rice burner...in reference to a Japanese crotch rocket or one of those Honda Civics that has been tricked out with the neon lights along the running boards and a tachometer near the driver's side mirror.

The PC version would be a lot longer - and in normal conversation would make you sound lame. Say rice burner/rice boy - everyone knows what your're talking about.

[ Parent ]
Uhhh (4.00 / 6) (#43)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:26:00 PM EST

I rear-ended one of those hunks of metal going about 25mph. My subaru legacy was totalled, the entire front end was squashed to nothing. However the SUV just had slight bends on the bumper.

Given that I assume no one was injured, all I can say is "Good!" You rear-ended them. The accident was your fault. If your car was wrecked and the SUV undamaged, then it seems justice is still alive and well in the universe.

I'm not much of a fan of them either, but I can't figure out how a story about you causing an accident in your Subaru is supposed to justify that view.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

well... (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by rayab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:47:06 PM EST

My view is justified because if the other person had been driving a sedan there probably would not be as much damage since we would have collided bumper to bumper.

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#82)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:32:41 PM EST

There may not have been as much damage to your car. There would surely have been more to their car. Your fault, so IMO you deserve all the damage. Having been rear-ended (and having rear-ended others) myself, that argument just ain't gonna fly.

Course, the two times I rear-ended others, I drove away without a scratch, and they took the huge majority of the damage. And the same when I was rear-ended myself (i.e. I wasn't as damaged as the other car, though that one was pretty bad all around). So perhaps there is no justice, just crappy luck.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

So... (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:01:41 PM EST

If he was on a bike there would be no damage at all.

[ Parent ]
damages (none / 0) (#210)
by adiffer on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:54:57 PM EST

Be thankful your car was made junk.  If you had been of similar sizes and hit around that speed, you may have caused neck injuries to the other driver.  I don't care how much you dislike the big vehicles, the avoidance of whiplash or worse is worth quite a lot.  Talk to a few people with neck injuries from car accidents and you will see what I mean.  You got off lucky.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]
title (3.40 / 5) (#22)
by eudas on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:02:43 PM EST

I just have to wonder if this article should have been titled, 'Red Barchetta'. :)

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat

Good call! (3.00 / 3) (#107)
by DanTheCat on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:09:32 PM EST

Good song, and an even better short story behind it.

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

What's the story behind 'Red Barchetta' (5.00 / 1) (#347)
by sowellfan on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:34:22 AM EST

Ok, I like Rush, I like the song, but I haven't heard of a short story behind it. Is it available anywhere on the net?

[ Parent ]
"A Nice Morning Drive" (5.00 / 1) (#469)
by 87C751 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:23:28 AM EST

I found it here. Strangely prophetic, considering it was published 29 years ago.

My ranting place.
[ Parent ]

A solution? (4.00 / 9) (#24)
by bodrius on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:05:11 PM EST

<sarcasm>
Not that I'm complaining about the US' consumer habits dramatically increasing its dependence on foreign oil for no reason.

Some countries' economies are benefitted by it, including my own.
</sarcasm>

But I admit the stupidity of it all is a bit irritating, so here's a potential solution:

- Establish different driver license requirements for an SUV. Either make a new driver license for that type of vehicle, or push the limit for "trucks and similars" down to the SUV range. Make them go through a "driving class" about it too.

That's not going to stop many incompetent/dangerous drivers from getting the license (bad, but it doesn't stop bad truckers either), and it definitely will not stop people who NEED the extra space (good), but it may introduce enough of a hassle that the consumer will not go through with an impulsive buy.

I mean, if you're a Soccer Mom with 5 children + friends that need to be driven all over the place while you buy groceries, and you need to bring that St. Bernard with you, then maybe you need that SUV enough to get a driver license and take a course that warns you about how dangerous you are in your new vehicle.

If your inferiority complex is so great that you NEED a bigger car than any non-public-transportation vehicle on sight even if you live alone and know not the meaning of "dirt", you'll probably go trhough with it, but you would probably go through worse things otherwise.

If you're the middle-management executive getting the SUV because it looked cool and had a nice ad with Cocrodile Dundee in it, and the price is not that bad and heck, it might help you next time you're moving... that extra hassle may make you think twice, and reconsider that new sedan that catched your eye before.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...

Tried and true method (4.33 / 6) (#53)
by Atomic Eco on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:34:13 PM EST

Just do what we do here in Finland. According to the US Gas Price Watch, the average price for a gallon of gas is now $1.44. If you increase the taxation to Finnish levels, you get $4.5 per gallon. I drive almost 30,000 miles a year (most of it high-speed highway), and I would not DREAM of getting a gas-guzzler. However, my tiny Italian car is mostly safe from SUVs as you don't see much of them..

Finland.. where polar bears roam the streets.
[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (3.50 / 2) (#230)
by Wolfkin on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:27:59 PM EST

You want those in the US to have additional problems beyond even the ones they have?  This is insanity!  Why would anyone want to raise taxes?!

[ Parent ]
Raising taxes (1.00 / 1) (#239)
by aspartame on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:38:58 PM EST

Why would anyone want to raise taxes?!

In order to pay for things that the government spends money on, perhaps? Like, I don't know, roads or something?

--
180 times sweeter than sugar
[ Parent ]

Well (5.00 / 1) (#363)
by Atomic Eco on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:53:33 AM EST

the raised gas price would make people think long and hard whether they need to drive that gas guzzler. Of course, businesses and people who drive professionally could be given tax breaks, and some or all of the extra revenue collected could be earmarked to be used to develop public transportation, better roads, bridges, etc.


Finland.. where polar bears roam the streets.
[ Parent ]
Not in the U.S. (none / 0) (#593)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:47:37 PM EST

We are not so Socialist over here. The federal government generally just pisses away whatever money they get, so the less going to them the better.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Soccer Moms (4.00 / 1) (#243)
by vnsnes on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:50:07 PM EST

I mean, if you're a Soccer Mom with 5 children + friends that need to be driven all over the place while you buy groceries, and you need to bring that St. Bernard with you, then maybe you need that SUV enough to get a driver license and take a course that warns you about how dangerous you are in your new vehicle.

Then she can buy a minivan. The gas milage is just as bad as in an SUV, but a hell of a lot safer.

I agree about taking a class idea. I've talked to people who do not realize that their SUV is more likely to overturn because of higher center of gravity compared to a sedan. Information like that can be included in the class.

[ Parent ]

Center of gravity (none / 0) (#590)
by unDees on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:43:18 PM EST

If one can't feel the higher center of gravity after getting a bigger vehicle, perhaps one shouldn't be driving.

It's almost impossible not to notice the difference in handling between, say, a sedan and a truck. All you have to do is drive around a corner (or in a Ford Exursion, over a corner)! Feel that weight rock to the outside and realize that just a little more tilt will flip the vehicle.

I suppose that doesn't help the people who flipped their SUVs the first time they made a turn....

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]

SUV Experience (4.66 / 6) (#26)
by enthalpyX on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:05:53 PM EST

It's funny the excuses I've heard for people getting SUVs. While the feeling of being "high above the ground" is somewhat valid, I think it creates an illusion of safety. Most accidents are caused by drivers who aren't focused on the road; being up above everyone isn't going to help this any. If anything, it provides a false sense of security-- which can be particularly dangerous when you're driving a missle twice the size of a "regular" missle.

My one and only wreck that I've ever been in involved an SUV. I slammed on breaks at a busy boulevard near my (at the time) high school, to avoid hitting this truck, who, likewise slammed on breaks. I hit my breaks, and missed the truck by a wide margin. A Jeep Grand Cherokee behind me slammed on breaks and barely missed me. A Ford Fiesta didn't break in time, and went full force into the Jeep (probably 35-40 mph). The collision pushed the Jeep into my car (a '90 Volvo 740), and thus we had a 3-car accident. The biggest damage was to the Fiesta: the front was completely totaled. The Jeep running into me jammed my trunk hood shut, so that had to be replaced. And the Jeep had to have work done on the front & back.

If I had been in a Ford Fiesta, in all likelihood when that Jeep hit me, I would have gone flying into the truck that slammed on breaks in front of ME. I think when learning to drive it's more important to have a tank. Soemthing that weighs a lot and goes slow. SUVs satisfy the first, but not the second, and that makes them very dangerous for teens to have.

I have a 2000 Jetta GLS now, which I love to death, and have been driving for 2 1/2 years now. While I know I wouldn't stand a chance in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or an Excursion, I hope the extra speed will allow me to maneuver out of those types of situations.

All in all, driving would be much safer if the road was devoid of SUVs.

Jeeps and Volvos (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:21:50 PM EST

I was in fact just about to point out that both Volvos and Jeeps are easily well-built enough to protect you, even from an SUV hit.

Only a few weeks after getting our Wrangler, we were rear-ended (very hard, probably 30 MPH) by a minivan. While the Jeep got pushed around a little, the only damage was to the right rear suspension, where the nose of the minivan actually slid under our bumper and bent the shocks. No frame damage at all. The minivan was in tough shape. We didn't wait around after the cops had gotten our statement, but I sincerely doubt he drove away from that.

Ok, one problem is that inexperienced drivers are now piloting these godawful huge slabs of rolling death. But at the same time, the vast majority of other cars on the road are getting flimsier and flimsier. Surely that has to be taken into account as well? You don't have to be driving another SUV -- there are cars out there that can and will survive a collision with something much bigger than themselves.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

flimsier? (none / 0) (#99)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:57:20 PM EST

vast majority of other cars on the road are getting flimsier and flimsier.

I'm not buying this. Every year average crash test results go up. Car prices go up faster than inflation -- it's to the automakers' advantage to build bigger, more expensive cars to give them a higher profit margin while adding more (safety, and other) features to compete with other automakers.

[ Parent ]

Jeep Wrangler off center crash test (none / 0) (#325)
by libertine on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:34:06 AM EST

Wranglers came in second only to the lexus sedan when performing in off center crash tests for small cars.  This is ONLY because they used the low doors for the test.  With the high doors, it is safer.

If you look at the engineering for the underframe of a Wrangler, you will find that it is exceptionally well built, and can withstand all kinds of punishment.  Top that off with a built in roll cage, and you have a reasonable small vehicle that is actually somewhat safe.  I specifically bought a jeep because of the engineering.  Too many close calls in the Bay Area with the lousy drivers there really changed my mind about what I want to drive.

Also, my second mom lived in the mountains at the time.  It was the only way to visit her in the winter.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

Jeeps (none / 0) (#164)
by RevLoveJoy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:37:29 PM EST

This among other reason, Rusty, is the reason the wranglers are a preferred off-roading enthusiast's vehicle. The steel frame (none of that aluminimum web stuff) makes them very difficult to twist. It also makes them very heavy for a smaller "truck" -- have you checked out the curb weight on one? My 2000 wrangler with somewhat oversized tires and suspension work: 5,000 lbs. Ouch.

Cheers,
-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

Yup (none / 0) (#311)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:54:33 PM EST

After that first collision, we were believers. That guy hit us hard, and just on the right rear corner, where you'd definitely expect to have some twisting. The Jeep felt like a brick underneath us though. Mine is pretty much stock, and clocks in at 4450, apparently. And my, aren't they fun off the pavement. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Flimsy cars are popular because... (none / 0) (#309)
by enthalpyX on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:51:06 PM EST

...they're cheaper! :) And there's a large segment of Americans out there who can't afford $30k for an SUV (nor the extra gas to fuel it)...

Are there minimum safety requirements when it comes to automobiles? As in, are they any guidelines that are mandated by a governmental agency? Or is it more a matter of whatever works? But totally... Saturns are frickin' plastic for Christ's sake. Geo Metros? Ford Fiestas? The current hybrids like the Toyota Echo and the Hondo Insight don't exactly look as if they'd fare very well against a 4runner, either. ;)

My kids should expect a nice Oldsmobile coming their way when 16 comes around... Hehe. :)

[ Parent ]

Funny you mention it (none / 0) (#475)
by bofkentucky on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:43:15 AM EST

Hope your kid(s) are 13-15, Olds will be no more after 2004.

[ Parent ]
Flimsy cars? (none / 0) (#463)
by Gully Foyle on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:17:29 AM EST

Aren't those crumple zones? Cars are supposed to take damage in a crash so that the passenger doesn't have to absorb the force of the impact.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Tax (3.60 / 15) (#27)
by Altus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:06:16 PM EST

the bejesus out of them... Im thinking that the giant fords should pay somewhere on the order of 10 times the excize tax... mabe more even... to make up for the damge they do to our roads every time they leave their driveways

its tough to set a good number, but I would like to see a model where waste is taxed and economy is not.  japan has a system like this.  they have a class of mini-cars that pay less on in tolls, tax and insurance, this makes them very attractive over a full sized car.
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson

They already are taxed. (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:09:23 PM EST

Federal emissions tax, which taxes ford (and the other makers) for fleet-wide emissions. However since they sell so well, they can all afford it.

[ Parent ]
however (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:12:10 PM EST

in most states, most SUVs are classified closer to cars than to actual trucks, which gives them more lax standards on emissions, etc.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
backward? (4.00 / 3) (#35)
by smileyy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:19:34 PM EST

I think you have that backward. Isn't it that SUVs are being classified as light trucks, which have lower emissions and fuel economy standards, despite that fact that their use on roads is much more similar to that of passenger cars?
--
...alone in suicide, which is deeper than death...
[ Parent ]
yup, backwards :) (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:22:35 PM EST

classic case of trying to type while i was thinking about something else. man, i can be an idiot sometimes. at least you seemed to be able to catch the drift of what i was trying to say.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
no no (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:01:43 PM EST

the EPA sets 'fleet-wide' emissions taxes on every passenger vehicle that the makers make. If they exceed a certain amount of pollution, averaged over every vehicle they make cars, suv's and so on, they are taxed.

SUV's have made it so they are penalized by the government. However, they sell so well, and at such profit, the companies can afford the tax.

[ Parent ]

"fleet-wide" emissions (none / 0) (#684)
by janra on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:25:29 PM EST

My parents ran into that a couple of years ago. They had ordered a big truck (crew cab, long box) with a V10, but they didn't get it for about 4-5 months just because they had to wait for the company to sell enough little cars to compensate for it.

And before anybody starts yelling about people having bigger trucks than they need, I'd like to point out that this truck hauls somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 pounds of carpenter's tools around every single day - basically, almost everything needed to do almost anything construction-related. That size truck was a necessity.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
It's not enough (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:19:24 PM EST

...and it doesn't appear to be working.

Taxing emissions is fine, but I think they should have a Federal Car Tax based on the value and deprecation of the vehicle. SUVs tend to be *very* expensive, so a 10% purchase price tax, paid yearly based off the Blue Book price sounds reasonable...many countries (such as the UK) do this, and there are less SUVs on the road. Not sure if that's a direct causation, though.

I'd also like to see a tax based on the MPG rating of the car. The more gas it burns, the more it gets taxed. If you drive a car that gets more than 40 MPG, you don't get taxed at all...

Of course, it'll never happen - Ford et al must protect the SUV market to the death, as it's their most profitable market segment and they have the money to lobby successfully.

[ Parent ]

MPG tax (4.66 / 3) (#46)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:28:47 PM EST

I'd also like to see a tax based on the MPG rating of the car.

We have that. It's called a gasoline tax.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Well, kinda... (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:40:34 PM EST

It's a flat tax based on usage, not on car choice. And it's pretty insignificant - I come from the UK, and while I think $5 a gallon is too much, I also think $1.50 a gallon is too little. ;-)

Anyway, an MPG tax is more transparent than a gas tax. It can be made obvious at the point of purchase that buying a 15 MPG SUV is going to cost you way more, proportionately, than a 30 MPG sedan.   You know, a "Your car is rated at 15MPG. The Energy Efficiency Surcharge for this class of vehicle is $10,000" thing. In the short term it would restrict SUV sales, and in the long term it would encourage automakers to make more efficient vehicles. If they can make an SUV that gets 30MPG, good for them. ;-)

p.s. Rusty replied to one of my posts! WOOO! Now I know I've arrived! :-)

[ Parent ]

Doesn't make sense (4.50 / 2) (#76)
by rusty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:00:10 PM EST

I see what you're thinking, but it doesn't make any sense. If I buy a car that gets 15 MPG, then drive it 15 miles a month, why should I be forced to pay more in taxes than someone who buys a 30 MPG car and drives 300 miles a month? I'm using far less energy than they are, producing less pollution, etc etc even with my lower fuel efficiency.

In contrast, the gasoline tax taxes you for actual use. All other things beng equal, drivers who drive the same number of miles, but drive lower efficiency cars will end up paying a much higher tax.

It makes sense to encourage greater fuel efficiency, but I don't see how screwing some people arbitrarily is a good way to go about that. Especially when the gas tax already exists, and can do the same thing more fairly, by making the people who burn more pay more.

This is an interesting PDF link about gas taxes in the US and UK, incidentally.

p.s. Rusty replied to one of my posts! WOOO! Now I know I've arrived! :-)

I am not special. And therefore you are, by the transitive principle of internet conversation, also not special. ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Progressive taxation (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:06:50 PM EST

I see what you're thinking, but it doesn't make any sense. If I buy a car that gets 15 MPG, then drive it 15 miles a month, why should I be forced to pay more in taxes than someone who buys a 30 MPG car and drives 300 miles a month? I'm using far less energy than they are, producing less pollution, etc etc even with my lower fuel efficiency.

Well, it's the principle of Progressive taxation at work. The same logic that says someone who earns $100,000 pays a greater % of their total income in tax than a person who only earns $10,000. Why should one person pay a larger % of their income than another? It's social equity, and a cornerstone of modern economic theory. I'm sure there are better economists on K5 than me to explain that, though. :-)

Gas tax, on the other hand, while being a tax on usage, is a flat tax where everyone, regardless of circumstance, pays the same amount for a gallon of gas. Even though some people could afford more, or (in the case of SUV drivers and tailgaters) should pay more. ;-)

I'm not saying gas tax is bad - I quite like the idea - but I'd like to see taxation used more effectively as a tool of social policy. To me, that means we encourage more energy-efficient designs by disproportiately taxing lower-MPG vehicles. A gas tax does that, of course, but it's not terribly transparent (it's not obvious to the purchaser that it's there), it also penalises people with energy-efficient cars that just drive a lot, and it doesn't encourage auto manufacturers to build cars that don't guzzle as much gas. They don't care if you pay more to fill up. Hence, an MPG tax levied at point-of-sale. Given two vehicles, both costing the same, but one was an SUV with 15 MPG and a tax of $5,000, the other was a sedan with 30 MPG and a tax of $1,000, hopefully it would force consumers to consider the social impact of their vehicle choice.

I am not special. And therefore you are, by the transitive principle of internet conversation, also not special. ;-)

pps. If I want to be a fanboi I can be. So nyah. Besides, scoop is cool, and CmdrTaco never replied to any of my posts on 'the other place'. :-)

[ Parent ]

Progressive Gas Tax. (2.00 / 2) (#146)
by steveftoth on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:20:46 PM EST

Or just a progressive enegry tax. Like they already do for your electric bill. Since your electricity costs more per watt if you go over your quota, then you could do the same with gas. Give everyone coupons or something and have them trade them in for gas without tax, then after you run out of coupons, you have to pay tax on the gas ( which is much higher ).

[ Parent ]
Not a progressive tax (5.00 / 2) (#174)
by sigwinch on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:51:10 PM EST

Well, it's the principle of Progressive taxation at work. ... Why should one person pay a larger % of their income than another? It's social equity, and a cornerstone of modern economic theory.
People with limited income can best afford cheap used cars. Yet those cars are also the least efficient. Taxing low efficiency is thus a regressive tax.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Um, no? (1.00 / 1) (#191)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:15:57 PM EST

People with limited income can best afford cheap used cars. Yet those cars are also the least efficient. Taxing low efficiency is thus a regressive tax.

That's not necessarily the case, and given my proposed example of the tax at work, wholly inaccurate.

I see no reason, looking at historical pricing of used SUVs, to suggest that a 1991 Explorer would be cheaper than most other 1991 make cars. There will *always* exist cars with better fuel efficiencies than SUVs. Hence, there will always exist *used* cars with better fuel efficiencies. Ergo, there will always be cheap used cars with low tax burdens. The intention is to make used SUVs more expensive than used cars of comparable value.

[ Parent ]

I should explain... (none / 0) (#197)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:35:21 PM EST

A quick perusal of Kelly's Blue Book (kbb.com) reveals:

A 1992 Ford Explorer 2D 2WD, 88K, no options $5,600 mint.
A 1992 Honda Civic DX 4D 2WD 88K, no options $5,300 mint.

I suggest that the MPG tax on the Ford Explorer be greater than the MPG tax on the Honda Civic, to reflect the Explorer's lower MPG rating. A person of limited means therefore has the same choice as a person buying new : "Do I wish to pay more in tax to own the SUV?". Both cars are the same approx value, have similar features, and are the same model year (and in this example, both are mint condition), but an MPG tax would (hopefully) encourage buyers to purchase the vehicle with the lower tax burden (and therefore, also, the better efficiency).

The tax does *not* make it harder for people of limited means to afford a vehicle.

The tax *would* make less efficient cars more expensive than their *equivilent valued* more efficient counterparts. I hope this clears up any confusion.

[ Parent ]

Flat vs. Progressive (none / 0) (#318)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:09:16 AM EST

Gas tax, on the other hand, while being a tax on usage, is a flat tax where everyone, regardless of circumstance, pays the same amount for a gallon of gas.

That's only the case from one view. But consider two people who own different cars but drive the same amount. Person A gets 15 MPG, person B gets 45 MPG. Person A has to buy more gas to drive the same distance, and therefore pays more tax. It is progressive, provided mileage is constant. That is, it's progressive for the variable that you actually want to influence. A per-car tax is a wild shotgun approach that ignores all kinds of other relevant factors.

I will admit that the gas tax doesn't encourage auto manufacturers to make more fuel-efficient cars directly. If the tax on gas was raised to the point where people really felt the difference between 15 and 45 MPG, presumably there would be much higher market pressure on auto makers. So it's possible that it could be used to accomplish that, just not at the relatively low levels we have gasoline taxation now (in the US anyway). Of course, gas prices influence the price of almost everything else, via costs of commercial trucking, so messing with gas prices is a good way to shoot yourself in the head trying to cure that stuffy nose. This may not be so obvious in the UK, but the US is a huge country, and stuff has to get from place to place.

All of this is kind of dancing around the fastest solution. We're coming up with great ways to take money out of the car buyer's pocket. Why not take it directly out of the automaker's pocket? It'd be easy: at the end of each fiscal year, make auto manufacturers tally up their average fuel efficiency on all cars they produced that year. Scale the average by some factor, and subtract it from a flat "maximum" fuel-consumption tax.

Example, with imaginary numbers: say the base fuel consumption tax is $100,000 a year. If your cars averaged 35 MPG, you get to reduce that by $35,000, and only pay $65,000 that year.

It could be complicated up some, most usefully to scale your base rate to the total value of cars you produce, so as not to screw smaller automakers, but you get the gist. If we want auto manufacturers to do something, we should hit their wallets.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

fuel tax on automakers (none / 0) (#328)
by nosilA on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:56:19 AM EST

It exists in the US, based on CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy).  Basically the corporation pays taxes based on the fleet average of its vehicles.  One of the problems is the fact that SUVs are exempted because they are considered trucks and not passenger vehicles.  

I agree that this is a better way to go for two reasons.  First, it most affects people buying new cars, so it's progressive in any sense of the word (a smaller effect on used car buyers will be felt because of the increased cost of new cars, but it will be a lot smaller).  Second, it does directly affect the people with the power to change the situation, as you said.

Unfortunately the CAFE requirements are an overpoliticized battle.  The Republicans are opposed to changing on the basis that it will force people to buy unsafe compact cars or something.  The Democrats seem to be dooming it to failure by proposing a standard so absurd it would be virtually impossible to meet in the correct timeframe.  I can only figure this is because they want to seem pro-environment while also being pro-auto-industry.  

It's a great theory though.

-Alison
Vote to Abstain!
[ Parent ]

Well then (none / 0) (#339)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:16:14 AM EST

Color me not as smart as people who think about this for a living. :-)

It's stupid to call an SUV a truck. They're not. No one buys them to haul stuff, they're no good at it.

But regardless, I figured such a simple and obvious solution would get tied up in political wrangling, given the power of the automaker lobby.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

To paraphase Elwood Blues... (4.00 / 1) (#478)
by bofkentucky on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:52:53 AM EST

...Its got a trucks frame, a truck suspension, a truck motor, and a truck transmission. They are trucks. Now if your talking about the mini-suv's (Honda CRV, Toyata Rav-4, Kia's little one) they are more like cars with four-bangers and indepentdent suspension, but those are not the trucks at isssue. The poster is gunning for the Escalades, Suburbans, and Excursions, which are trucks and should be judged as such.

[ Parent ]
It's not the government's business (1.00 / 1) (#504)
by CodeWright on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:45:00 AM EST

To enforce ding-a-ling tree-hugger ideologies (like progressive tax ponzi schemes).

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
car wear and tear (1.00 / 1) (#117)
by mpalczew on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:27:04 PM EST

If you only drive your car 15 miles a month, you will surely drive that car for many months more than the person driving his car 300 miles a month.  Leaving the 300 mile/month person in need of another car.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
not necessarily. (none / 0) (#185)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:10:14 PM EST

Start and stops (especially engine starts) are very hard on an engine. Stopping and starting a car 15 times a month (assuming you drive a mile at a time) is far harder on the car than driving 300 miles down the highway.

Even if you drove those 15 miles once a month, then let the car sit the rest of the month, that too is poor on the car. Even not running, the rubber in the hoses, belts and tires will all age, crack and have to be replaced.

Point in case, I had to recently replace my tires. They were 5 years old. It's first year it sat on a lot gathering only 8 miles. The past 2 years ive been in college averaging maybe 20 miles a week on it. They were up to 30,000 miles and had another 7000 miles or so of tread left. However due to age, they were beginning to crack the tread off.

[ Parent ]

Tax the Petrol (none / 0) (#430)
by yooden on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:43:21 AM EST

Anyway, an MPG tax is more transparent than a gas tax.

You see the usage tax every time you fill up, for years, not only once when you buy the car.

A usage tax is also much better for people who drive more economically while on the road or don't use their car all the time.

A liter is a little over two Euros here and I think the price should be taxed way up, but slowly. The car makers will adapt, and the overall tax paid will be about the same. (VW sells a car using 3l/100km, built one using 1l/100km.)


[ Parent ]

Well thats stupid. (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:51:09 PM EST

Oh, so now you want to base it on the cost of the car? That way an extra-safe Volvo or Mercedes or a super efficient Prius or Civic Hybrid would be taxed more then a gas guzzling SUV.

I'd also like to see a tax based on the MPG rating of the car. The more gas it burns, the more it gets taxed. If you drive a car that gets more than 40 MPG, you don't get taxed at all...

Should a person who takes their SUV off road once in a while and drives around in a small town in a Camery be taxed more then someone who has a two hour, 6 galon burning commute?

I know, how 'bout we just tax people when they buy gas? That's a great idea! So great, we already do it!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
excise tax (1.00 / 1) (#80)
by Altus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:27:28 PM EST

is based on the cost (or rather, current value) of your car... buy a new car and the tax goes up.  right now in Massachsetts the tax is on the order of 1% per year for all cars... but why not make heavier cars pay a 10% tax because they damage the roads.

as for his MPG tax, there is already a gas guzzler tax for cars with bad MPG ratings, if you want further insentive (post purchase) for people to buy fuel efficient cars, then you just raise the gas tax.
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

It's called a property tax (1.00 / 1) (#81)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:29:16 PM EST

Oh, so now you want to base it on the cost of the car? That way an extra-safe Volvo or Mercedes or a super efficient Prius or Civic Hybrid would be taxed more then a gas guzzling SUV.

OK, so maybe a value-based tax will also discourage Volvo owners. It's not targeted specifically against SUV drivers, so its effect would be diluted.

But property taxes (and yes, cars are property) based on value are not stupid, and are used the world over.

I think, on reflection, that a tax based on the MPG rating of the vehicle would be better. I don't believe a gas tax is transparent enough, nor is it targetted enough. Now, if you charged SUV owners more per gallon of gas, I'd be down with that. ;-)

[ Parent ]

What about a rolling gas tax? (1.00 / 1) (#128)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:55:30 PM EST

I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to implement a gas tax that scales based on a range of MPG, so that if your car gets 10-15, you pay a 150% gas tax, but if it gets 30-40, you pay a 50% gas tax, and better than 50 MPG and you pay no gas tax, etc.  That way the choice to buy a fuel inefficient car results in a high tax, but if you but the SUV for towing or the occasional off-roading, you aren't going to pay as much as someone who feels that they need a Ford Excess to drive from Suburbia to their job in the city.  There are any number of ways to do something like this, and it really would have the desired effect - trashing the environment would have greater individual cost, and SUV drivers would drive more efficiently or switch cars, but it would not be prohibitively expensive to use an SUV if you really need to (ie, towing stuff).

mathias

[ Parent ]

People would just siphon gas out of small cars (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:53:17 PM EST

And fill their big cars with it or sell it on the grey market. Don't think it wouldn't happen.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
And cigarettes get smuggled now (none / 0) (#193)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:25:45 PM EST

It adds to the time and effort that the SUV owner needs to put into refueling the SUV, and it's a lot harder to store black market gasoline than it is to store drugs or cigarettes or whatnot, which have a higher profit margin on the smuggling.  Or maybe it could be implemented in a different manner - when you register a car with gas mileage within range X, you get a car enabling you to get a tax rebate at the pump (I'm thinking like a mag stripe card that you swipe at some point in the transaction).  Then if you buy a car with sufficiently good mileage, you get a small tax rebate every time you buy gas, and all gas is sold at the maximum tax level.  Again there are security issues, but I'm sure that the token could be somehow restricted to only work with the card present.  No system like this is going to be cheat-proof, but anything that is significantly difficult will have the same basic effect as a perfect system.

mathias

[ Parent ]

MPG tax (2.00 / 1) (#103)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:01:35 PM EST

In Japan, supposedly, they have an annual tax that increases dramatically based on the displacement of the engine in your car[s]. This explains the Japanese automakers' more agressive exploration of engine technology to increase the power of (relatively) small-displacement engines. Perhaps if we had this tax in the United States, US automakers would be more encouraged to sell smaller vehicles and more aggressively pursue more fuel efficient technologies.

[ Parent ]
Weight Tax (none / 0) (#800)
by chexum on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 09:57:02 AM EST

We, in the heart of Central Europe have weight tax on cars. I didn't know what it was good for, but apparently, it efficiently discourages people from owning SUVs. It's about 5$ for each 100 lbs (take or give 20%, since it varies from city to city, and anyway, it's in local currency). That would make a 4000 lbs SUV owner pay about $20k yearly. It's even more terrible, since even $12k a year (after taxation) would be a very good pay (for not managers, that is). And that's just one of the taxes, please let me not start ranting about them.. :) Of course, with a country only a few houndred miles wide, the local transport is quite different matter from you US folks... Just as everything else :)

[ Parent ]
(Ooops) (none / 0) (#801)
by chexum on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 10:01:15 AM EST

(Yes, I was wondering about how large that $20k is.. but it's two zeros less, that is.. $200, which would negate any other point I was to make. The taxes *are* high, aside of this :)

[ Parent ]
Weight tax II (none / 0) (#840)
by Curieus on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:21:26 AM EST

In the NL road taxation is also based on weight (and fuel type, but lets leave that out of the equation).
A volvo 740sedan, weighing approx 1230kg will cost approx 45 euro per month. A SUV weighing over 3000kg? Approx 135 euro per month. Above 3500 kg you need a different type of driving license.
It is needless to say that SUV are greatly in the minority in the NL.

[ Parent ]
yes but (2.00 / 2) (#79)
by Altus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:24:18 PM EST

that doesnt hit the consumer very hard.  the beauty of excise tax is that it direct to the consumer, it is a yearly tax on the value of your vehicle (im not sure what the rate is, but it is small... my '99 passat incurrs a $200 or so tax)

if we made a yearly tax for the larges behemoths something like $2000 or even $4000 perhaps we would see a decreas in their use (business could, get a fleet discount if there were concerns about effects on small business fleets).

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Moron. (3.50 / 4) (#102)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:00:26 PM EST

You complain about these SUVs being gas guzzlers, and then demand increased taxes on them.

Think, McFly.

SUV and pickup truck drivers already pay more taxes than your average mini-car driver, by virtue of consuming more fuel. Fuel that is taxed.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Invisible? (2.50 / 2) (#118)
by WegBert on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:28:29 PM EST

ALL vehicles need to be refueled (a silly, but important point) and all vehicles pay the same for gas. Unfortunately, an SUV driver might not even notice the fact that he/she is spending more on gas. They would have to pay for gas anyways, albeit not nearly as much. Stopping at the gas station to buy gas for your car is hardly out of the ordinary or likely to cause a person to flinch, particularly if they don't have to watch their budgets.

On the other hand, a tax targeted at SUVs WOULD make people notice. People would be more aware of the fact that SUVs cost more, simply because they are being taxed DIRECTLY for ownership of an SUV. A tax on gas is hardly direct. In fact, while increased gas consumption and hence spending only manifest themselves after driving the car, a tax such as this is something you'd presumably be made aware of before purchasing the vehicle.

Of course, all this would do is probably shift the lowest income bracket that typically purchases SUVs up a little, rather than really discouraging their use...

[ Parent ]

not really (4.33 / 3) (#181)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:03:55 PM EST

any car owner knows what they pay for gas, and that they could get a vehicle which saves on gas.

however, they choose not to, though within full knowledge of the fact they will pay more for gas.

I know if I switched from my car which averages about 21 mpg, to a honda civic or something, i would pay less for gas. However, i find civics dreadfully boring, and therefore the cost of having a car that is fun to drive is worth more than the extra gas I buy.

[ Parent ]

Agreed (2.50 / 2) (#186)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:12:47 PM EST

Hell, I knew that when I moved and my commute went from 11 miles a day to 40.  That's why I went out and bought a brand new ST-1100.  40mpg compared to my Eclipse' 26MPG.  Even though I am spending far more per month in insurance alone, not to mention the payments themselves, my gas consumption isn't nearly as high as it could have been.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
huh (3.00 / 2) (#183)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:04:46 PM EST

what jackass rated this comment a 0? Christ..

[ Parent ]
Me (2.33 / 3) (#192)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:18:38 PM EST

Because it was, what, the forth time the guy was told the differences between progressive in this context and flat and he still doesn't get it.  Reiterating the same thing over and over isn't going to change people's minds esp. when it is explained, repeatedly, why one is so obviously wrong.  But just for you, it's now a 1.  Chill.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
is that the same reason (3.00 / 2) (#279)
by Altus on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:02:28 PM EST

that you modded all of my comments in this thread with a 1?

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

You too? (1.00 / 1) (#294)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:30:28 PM EST

You know, I was wondering about all the ones in the thread.  So much for discussion.

mathias

[ Parent ]

This is how it works (2.00 / 3) (#371)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:42:37 AM EST

Discussion does not equal reiterating the same flawed argument over and over again until someone thinks that since it was stated several times it must be true.  That's hammering someone until they give up.  You'll note, if you really were worried about ratings, that the first few comments got 3s and some 4s.  This is because while they were flawed and inaccurate at least they were providing some discussion.  Then when the same thing was said the 2nd and 3rd time, it goes 2s.  3rd or more 1s.  It has been said, it has been refuted, move along already.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
I call bull shit (2.00 / 3) (#500)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:43:01 AM EST

I  started this fucking thread you prick.

you gave my initial comment a 1. it is not a flawed argument... you have yet to pick apart the problems with putting a tax on certain classes of vehicle to account for the road damage they do, or as a type of luxury tax (for driving such a huge vehicle)

why dont you go find some other people to harass before I zero out all of your fucking comments.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

It's only mojo (2.00 / 1) (#561)
by farmgeek on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:57:36 AM EST

It's worthless.  Chill already.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... (2.00 / 2) (#577)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:16:23 PM EST

The rantings and ratings of a self-important prick are always irritating.

Hmm...

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I just dont like it (1.00 / 2) (#581)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:20:20 PM EST

when people go around moding for no real reason and dont bother to actualy discuss shit.

hell, he seems mostly pissed at the guy who cant convince anyone that his MPG based gas tax is a good idea... hell, thats not even what I was talking about when I started this thread.

If this guy disagrees with my post then he should speak up and tell me why rather than just going around tossing 1s.  Ive checked his history, he has a tendency to do just this, its annoying and realy doesnt help the site at all.

oh well, your right of course, I dont care about the mojo, but I would like to hold a discussion without someone like this modding everyone in the thread down for no reason.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Oh jeez, do I have to spell it out to you? (none / 0) (#689)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:43:18 PM EST

It is a completely flawed argument.  It was an argument which was presented about 4-5 times before I got to your insepid little tripe.  It doesn't change with each reiteration.  0 all my comments if it'll make you feel better, I don't care.  At least I'd be scoring by content and what it contributes to the discussion and not on some personal vendetta.

Here's the problem, you don't like SUVs.  WAH.  I don't like them either.  I ride a fawking motorcycle for crying out loud.  The closest I ever came to an SUV was a '86 Suzuki Samurai.  Oooo, ahhh, big vehicle there.  I'm often in the smallest, albeit, fastest vehicle in my little clump of traffic at any given moment.

But it is complete BS to give the simple-minded, overly used pathetic argument of "TAX THEM TO DEATH!!!!"  Yay, great, social engineering, just what we want the government to be engaged in.  But of course you weren't the first to point that out.  You were about the 5th.  Go look at my ratings and you'll see that the first few people that actually suggested it got higher than 1s.  

Next time read before posting your moronic little snipes about behavior modification.  Yeah, moronic.  Why?  Just think about any behavior you have that might not be savory and remember, there are more of *US* than there are of *you*.  Do you want the power you want to modify other people's behavior turned against you?  Use your brain and THINK before replying.

Or just mod me 0 like the little brat you are.  Jaysus.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Behavior modification nothing (4.00 / 1) (#691)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:55:45 PM EST

It's an econcomic arguement.  The reason the tragedy of the commons occurs is because the farmers never have to pay, but as soon as you add a toll to access the commons and start making people pay for using the community good, they get a bit more careful about pissing all over it.  It's not behavior modification, it's billing the farmers for the good that they are extracting from the public commons and using that toll to compensate the rest of the public for the loss of the commons.  I like to breathe, so I want to encourage people not to piss all over the common of clean air.  This is about reducing smog creation and paying for the environmental and public health damage.  If no behavior changes, fine, as long as enough money is raised in taxes to buy those of us who aren't smogging some gas masks.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Which is already happening (none / 0) (#695)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:11:22 PM EST

Which is already happening with the taxes on gas, which has been stated quite a few times.  These people consume more, they pay more for what they consume.

No, the whole notion of an excessive excise tax (which in itself is questionable, I'll get to that in a minute) on these goods here but not those good there based solely on the fact that some people don't *like* that others have these goods here is purely and without question behavior modification with no redeeming value.  

As for the excise tax it is stupid to impose an excise tax in the first place when it comes to environmental issues.  How did we get to environmentla issues anyway?  The story was about an accident, not smog.  Anyway, the problem with exise taxes is that they charge on the current value of the vehicle.  This discourages people from purchasing newer vehicles.  Newer vehicles which generally run cleaner, consume less fuel and so forth.  Why should I get rid of my '70s era big iron when it'll cost me more than that vehicle in excise tax on a new SUV (under his proposed behavior modification) which consumes less?  For that matter why should I get rid of my '02 Monstrosity for the '04 Mega-Musher when my excise taxes will go up $1000 in a year even though the latter gets 10mpg more than the former?

No, base taxation on consumption, not to discourage what happens to be popular at the moment.  Popularity shifts faster than so narrowly targeted legislation can keep up.  The problem is once something is made law it is damned hard to get rid of it.  If it is based on consumption, as it is right now, no matter what is popular the taxes will apply accordingly.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

So use a different tax (3.00 / 1) (#705)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:20:21 PM EST

The excise tax was someone else's notion.  I'm still thinking along the lines of a combination tax, based on consumption and mileage.  I know you didn't like my rolling gas tax, how about tying registration renewal costs to a combination of miles traveled since the last registration and mileage?  That way, the 10 year old car getting 10MPG with a blue book value of 2500 gets the same gas tax as a brand new car getting 10MPG with a blue book value of 40k.  That way taxation is consumption based, can easily be handled differently for farm vehicles or business vehicles, etc.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Again... why? (none / 0) (#716)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:07:41 PM EST

This is currently happening with the taxes on gasoline.  The more miles they drive, the more they have to fill up, the more gas they purchase, the more taxes they pay.

Why layer another tax on top of that and all the associated and costly administrative layers to collect the taxes and maintain the tax tables when the results are achieved right now in a fair and equitable manner.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

first of all (none / 0) (#694)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:11:16 PM EST

I do ride a motorcycle.

second.  I was one of the first to mention this... I too can sort with newest first... I might have missed a mention or two before me, but I guess I just didnt reload fast enough.

third.  this tax has 2 possible uses.
1) higher taxes for heavier vehicles so that the state can fix the dammage that they cause to the roads (Ive been over this enough, Im not going over it again)

2) behviour modification.  this wasnt my origional intent, but it is the intent of the story, so I answered the question of how to accomplish this.  you dont like taxing things that we (as a society) are opposed to, Fine, Im not realy that big on it either, but we do it anyway now dont we (how much for a pack of smokes in NYC these days)

As a smoker, I am very familiar with being fucked by the majority.

I have been thinking before I post, you have not been thinking before you mod.  you need to relax a little.  this thread had a lively discussion going and you decided to piss all over it.  well, get the fuck over yourself.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Puh-lease (2.50 / 2) (#697)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:22:23 PM EST

Here you go again.  Allow me to smack you down once again.

1: The roads are designed for much heavier vehicles (as I pointed out elsewhere) and the fact that they are paying more in taxes at the pump already covers this (as was pointed out numerous times elsewhere).

2: Whether or not it was the intent of the story (I didn't read it that way) your response was overly simplistic, short sighted and flat out inaccurate.  

I haven't been thinking before I mod?  I checked the mod guidelines again.  I was incorrect on the 0s.  I've never had 0s before and was unaware what it was for.  I have since gone back and corrected all my incorrect 0 mods.  As for low mods the guidelines do say that a low mod can be given if the comment is known to me to be inaccurate or not contributing to the discussion.  I found yours both.  Now, you may disagree with my assessment of your post but that does not change how *I* feel the post should be modded nor does hammering me for it change how I feel the posts should be modded.  But I guarentee you that I'm modding far better than some people.  At least I'm not limited to 5 and 1.  So I modded you 1, it happens.  Get over yourself.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Smack Down! (1.00 / 2) (#702)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:54:09 PM EST

2: Whether or not it was the intent of the story (I didn't read it that way) your response was overly simplistic, short sighted and flat out inaccurate.  

Wow.... I certainly feel smacked... thanks for that totaly vacuous answere... overly simplistic, short sighted and flat out inaccurate.... well in the face of that overwhelming evidence i guess I just must be wrong then...


"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Open your eyes (none / 0) (#717)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:08:46 PM EST

I didn't feel the need to reiterate what has been written to you over a dozen times now.  
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Infeasible. Here's why. (none / 0) (#246)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:53:37 PM EST

First, you'd have to design gas pumps that could tell the difference between filling up an SUV, a pickup truck, a Honda Civic, and a gas can. That may be possible, but I'm dubious as to the reliability of this technology.

Once you'd designed this pump, you'd have to make it reasonable for every gas station to "upgrade". If you can't provide this upgrade path, then you'll force Mom and Pop's corner gas station out of business - wrecking small businesses and their owners - and you wouldn't want to do that, would you?

Then, you'd have to figure out a way for slick people like me to not cheat you. I can carry a gas can in the back of my truck, for instance, and fill it up several times, transferring the contents to my fuel tank, if the difference in price is more than about $.10. Even if the price difference were that small, I'm pedantic enough to do it anyway.

Besides, wouldn't it be much easier to fuck rich people by making them carry around income statements which would be used to calculate their tax scale for retail goods? And isn't that what this is all about?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Erm... Huh? (none / 0) (#261)
by WegBert on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:13:28 PM EST

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear enough in my post. I was talking specifically about the proposal higher up in the thread about a yearly tax on SUV owners, the direct parent to your "Moron." post. Not about taxing SUV owners at the pump. That is clearly a dumb idea and not one I'd even bother proposing.

Just as an aside, I couldn't care less about the class issue people are making this into or perceive in this whole argument. I'm more concerned about the trend of American's to buy SUVs despite the amount of gas they consume and the pollution they generate. Obviously, taxes and pricing aren't necessarily a good solution, because someone who needs an SUV (I don't know why you'd absolutely need one, but presume that such reasons exist.) will be damaged by this, just as much as someone who needs it less. Clearly, need isn't itself reasonably quantifiable, but...

In defending the that post in my post, I was merely (attempting) to make a point that an excise tax would be more compelling than the increased gas consumption->increased gas tax concept.

[ Parent ]

But why? (none / 0) (#575)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:14:32 PM EST

Clearly, there is a dichotomy between those who need the capabilities afforded by the typical SUV, and those who merely want the illusion of power and invincibility afforded them by an SUV. But, how will you decide? Surely, you don't want to hurt the guy who actually needs that capability, right?

I may be one of these people, as I live in a rural area, and on occasion need to haul something, drive where there is no road, or ford a river. I currently do this in a pickup truck, but I might want more space, seats, or whatever, if I somehow end up with a family. Crossing the river in a Ford Excursion would be a whole lot easier and more effective than doing so in a Toyota Camry.

Does a soccer mom need an SUV? Who can tell? Maybe she'll be visiting a friend in a rural area, and need to cross a river! Will you then give her a waiver for her SUV excise tax because, in that instance, she needed the SUV? Will you prorate it?

The best solution is to not penalize anyone, because they're already paying through the nose for sales, property, and gasoline taxes.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Well, how about this (4.00 / 1) (#131)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:01:06 PM EST

Take my suggestion from this comment and have it show the cost in tax and the cost in gas both on the pump, so you can see that if you were driving a car with decent fuel efficiency, you'd be saving $10 to buy that same amount of gas.  If you like conspicuous consumption and feel insecure about yourself and therefore feel the need to drive a behemoth to buy groceries and commute, you should pay the costs that you are inflicting upon the rest of us.  The extra gas tax money can go to road maintenance, the EPA, and asthma research.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 1) (#240)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:44:41 PM EST

How about this...

Have gasoline purchases means tested, and tax according to income. That way, when a rich guy driving a Honda Civic decides to fill up, you can zap him real good.

And also, you can give the poor schmuck with the '79 Monte Carlo that burns oil, needs a complete ignition tune up, a carburetor rebuild, and a slipping automatic transmission a break.

I fail to see how this could be any less fraught with problems than the suggestion you make.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Income and class are irrelevant (1.00 / 1) (#308)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:49:42 PM EST

Did you read my comment?  It has nothing to do with income or class warfare, it has to do with making sure that someone with such blatant disregard for the damage that they are doing to public roads, the environment, and public health pays for the damage that they are causing.  I think a per gallon tax makes more sense than a yearly tax because someone who buys a truck for towing and only uses it 5k miles a year shouldn't have to deal with MPG penalties as much as someone who buys the same truck to commute from the suburbs to the city.  There are any number of ways to implement something like this, and it would certainly be possible under any scheme to grandfather in older vehicles if you are so concerned about the guy in the 79 monte carlo.  People will weasel to some degree (people weasel on all kinds of taxes anyway, thats a fact of life), but it would work well enough to have the desired effect.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

But, then... (none / 0) (#572)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:07:30 PM EST

The guy driving the truck to work every day is already paying an increased tax.

He uses more fuel to travel the same distance, therefore paying more tax per mile travelled. He drives more miles, therefore boosting his fuel usage. The net effect is that, for the number of miles travelled, and overall, he pays more taxes than some guy driving the same number of miles in a Yugo.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Right, but I'm saying more tax per gallon (none / 0) (#654)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:04:53 PM EST

In total gas tax paid, the SUV driver that drives 500 miles will pay more in tax than the civic driver that drivers 500 miles, but they are paying the same amount per gallon.  I'm talking about raising the tax per gallon depending on milage, so that not only does the SUV driver pay the gas tax that everyone else pay, but because he's driving such a damaging vehicle, he pays extra to help fund the local DOT, public health agencies, and environmental protection agencies.  The smoggier cars should have a significantly larger share of the funding of the cleanup costs because they are making more pollution, wasting more resources, causing more wear and tear on the roads, and endagering the public health.  I don't want linear growth, I want some sort of curve in there, where a 50 mpg car is a little bit cheaper to run than a 30 MPG car, but astronomically cheaper to run than a 20 MPG car.  I'm talking a tax that will make people scream for better mas transit and bike lanes, insist on better fuel economy for commuter cars, and not insist on commuting in a 15MPG SUV for 50+ miles a day.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Infeasible: here's why. (none / 0) (#672)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:40:18 PM EST

In this post I explain a couple of reasons why this is infeasible.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I don't think so (none / 0) (#690)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:44:09 PM EST

There are plenty of ways to approach this, and several of them don't have the flaws that you mentioned.  Someone suggested oupons for tax-free gas, with every driver getting the same number of coupons.  That would have the same effect, and for increased gradation, there could be a range of coupons with a few 100% tax free, then some 75% tax free, etc, so that there would a variety of tax ranges.  There could also be grandfathering the law so that it only applies to cars and pumps built or installed before a certain date, if you go with a token based system.  There's the possbility of making it an annual tax when the registration is renewed, and basing the tax on some combination of milage driven and MPG.  There are lots of mechanisms that could be applied to this idea, and although each of them has some drawbacks, quite a few of them would be flexible enough to avoid penalizing the guy in the 79 monte carlo, or the SUV owner who only drives it 3k a year for towing, but still penalize people for commuting in a gas guzzler.  Remember, this isn't going to be completely flawless - every tax gets dodged by a few people.  It just has to be good enough.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Im not talking about MPG (none / 0) (#498)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:40:42 AM EST

Im actualy talking about damage to the roads that these heavy vehicles do.  thats what excice tax is generaly used for on vehicles... road maintinance.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

And here I thought ... (none / 0) (#569)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:04:50 PM EST

That the decreased gas mileage, and therefore increased taxes per mile travelled, would provide the proper sliding scale to take care of road damage caused by heavy SUVs.

That is what gasoline taxes are used for, right?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

In some states yes (none / 0) (#582)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:24:25 PM EST

In others it is used to fund new roads.

the point I was trying to make is that because these vehicles damage the road so much they should pay for that.  I dont think a sports car that gets shitty milage but is relatively easy on the pavement should be taxed higher to pay for the damage done by huge SUV's.  thats why I dont find the "incress the gas tax" option to be agreeable.

this is a simple way to specificaly target the vehicles doing the most damage... you could do the same thing with 18 wheelers (hell, they might already) but since thoes are necessary for moving suplies like food into and out of cities, maby its not such a good idea.

 
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

However... (none / 0) (#586)
by beergut on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:32:56 PM EST

A sports car (lightweight) which gets shitty mileage is probably also very wasteful of fuel, which means that its emissions are profuse and damaging to the environment. Therefore, the tax paid on additional gasoline by the sports car driver helps to ease the fiscal burden on the rest of the government, allowing more money to flow to environmental protection and regulation agencies. These tax dollars additionally go to fund the highway patrol, which busts these sports car drivers when they're speeding.

I fail to see how an SUV/Heavy-vehicle tax is more fair.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

the two taxes (none / 0) (#594)
by Altus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:51:29 PM EST

are for different purposes.  if you want to get people to use less fuel (for whatever reasons) then you tax that.  If you want to make sure that there is sufficent money to repair the streets, and these huge SUVs are causeing a significant amount of the damage, then you use an excise tax.  Now if you wanted to do both you could just raise the gas tax.

of course the idea of the article was to make driving SUVs undesireable, the excise tax does that nicely without affecting non SUV drivers.  thats not realy what I am looking to do though.  I am mostly concerned with road conditions (being a motorcyclist and living in New England which, due to its environment, has roads that wear out quickly, a problem which is made worse by heavy vehicles)
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

i always forget something (3.33 / 3) (#31)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:10:40 PM EST

i meant to add that, despite my ranting and raving, when it comes time for my wife to get a new car, i want her in a SUV. she's driving a very, very low to the ground Saturn, and it gives me the creeps to see her drive next to an SUV where the bumper is waaay above the hood of her car.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
Yeah (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by BLU ICE on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:20:25 PM EST

I drive a Nissan Sentra. It gets 40 mpg and it is a wonderful car. The only problem is that I get nervous when driving next to one of those fuckers in an excursion. I might get an SUV the next time I buy a car, just so I can compete with the big boys.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Sentra vs SUV (none / 0) (#264)
by Hai Etlik on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:25:22 PM EST

I used to drive a 1987 Sentra and was side swiped by a tractor truck (without trailer). I didn't take any injuries (despite the impact being on my door), though the car was a write-off. They may not be all that big, but they are tough cars.

[ Parent ]
You're kidding, right? (3.33 / 3) (#51)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:31:48 PM EST

I know you want safety for your wife. But you're just adding to the arms race, don't you see that?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

what choice do i have, really? (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:45:31 PM EST

i said i wanted her in an SUV, not necessarily that it was going to happen. i happen to luckily have the financial means to put her in whatever car she wants (okay... there's limits, so "reasonably wants"). she wants the new hybrid Honda Civic. we'll probably end up compromising on something like a Passat or Volvo, whatever has very nice safety ratings. if VW brings the TDI engine into the Passat in the US, i'll be pitching that to her.

both of her best friends drive SUVs. hell, nearly everyone i know it seems is getting an SUV this year.

i'm looking for future federal safety ratings categories, like: "car v. SUV rear collision", "car v. SUV front collision", and "car v. SUV side collision". car makers will want to do very highly on such ratings to warrant my business.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

What I'm looking forward to ... (none / 0) (#101)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:57:44 PM EST

... is when all those SUVs go to the scrap yard, or up for sale cheap in the next few years.

I'll have enough parts compatible with my truck that I'll be able to keep it going forever. And, the thought of a 32-valve DOHC 5.4L fuel-injected V8 in a roadster lights my fire. :-)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

If you care at all about 'saftey'.... (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:43:35 PM EST

They you should look at what's actually safer, as opposed to 'bigger'.

The Saturn's have a higher government crash test rating then most SUVs. Meaning she is more likely to die in an average SUV then in a Saturn L. A standard Volvo car is much safer then an SUV because they are designed to optimize safety
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Saturn's safety (none / 0) (#788)
by patina on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 07:55:25 AM EST

My wife chose a Saturn in part because of their safety ratings.  They perform very well in frontal collisions.  However in side-impact crashes they don't fare so well.  The test used by the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) involves ramming a 3015 lb. barrier into the side of the car. I assume that all tests set the barrier to the same height, because the data isn't broken down.  Regarding the side crash tests the NHTSA says "Head injury is not measured in these tests" (source). Jeeze, I feel kind of sick.

Can somebody post some encouraging data on the Saturn, please?


[ Parent ]

SUVs SUX (3.00 / 1) (#196)
by sigwinch on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:33:55 PM EST

i meant to add that, despite my ranting and raving, when it comes time for my wife to get a new car, i want her in a SUV. she's driving a very, very low to the ground Saturn, and it gives me the creeps to see her drive next to an SUV where the bumper is waaay above the hood of her car.
Safety isn't just about surviving crashes, it's about not getting into them in the first place. That means:
  1. Good visibility from the driver's seat. Including mirrors, blind spots, defrosters, and area cleared by wipers. The earlier you can see something happening, the better off you are.
     
  2. Low center of gravity. Many (most?) SUVs have a pathologically high center of gravity, and are surprisingly easy to roll over. Especially if you live where there are cliffs or deep drop offs, don't get an SUV unless you truly understand roll over. (True understanding means you will run over a dog rather than try to dodge it at cruising speed.)
     
  3. Suspension. A good suspension helps keep even pressure on the tires, which improves emergency braking and maneuvering. SUVs are notorious for their poor suspensions. (Some have solid rear axles with leaf springs. Philistines.) The suspension is somewhat irrelevant though: nothing can compensate for a center of mass that can easily lift a tire off the ground.
     
  4. Brakes. SUVs often don't brake well, although this isn't universal. At the very least try to get one with four wheel disc brakes and antilock.
     
  5. Power. Strong acceleration can get you out of some accidents before they happen, and makes passing on a two lane road much safer. But the big SUVs are so massive that it takes a monster engine to get good acceleration. So you either have to pay well over $35k for a big V8, or you buy a "cheap" underpowered SUV. Whereas a sedan with awesome acceleration can be had for $25k.
     
  6. Parking lots. SUVs are obnoxious to maneuver because of their large size.

If you want a larger vehicle that can take more punishment, I'd recommend a minivan. They're fairly tall and heavy as vehicles go, but they tend to have much lower centers of mass than SUVs, as well as better suspensions. They also tend to be cheaper, get better mileage, and they're very practical.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

I guess my Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn't apply ... (none / 0) (#234)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:36:21 PM EST

Good visibility from the driver's seat.

Check.

Low center of gravity. Many (most?) SUVs have a pathologically high center of gravity, and are surprisingly easy to roll over.

Check. I've done some extremely hard cornering with it ('94 Grand Cherokee Ltd) and don't think I've lifted a side yet. :-)

Suspension. A good suspension helps keep even pressure on the tires, which improves emergency braking and maneuvering.

Check. The only way I'd have better is to go with an air-suspension so I could auto-level. Although it may be time for some repairs here, as cornering is getting kind of dippy.

At the very least try to get one with four wheel disc brakes and antilock.

Check and check. "At the very least" ? What do you want, air brakes and an anchor?

Power.

non-check. :-( 4.0L i6 with 280k-km on it. Short of a rebuild there isn't much I can do to get more power out of it. If I had the money I would look in to putting a V8 into it because my acceleration sucks. I'm certain that's the age and style of the engine though, as the inline 6s were designed for low-end torque and I've got that to spare.

Parking lots. SUVs are obnoxious to maneuver because of their large size.

Sort-of check. That's one thing I sorely miss about my Jeep Cherokee Pioneer -- I could do 360s in a 2-lane street without straining the power transmission. In this vehicle, though, I have to do a 3-point turn, or drive about 2.5' on to the curb/lawn.

So anyway... By your measures, is my '94 Grand Cherokee an SUV or not? I've got most of your safety features. And air and pillowed-leather. :-)

You're absolutely right about the minivans; we also have a '99 Transport SE and that thing is great. Pontiac made one snotty little vehicle when they made* the Transport. And it's silent -- I've never been inside a quieter vehicle. And one of the best features is the "interior light kill" switch so I can get out and grab a paper or something and not wake the kids by opening the door and releasing the Spanish Inquisition lights. :-)

* - The Transport and Venture are identical in every way, and the Montana is just a Transport with a creature comfort package -- who actually makes this vehicle?



[ Parent ]
In all fairness... (2.00 / 6) (#36)
by Raunchola on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:20:03 PM EST

A car driver who is involved in a side-impact with an SUV is 27 times more likely to die than if it had been another car.

When we cross, no, make that shatter the 5-ton mark, what then about the safety of the family of 4 driving along in their Corolla? What then about the 50 gallons of gasoline they burn driving 500 miles?

Here we go again...the old "LARGE SUVs WILL KILL PEOPLE IN SMALLER CARS!" argument.

I won't deny that large SUVs can inflict some major damage in an accident. But you know what? So can a large truck (like a Ford F-350 or Chevy 3500), a tractor trailer, or even a train. Fact is, you get a large vehicle in a crash with a small vehicle, and the large vehicle will win. By this simple fact, does anyone think we should ban large trucks and trains?

I'm no die-hard SUV cheerleader (although I'll admit I do own a 1991 Explorer), but this is just a false argument. You wanna say that the SUV craze has gotten out of hand? I'll agree wholeheartedly...real off-road vehicles don't need leather seats, 21" alloy rims, DVD players, or On Star. Unless you're an off-roader, work in construction, live in a remote or snowy place, or haul trailers (among other things), get a station wagon or one of those Subaru Outbacks.

But big vehicles will always win in a crash with a small vehicle. Find a better argument.

Well, the point is... (4.25 / 4) (#41)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:23:32 PM EST

Half of all the cars sold today are not pickup trucks, semis, or trains.

If this guy is right and there is a trend of people buying large SUVs for saftey resons then that's a really rediculous argument.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Pickups the new SUV (none / 0) (#237)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:38:03 PM EST

Half of all the cars sold today are not pickup trucks, semis, or trains.

I don't know about that; I am seeing a lot of large F350 and so on trucks on the road...



[ Parent ]
missing one thing (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:29:13 PM EST

the article was also about the trend of people moving to SUVs, specifically to avoid being the smaller fish. people are not buying more and more Ford F-350 trucks instead of Honda Accords, they are buying more and more Land Rovers and Excursions. people are going to buy trucks, and drive trucks. this article was attempting to be about people who would be buying cars, going and buying SUVs instead. i didn't want to get into the classic "soccer mom driving the SUV" argument, but i guess here i am.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with the argument at all! (4.00 / 3) (#55)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:35:40 PM EST

I don't see where you've disproved the argument, or made it invalid, or anything really. In fact, you've agreed with it. So what's the problem? The argument is sound and backed up with data. Now, knowing that, we also know that the real problem is that there are so many SUVs on the road today. Every single one increases the danger of driving on the road if you're in a normal sized car. You talk about banning trains, but I don't see trains driving down the highway next to me at, comprising a quarter of the traffic. You also talk about large trucks, but again, I've been driving for 11 years, and I've never seen the population of oversized trucks being nearly the problem that the population of SUVs has become. So what's wrong with the argument again?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

I know that (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by Raunchola on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:34:01 PM EST

I don't see where you've disproved the argument, or made it invalid, or anything really.

That's because I didn't disprove or invalidate it. All I'm saying is that if you're going to use the "SUVs are big and kill people in little cars!" argument, you can just as easily apply it to any big vehicle. If you don't like SUVs because of their size, more power to you. But saying we should ban them because of their size alone is ridiculous and just plain silly.

The problem is not the vehicle, it's the driver. The reason why you don't see as many truck or train-caused accidents is because the drivers of said vehicles are usually specially trained to handle them. And there's a lot of people out there behind the wheel of an Excursion or a Suburban who don't know how to properly handle a vehicle of that size. That's the problem.

If you ask me, anyone who drives a mammoth SUV should have to go through some sort of special licensing. Some of these SUVs are nearly as big as a passenger van, and since some states require a commercial endorsement on your license to drive a passenger van (my state, Pennsylvania, does anyway), then why not a large (Excursions, Suburbans, etc.) SUV? I think it'd be a good idea.

[ Parent ]
Agreed, but... (none / 0) (#85)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:40:33 PM EST

You're still overlooking the sheer number of these things on the road.  We're just talking statistics here.  If there are x number of accidents every year, and 25% of the cars on the road are SUVs, I would assume an even distribution of accidents involving SUVs, so there would be .25x accidents involving SUVs.  Since the likelihood of death is increased when an SUV is involved, that adds up to a whole lotta killin'.  If you reduce the number of SUVs, you reduce the fatality risk.  That simple.  Like I said, the main reason there are fewer train fatalities is that there are fewer trains, and they don't drive on the road in rush hour.  Yes, they are trained drivers.  Actually they're professional drivers.  People on the roads are average citizens.  The comparison isn't really there.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

SUVs are considered cars, though (4.33 / 3) (#64)
by Osty on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:43:58 PM EST

I won't deny that large SUVs can inflict some major damage in an accident. But you know what? So can a large truck (like a Ford F-350 or Chevy 3500), a tractor trailer, or even a train. Fact is, you get a large vehicle in a crash with a small vehicle, and the large vehicle will win. By this simple fact, does anyone think we should ban large trucks and trains?

But an SUV (even the big-ass huge Ford Excursion or Chevy Suburban or Cadillac Escalade) is considered a car, not a truck (well, actually, in many places SUVs are classified very oddly -- they only have to meet the emission standards for trucks, but they're licensed as a car and not a truck). In general, I expect someone who has a truck (especially someone with a large truck like you mentioned) will know how to drive it, because most likely they have it for a reason (ie, some form of work -- farm working, hauling stuff around, towing a boat for the suburban factor, etc). I'm scared of the soccer mom and her 5 brats in the Suburban, blowing by me on the interstate at 80mph, while applying make-up, feeding the kids cheeseburgers, and just plain not paying attention at all to what in the hell she's doing. Then again, I'm also one of those "people in smaller cars".

Unless you're an off-roader, work in construction, live in a remote or snowy place, or haul trailers (among other things), get a station wagon or one of those Subaru Outbacks.

And if you are an off-roader, construction worker, someone who lives in a remote or snowy place (I've been there before, and normal sedans were good enough for us, only breaking out the F-350 diesel when things got really bad), or a hauler of things, buy a truck. You'll get much more utility from a truck than an SUV if you're someone who would actually use such a vehicle.

But big vehicles will always win in a crash with a small vehicle. Find a better argument.

There's a difference between "winning" in a crash and "taking the head clean off of the driver of the smaller car because your bumper is 2-3 feet too high". Even vans (minivans or otherwise), arguably "large" vehicles, have sensible bumper heights. Why can't SUVs? Anyway, when you start talking about the huge SUVs (as mentioned in the article, the 7700lb Escalade), those really should be classified as small semis, and not large cars.


--

NoPopIE, Internet Explorer popup killer (win2k/xp only, for now).


[ Parent ]
Actually.. SUV's are considered "not trucks&q (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:19:52 PM EST

They don't fall under car or truck classifications on the road.  So they're "lumped" in with cars, but legally they're not bound by safety regs for cars For instance, see the 5 mph bumper safety test that all cars must pass.  (The car must take the impact without damage)  SUV's aren't classified as cars so they don't fall under that requirement... SUV's failed miserably.

[ Parent ]
Interesting side note (none / 0) (#137)
by rantweasel on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:10:21 PM EST

And if you are an off-roader, construction worker, someone who lives in a remote or snowy place (I've been there before, and normal sedans were good enough for us, only breaking out the F-350 diesel when things got really bad), or a hauler of things, buy a truck.

It's getting much much harder to find a work truck, given the SUV trend.  All of the luxury car options are getting stuck in pickups and SUVs, which means that a contractor buying a pickup either a) spends an absurd amount of time searching or b) gets leather seats and a CD player, even though they will get trashed in short order due to it being a work truck.  It's not as much of an issue with serious work trucks as it is with large pickups, but it's still just plain silly.

mathias

[ Parent ]

the weight issue (none / 0) (#489)
by tomkarlo on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:10:55 AM EST

It's not that we're saying you should get rid of all trucks. There are valid reasons people need big vehicles. All we're saying is that cthose vehicles tend to be more dangerous when they hit another car.

But the number of people who have those reasons are a tiny fraction compared to the consumers who buy SUVs simply because they feel like it.

Nobody's arguing that we should get rid of trucks -- just that their should be disincentives for their casual use.

[ Parent ]

Win? (none / 0) (#739)
by tekue on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 08:02:14 AM EST

[..] big vehicles will always win in a crash with a small vehicle [..]
What do you mean, win? Like, "kill the other driver"? You consider a situation when you kill, or severly injure some other person as a "win"? If that case, you're a (to-be) murderer, and at the very least should be examined by a certain professional.

If not, the phrase you were searching for was "get less damaged".
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Opinion of a Former SUV Owner (3.75 / 8) (#45)
by catseye on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:28:23 PM EST

I used to have a 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee... I loved it. It was high enough off the ground that I could handle any of the crappy roads in my crappy area... I could haul family+cargo+dog+whatever with no real issues. It was having mechanical problems that would cost more to fix than just put a down payment on a new car, so I replaced it, but not with another SUV. I couldn't find anything I liked under about $28k, so I got a 2001 Camaro... which I also love.

Now, for the comparison... There are some roads in my town that I can no longer travel on with the camaro; the bottom scrapes or I'd probably break an axle one of the ruts or potholes. I just don't go down those roads with my new car... if I have to do so, I take my fiance's pickup truck.

I'm limited in the amount I can carry, but since I've gotten all my gardening done and we don't need any more furniture, that's not so much of an issue any more. I could fit a few computers in there if I had to, but now that I no longer have an SUV I'm not asked to haul around things.

I must say that I definitely felt safer in my SUV. And no, it's not some bullshit inferiority complex thing. I felt that if I did get into an accident in the SUV, my chances of surviving were higher. In the Camaro... well... I'm hoping I'm fast enough not to get hit by the all the 1 and 2 ton pickup trucks we have here in Texas. ;) I've already had to make some serious evasive maneuvers to avoid accidents already.

The biggest problem I see is visibility from the side. In my low sports car, I've almost been merged into a number of times by large trucks simply because when they look to the side, the top of my car is below their line of sight. They just can't see me. Yes, my car is unusually low, but a friend of mine who has a Saturn experiences the same problem.

SUVs and trucks are not going away, nor should they. Ford, for example, is starting to make hybrid electric SUVs and trucks, as well as alternate fuel vehicles. The technology is there, and soon the market will be there for large vehicles that are both safe (for the occupants anyway) and efficient.

I'm all in favor of different licensing requirements, however. Different classes of driver's license with extra training/testing for anyone who wants a large vehicle makes sense, and might cut down on the number of accidents caused by large vehicles merging into smaller ones, large vehicles doing damage to themselves and personal property because the driver can't handle something that big, etc.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?

another option... (4.00 / 3) (#57)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:36:36 PM EST

instead of the camaro (which if you like a camaro, this are probably not considered an option as it is just a bit slower :)

a hatchback like a VW golf, but put on 17 inch tires and raise the suspension a few inches. sure, it's some work, but it gets me around the potholes and speed bumps without bottoming out.

viola. you've got room for dogs, computers, etc, you're not bottoming out, and if you go for the TDI version you've spent 17K and you're getting 50 mpg. not to mention you can still tow your Sea-Doo to the lake or beach.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Yeah, but... (2.25 / 4) (#95)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:49:57 PM EST

That would suck.

Now, instead of an SUV, you've got a tin-foil micro-van, riced (but not quite), tall (but not quite), roomy (but not quite), with good ground clearance (but not quite.)

Affordable, yes. But you'd look like a goon driving one.

Me, I like my F250, thanks. ;)

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

And... (2.50 / 2) (#98)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:54:01 PM EST

When you ride in a Volkswagen, it is like driving with Hitler.

[ Parent ]
Uh... (none / 0) (#172)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:50:08 PM EST

That would defeat the purpose of having a sports car, the low center of gravity.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Flags, anyone? (none / 0) (#161)
by sjl on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:34:24 PM EST

The biggest problem I see is visibility from the side. In my low sports car, I've almost been merged into a number of times by large trucks simply because when they look to the side, the top of my car is below their line of sight. They just can't see me. Yes, my car is unusually low, but a friend of mine who has a Saturn experiences the same problem.
For some reason, I have this vision of people sticking flags on poles onto the side of their cars -- the same way that children do when they're riding a bike.

All I can say is, thank $DEITY that SUVs aren't seen very often (if at all) on Australian roads. My poor Vectra wouldn't stand a chance. (As for my Giant Prodigy, well, I think I'll be sticking to the trails rather than the road if ever SUVs take off in .au land...) Actually, if they did take off, it'd be a sure sign that it's time for me to find another place to live. Antarctica, perhaps..

[ Parent ]

of cars and SUVs (none / 0) (#737)
by Chakotay on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 05:43:46 AM EST

Well, in your case, the fact that you had an SUV is very reasonable. You needed it because of the road conditions in your area. But by far most SUVs won't ever see any off-road or even bad-road activity.

Also, aside from the fact that SUVs are much more likely to cause mortal accidents than cars, there's also the problem that they have a higher centre of gravity, and are thus more prone to rolling over, with all problems that might arise from that.

When I visited the US some two years ago (Richmond VA), I was surprised by the great number of SUVs and trucks on the road. The person I stayed with drove a Saturn. For European standards, a pretty big car (about the size of a Renault Mégane), but amidst all those heavyweights, it's damned small.

Another interesting thing to note is that in Europe the development is going exactly the other way. People are buying smaller and smaller cars. The Smart is ofcourse the epitamy of this. Here in France (and in the Netherlands, my country of origin) you can perfectly safely drive a Smart, a Renault 5 or Clio, or, in my case, a little '92 Ford Fiesta Success. In the US, with a car like that, I would definitely not feel anywhere near safe.

That being said, as soon as I have the money for it, I'm going to buy a bigger car. Not that I want a bigger car per se, but for the fact that my Ford Fiesta doesn't have a third seat belt on the rear seats, and we have three kids, so often one of them is unprotected... I realise that all too well, so I always respect my safety distance (and more) and the speed limits (at least, I hardly ever go more than 10km/h over the speed limit, so I go with the flow of the other traffic) to minimise the chance of a frontal impact if anything does happen.

Returning to the hypothetical situation of me driving that Ford Fiesta in the US, with the three kids in the back. If an SUV were to slam into my back (something that I would not be able to prevent by being extra cautious), its bumper would slam right through my rear window, and into the heads of my kids. Not a very pleasant idea... So, to protect my children from such unpreventable events, I would also have to buy a big car, or even an SUV, which is exactly what the article above is about.

What car I'm thinking of buying? Any car with a bit of a mapuka (arse) and a third safety belt in the back, like a Renault 19, because here, luckily for my wallet, there's no Car Wars going on.

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

[ Parent ]

Car Wars (3.50 / 8) (#48)
by xah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:28:56 PM EST

Isn't the situation kind of like Car Wars? The bigger the car, the more aggressive the driving. Got a tailgater? It's more and more likely to be someone in an SUV. Sure, some evil people drive SUVs. But most SUV drivers are good natured people. It's just human nature to drive more aggressively when there is no cost to you. If you are in an SUV, are speeding, and crash into someone, the worst you'll probably get is higher insurance premiums, even though the person could be disabled for life or dead.

It's really a shame that the good civic nature of Americans has been taken away by those gas guzzling monsters. Pretty soon we'll all have to drive them, or pickups, or tanks, because most cars will be SUVs, and SUV drivers won't be looking out for anything smaller than an SUV. It just won't be safe to drive a sedan anymore. It's damn depressing.

How many Fiestas do you see? (4.33 / 3) (#67)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:46:02 PM EST

Or Geo Metros?
Nissan didn't even bother marketing the Micra in the US...you do see these small cars, but in nowhere near the numbers you find in Europe or Asia.

My point is the US has *always* been the place for large cars. The SUV craze is just a natural progression of the American car buying mentality - bigger, better, stronger than before! There was a slight downtick during the energy crisis in the 70s, but that's about it.

I think that's a shame. I love my Subaru; very practical car, but I can't control for other people's stupidity, and in a meeting with an SUV I'll come off worse. So to be safe, logic says I *should* drive a bigger car - I know I can drive OK, and it puts me in a better position to survive the idiots. But emotionally, I don't want to.

[ Parent ]

Definitely a problem... (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by seebs on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:20:08 PM EST

I have seen wayyyyy too many people in big trucks drive like that.  I am one of those annoying people who won't go more than 5-10 mph over the speed limit most of the time, and I spend a lot of time with cars edging up behind me.

Actually, I don't.

I spend a lot of time with SUV's and trucks edging up behind me.  I'd guess that it's about 80-20 SUV's vs. cars, even though the general population is about 50-50.


[ Parent ]

It's mass they want, huh? (4.55 / 9) (#50)
by Shren on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:29:46 PM EST

I can start a buisness designing and building aftermarket weight modifications for SUVs. What to call them... Ron's Aftermarket Mass Subsystem. Yes, buy one of my R.A.M.S. now and add two tons to the mass of your SUV! Decimate anyone so foolish as to get in your way! Act now and we'll install a complimentary nitrous system, for that kick of speed necessary to make sure that you come out ahead! And, for a limited time only, we'll wire the nitrous system to a proximity detector, so you'll automatically accelerate to ramming speed the instant before any collision!

Ron's R.A.M.S.! Make your own road!

Actually.. (3.50 / 2) (#109)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:10:53 PM EST

You're kidding, but you can get your SUV armored for a "modest fee".. usually the modifications will add a couple tons, but they will do suspension and engine work to compensate. Now, shh, don't tell anyone..

[ Parent ]
The plural of 'anicdote' is not 'data' (2.16 / 6) (#52)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:33:12 PM EST

Perhaps if you actually had more then one data point this article might be worth posting. As it is, it's just not. If you had some real info on why people choose to drive SUVs I would vote for it it.

it just irritates me no end when people take one event and extrapolate all kinds of stuff from it.

Your friend is a prime example. Not all SUVs are safer then cars, in fact some are more dangerous.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
making the point (3.50 / 2) (#58)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:39:23 PM EST

Not all SUVs are safer then cars, in fact some are more dangerous.

very, very true. my friend knew this, but bought the SUV anyway, because she was more afraid of other SUVs hitting her in a car than any amount of added danger by driving an SUV herself.

and if you'll look at some of the other comments, i think you start to accumulate data that people are buying SUVs for the sole reason of protecting themselves from other SUVs.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Sure it is. (none / 0) (#315)
by roju on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:03:13 AM EST

A couple points re: "The plural of 'anicdote' is not 'data'".

a)  Take any data set.  Each individual datum is nothing but an anicdote.  Together, the anicdotes add up to data.  To say any collection of anicdotes is useful data would be wrong, but to dismiss every collection of anicdotes is equally wrong.  Using your example at the end: not all sets of anicdotes are useful data does not imply that no sets of anicdotes are useful data.
b)  Using an anicdote to illustrate or give example to an argument is perfectly valid.  He's not (I hope) claiming that his one friend's story explains the whole phenominom, he's using it for any number of reasons: people like stories; it helps illustrate his point; it proves that he's right in at least one case; it provides a good jumping off point for discussion; it's the reason he wrote the article in the first place and he's providing background; so on, so forth.  The anicdote by itself does not prove the argument, but it strenghthens it.
c)  K5 is a discussion site, not a scientific journal.  While posters should try to construct good arguments, starting a discussion is of value in and of itself.  Then again, maybe it should have been op-ed.
d)  Must posters to /. and k5 keep posting that?  We've all heard the damn quote.  Yeash.

[ Parent ]

My experience with BIG vehicles (4.33 / 9) (#59)
by jethro on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:40:07 PM EST

I really haven't driven that many BIG vehicles. I've rented vans and trucks for moving (twice), got a Jeep Cherokee once cause the rental place was out of sedans, and drove a big pickup to get stuff from Home Depot.

Sure, being high up was fun. I also realized why people in SUVs are such dicks - the blind spots on the Cherokee were GIGANTIC. When changing lanes I had to pretty much signal and HOPE.

The bigger turcks/vans - thos just sucked. They handle crappily, they're uncomfortable, you can't see behind you, they have lousy pickup, and God help you on icy roads.

I normally drive a Pontiac Grand Prix which is on the verge of being too big. We also got a small hyundai Elantra, but my wife always gets it first. She likes it because it's so small and zippy. Can't do 0-60 in 6 seconds like the GP, but it's a hell of a lot easier to get in and out of tight spots.

I do work with a guy who wants to buy a big pickup, because "When someone hits me I want THEM to die!"

Dick.

--
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is kinky.

You need to be experienced with big vehicles (4.50 / 6) (#93)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:46:20 PM EST

I have two vehicles: a 1985 1Ton Suburban and a 2000 Buick Regal GSE. Driving the Suburban is not that hard; you just have to remember you are driving a big assed truck. You can see behind you and in blind spots, but you need to have your mirrors adjusted and be mindful of those spots. You also need to give people more room and not be in a rush. I drive the Buick differently then I drive the Suburban. I think that is the main problem with SUV drivers; they don't realize they are driving SUVs. They are in 'Small Car' Mode.

[ Parent ]
Yes (3.00 / 3) (#120)
by RandomPeon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:38:28 PM EST

I used to ocassionally drive a very large vehicle as part of a job. I never drove it enough to get used to the thing, and was an absolutely terrible driver in this monstrosity. It didn't help that I only managed to get 15 minutes to practice driving the thing before I had to actually use it to get somewhere.

[ Parent ]
Practice (4.00 / 1) (#224)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:16:54 PM EST

Semi-truck drivers are very good at driving big vehicles. They are able to drive these massive machines with relativly few accidents. I worked at a truck stop when I was in college and I learned from how the guys there drove their trucks. (I think there should be a special license for big SUVs, like Denalis and Excursions, but smaller ones, like blazers and rav4s, should be a regular license)

[ Parent ]
You've got to be kidding me (4.66 / 3) (#241)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:45:17 PM EST

also realized why people in SUVs are such dicks - the blind spots on the Cherokee were GIGANTIC.

Learn to adjust your mirrors correctly. I have my mirrors adjusted in my '94 Jeep Grand Cherokee such that my blind spots are two narrow strips directly against my vehicle. Step a foot away from either side and I see you. My insurance agent taught me how to adjust them properly, maybe you should find out how, too, instead of blaming the vehicle.



[ Parent ]
I tried (none / 0) (#869)
by jethro on Wed Aug 21, 2002 at 11:08:20 AM EST

Probably too late for you to notice this now, but hey (:

This was aJeep Cherokee, not a Grand Cherokee. Don't know if that matters. I played with the mirrors the entire 2.5 hour drive, and could never get them to be really useful.

--
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is kinky.
[ Parent ]

It's possible in practically any car [N/T] (none / 0) (#872)
by tzanger on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:12:50 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ford Explorer (3.66 / 3) (#60)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:40:26 PM EST

I'm pretty sure that the Ford Explorer, not the Excursion, is the top-selling SUV in the US. Actually, I'm positive that it isn't the gigantic Excursion - I actually haven't seen that many of them on the roads. Even the SUV drivers think they are too big and unwieldy; it's based on the F-250 truck's frame.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
i was just paraphrasing/quoting from the article (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:49:42 PM EST

The Excursion is the SUV most in demand. from the Los Altos Online article i linked to. maybe being "in demand" doesn't mean "best selling". if i actually said "best selling" then i was at best not reading carefully.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Hah! Los Altos! (none / 0) (#233)
by phliar on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:35:45 PM EST

"The Excursion is the SUV most in demand" from the Los Altos Online
No surprise! Los Altos is the poster-child for all the monster SUV soccer moms talking on cell phones. It's an upscale part of Silicon Valley where the median house price is probably well over a million dollars. Normal people will probably have to think a bit before they drop $40,000 on a vehicle.

One time waiting at a light a vehicle pulled up next to me. I looked to my left to see that its bumper was level with my head. It was a Ford Excursion, of course. I drive a VW Golf.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

It's still a truck. ;-) (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by MightyTribble on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:55:26 PM EST

I had the opportunity to drive a 2001 Explorer last year, in the same week as a Chevvy Impala (and my usual Subaru). I prefered the Impala to the Explorer, even though there was a primal joy in being *higher* than the plebs in their little sedans.

The Explorer was noisier, handled worse, got worse gas mileage, and was less comfortable than the Impala. But it weighed more, cost more, and was bigger. ;-)

So frankly I'm surprised people buy them at all. It must be excellent marketing and some kind of primal tree instinct.

[ Parent ]

Explorer (none / 0) (#100)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:57:38 PM EST

I agree with you that it's a noisy gas guzzler. Those don't seem to be selling points for the SUV market, though. They will pay more for an SUV that gets worse mileage and doesn't handle as well due to the safety benefit. Also you get all that space without having to drive a minivan. It's worth noting that the Explorer is an old style, stiff-handling SUV.. there are newer SUVs and faux-SUVs that I think are much better, if you must buy a large vehicle. The Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, Subaru Forester, and Ford Escape are all pretty good for SUV-shaped vehicles (I'd consider most of them cars).

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Curiously (none / 0) (#182)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:04:08 PM EST

The two-door, two wheel-drive Ford Explorer has one of the highest driver-fatality rates of any passenger vehicle.

<p>Perhaps this is because it is so popular?

[ Parent ]

The SUV Equalizer (3.23 / 26) (#62)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:41:52 PM EST

It's too bad that it would be illegal, but I'd like to install long, thick metal poles to the front and read of my car that point upwards at an angle, so in an accident the poles would be jammed right into the windshield of the SUVs that crash into me. It would be elevated enough that it wouldn't affect regular sized cars. Only vehicles that were as high off the ground as SUVs are. I would then paint the words "The SUV Equalizer" on these metal poles... Well, I can fantasize can't I.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz

Why would this be illegal? (2.50 / 2) (#110)
by ROBOKATZ on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:14:30 PM EST

Really, what are they going to do? Just make up an excuse to have them and don't show intent to cause harm :)

[ Parent ]
I guess, (none / 0) (#284)
by Verminator on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:09:45 PM EST

With and orange flag on the end you're good to go, that's all I've ever needed hauling long things around on top of cars, as long as it's got a flag it can stick out as far as you want.

(Please don't take this as legal advice, I'm totally full of shit.)

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to misery, misery links to Satanosphere.
[ Parent ]

Well I would have opted for napalm flamethrowers.. (none / 0) (#402)
by Gray Ghost on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:28:12 AM EST

With sensors to deploy them when one of them is riding up on your ass too close and flashing their high beams. And the name "SUV Equalizer" is a tad cliche. "Bimbo Box Vaporizer" would be more appropriate I think - to steal a phrase from Neal Stephenson.

Pretty funny comment though....add my name to your wall of infamy. Off to give that sucker a 5!

[ Parent ]
A government-aided trend (4.00 / 4) (#65)
by RyoCokey on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:44:48 PM EST

The best thing to do for the "arms race" would be to close the CAFE standard loop-hole. Or abolish the CAFE standard. One could make a good argument for either, especially as the modifications made due to this rule have had some rather deadly results.

Myself, I'm looking to get one of those ugly looking rams installed on my car, to compensate for the height difference. In even low speed accidents, having their bumper hit your right in the radiator can have some serious repercussions.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
NM about the grill guard (2.00 / 1) (#89)
by RyoCokey on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:42:37 PM EST

Turns out they cost more than my vehicle is worth. I just don't see myself telling my insurance company that.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
Deadly results misleading (none / 0) (#170)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:43:42 PM EST

The problem with that article and all those like it (from the same guy) is that they measure the after-impact results of vehicles of different weights.  It does not take into account that larger vehicles have a lower chance of avoiding an accident in the first place.  It presupposes the accident has already happened.  It is entirely possible for overall accidents to decline because of increased manuverability but for post-accident deaths to rise because of weight reduction for a net drop of deaths overall.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
question (3.00 / 1) (#201)
by adiffer on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:45:33 PM EST

Is this like the motorcycle argument?

Isn't there a flip side where the lighter vehicles have the option to accelerate out of an accident situation?

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Pretty much, yeah (none / 0) (#207)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:52:53 PM EST

It is the motorcycle argument.  It is also the airplane argument.  Accidents on those vehicles are rarer but when they do happen they hurt more.

Just as an aside to let'cha know where I'm coming from I've riden motorcycles ever since I was of legal age to do so.  Driven cars 6 months after that because I had to.  I was a long-haul truck driver.  I've pretty much driven every class of vehicle commonly found on the US highways aside from coach busses and even then it is iffy since I did once drive a 30' motorhome which is pretty much the same thing.  I know full well what it is like being in both extremes of the spectrum.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

Class Warfare and Anthropomorphizing SUV's (3.06 / 16) (#69)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:48:14 PM EST

Listen to yourself. Your 'friend was struck by an SUV'? No, her sheet-metal go-cart Honda Accord was struck by the SUV, she just happenned to be in it. Is this a nit? Normally, I would'nt point out a distinction like this, because normally it is just a nit. However, there is an inclination among many people (often not a deliberate one) to give human qualities to SUVs, and the consistant result is to characterize them as inherently bad or evil.

What this boils down to is that SUVs are symbols of evil rich white men (and their soccer-mom country club wives), and the helpless lower classes are run over roughshod in their measely little honda civics and daihatsu charades.

First of all, SUV's are no more dangerous than any other car in an accident except for the fact that any other car won't be as solid as most SUVs. You see, in the past 30 years we've gotton railroadedinto buying progressively less safe cars. We may have airbags and crumple zones, but what we still lack is an overall rigid force-transferring structure which has the ability to absorb an impact. In order to make cars more fuel efficient (as mandated by the US Federal gubment), carmakers have switched to lighter constructions. The result is that cars nowadays are basically tin-foil stretched over monocoque unibody frames. We save gas, but at the expense of lives.

The exception to this is the truck. Trucks were exempted from these regulations initially, because their function is different. SUV's, as being derived from trucks, were by extension exempted. The result is that nowadays trucks while approaching reasonable emissions are far safer than cars which meet or exceed them.

When I had my Nissan (albeit a light truck), I got an average of 22 MPG. BUT, I also had a solid steel frame running the length of the vehicle, and that steel construction likely saved my life in March of 2001 when some jackass ran a red light and I slammed into him doing 50 mph. He to had a truck, and technically we both walked away (though the lungful of azide in inhaled from my airbag caused me to collapse after five steps and cough up a lung). I now drive a Ford Focus. It only gets 23 mph, in spite of being 4 years newer and 650 lbs lighter. After a cursory review of it's construction, I have decided that no matter what way I get hit, I'm fucking dead.

It's the big bad SUVs everyone worries about. The status symbols like Expeditions and Suburbans. Nobody is complaining about the highly affordable SUV's, and everybody assumes that people only buy these things new. The fact of the matter is, the SUVs aren't unsafe. The cars they run into are unsafe. The car industry needs to be encouraged - or more precisely, given license in the form of fuel-consumption credits - to develop more robust passenger compartments featuring roll cages and integral side impact deflection methods. Quite honestly, the car I and most people of my income level drive is just as likely to have me die in it if I get hit by a Toyota Corolla as opposed to an Excursion.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
wrong, wrong, wrong. (4.60 / 5) (#74)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:57:00 PM EST

First of all, SUV's are no more dangerous than any other car in an accident except for the fact that any other car won't be as solid as most SUVs.

the data i linked to clearly pointed out that it was the SUV which caused the deaths. "equally weighted cars would have resulted in 2000 fewer fatalities" the study showed. it is the height and position of the SUV which is most to blame for SUV on car fatalities, not the "poor manufacturing quality" of the cars.

just as likely to have me die in it if I get hit by a Toyota Corolla as opposed to an Excursion.

as the data points out, wrong: you are "27 times more likely to die" from the SUV than the car.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Simple solution: (1.00 / 4) (#86)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:41:15 PM EST

Get an SUV, and stop whining.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

how constructive (none / 0) (#158)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:31:50 PM EST

Get an SUV, and stop whining.

yup, that's exactly the kind of constructive discussion i was looking for.
--
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Glad to be of service [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#247)
by beergut on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:54:23 PM EST


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Right right RIGHT! (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:03:08 PM EST

the data i linked to clearly pointed out that it was the SUV which caused the deaths.
Thank you for proving my point. It was the SUV that caused the deaths. Not the failure of the other vehicle to protect its occupant, not the wrecklessness of the drivers of the SUV, but the evil SUV itself.
as the data points out, wrong: you are "27 times more likely to die" from the SUV than the car.
Unfortunately, the meat-puppet reading the 'data' is the one making the statement. What the data also shows is that conventional cars are 78 times more likely to not kill the occupant of an SUV. So an SUV is simply safer for it's occupant than a passenger car (as designed today) is for it's occupant.

What are you missing here, with your biased and unthough-out assertions? A car is supposed to be designed to protect it's occupant in the event of a crash. It is not at all meant to protect the occupant of a car it is crashing with.

Would you like to play again?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
As a physics major.. (4.60 / 5) (#121)
by EggplantMan on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:40:29 PM EST

I feel obligated to comment on this rubbish you're spewing about steel framed vehicles. The entire point behind the way cars are engineered today for crash purposes is to transform the kinetic energy of the colliding vehicles into deforming the vehicle's structure; saving people from rattling around like peas in a tin can when they're hit. With a steel frame the occupants are exposed to sharp impulses, which means large forces. For example, would you rather jump from a building onto concrete, or onto a trampoline? The same applies to car crashes.

[ Parent ]
Well, Thanks But No Shit... (1.00 / 2) (#150)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:23:17 PM EST

...someone who had actually read this article would have seen where I noted this already. Other than being a blowhard, what did you want to contribute to the discussion?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
where? (none / 0) (#219)
by aspartame on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:11:34 PM EST

Exactly where, pray tell, do you note the fact that what you originally said about steel frame construction is actually a steaming pile of crap?

--
180 times sweeter than sugar
[ Parent ]
He didn't. (none / 0) (#353)
by Torka on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:46:04 AM EST

And he knows he didn't, which is why he won't reply to your post.

[ Parent ]
I Haven't Replied... (none / 0) (#601)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:04:15 PM EST

...because I have a life. Try unplugging your pimple-faced pasty assed self from the computer and get some sun once in a while. Check out a movie, meet a girl, get laid.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
*snigger* N/T (none / 0) (#667)
by Torka on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:30:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
What Was Noted... (none / 0) (#603)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:05:26 PM EST

...is that the steel superstructure of a car is designed to absorb the impact thus protecting the occupant. Or maybe I need to explicitly explain to morons like yourself the idea behind "crumple zones".
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Silly (none / 0) (#688)
by aspartame on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:36:55 PM EST

I didn't ask "what was noted", I asked where.

Also, for the record, please acknowledge that the "steel ladder" frames that most heavy trucks are built on do not absorb much impact at all. Therefor, the fact that you were driving such a truck did not actually save your life. Your seatbelt and airbag saved your life.

--
180 times sweeter than sugar
[ Parent ]

Wrong Again (none / 0) (#708)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:25:54 PM EST

Your initial troll was falsely based, which is why my reply did not directly address your statement.

As for my accident (which you know nothing of so you're full of shit in making any judgements about it), my seatbelt was the only source of injury, as the inertial latch didn't engage until the airbag slowed me. I had severe swelling in my strap and across my chest (which was kinda cool).

Meanwhile, the ladder frame - in spite of whatever you're thinking - does absorb energy and thus protect the occupants. Or perhaps you don't think that significant energy was consumed when the frame was so warped that the truck bed was offset 3 inches from the cab. Or perhaps it should be noted that the impact zone ceased where the frame connected to the engine mounts. As a matter of fact, it didn't *look* that bad. Compare and contrast how my truck looked in a 50 mph collision compared to the average passenger veheicle that has a semi-offset front collision at that speed, and you'll see why monocoque unibody construction is largely crap (unless you own a Volvo, Benzo, or Audi).
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I looked at your linked picture (none / 0) (#841)
by Curieus on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:11:57 AM EST

and i must say it actually looks very good.
Sure the engine part is crumpled, but do you see the windshield? It is undamaged. This indicates that the cabin construction only has minor damage.
Ergo: The crumple zone worked as designed.

[ Parent ]
The pavement... (none / 0) (#245)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:51:21 PM EST

For example, would you rather jump from a building onto concrete, or onto a trampoline?

The pavement; I don't have to worry about escape velocity. :-)



[ Parent ]
Uhmmm... (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by WegBert on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:06:32 PM EST

What the data also shows is that conventional cars are 78 times more likely to not kill the occupant of an SUV. So an SUV is simply safer for it's occupant than a passenger car (as designed today) is for it's occupant.

But, as the statistic says, that's passenger cars crashing into SUVs. If that were the only strike against SUVs, it'd be a fine argument. Everyone could go and buy an SUV, and we'd all, presumably, be much safer because SUVs are, according to you, inherently safer by design than passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, it is not. There are other compelling reasons NOT to own an SUV, such as gas consumption, other environmental concerns, and price, all of which are reasonable objections. If indeed a driver of a passenger vehicle, in a collision with another passenger vehicle, is 27 times safer than he/she would have been were that other car an SUV, shouldn't that too be a compelling arugment against SUVs? Can you argue that SUVs are not endangering drivers of passenger vehicles? Maybe a good response is to increase the safety of passenger vehicles; but that can only close the gap, can't it? Maybe down to 5 times more likely to die, if hit by an SUV? Could we ever make it no more dangerous for a passenger vehicle to be hit by an SUV than another passenger vehicle? If it is impossible to make passenger vehicles as safe in an SUV crash as in a passenger vehicle crash, the SUV should be designed with passenger vehicle safety in mind, rather than forcing people to use SUVs or give up safety.

Finally, responding to the safety of SUVs, I have some questions that are by no means rhetorical. How are they in crashes with other SUVs? What is the overall safety of passenger vehicles on a road, were that road primarily occupied by passenger vehicles? How does that compare against an SUV in a world of SUVs?



[ Parent ]
I suppose we should level the playing field... (none / 0) (#152)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:23:58 PM EST

And make sure the SUVs are as inherently unsafe as the average passenger car then?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Where? (none / 0) (#194)
by WegBert on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:28:09 PM EST

And make sure the SUVs are as inherently unsafe as the average passenger car then?

Sorry, but what did I say that implies such a conclusion?

As far as I can read into my own argument, I only said that assuming there exist compelling reasons to choose a smaller car over an SUV (and I do believe such reasons exist) AND assuming that passenger vehicles cannot, from an engineering perspective (which I do not claim to have), be made just as safe to drive on a road where SUVs are in increasing number over passenger vehicles, the SUV has serious flaws that need to be considered. Is that untrue? It certainly is my belief that being (considerably?) more dangerous to other drivers is a flaw, rather than a feature or an unavoidable side effect.

Perhaps when I said "SUV should be designed ..." I made too broad of a statement. Obviously, it would be just as silly to make SUVs significantly less safe. But have we exhausted the possibility that SUVs can be modified to make them safer versus other passenger vehicles without significantly damaging their own safety? I did not intend to claim that we should go ahead and make SUVs unsafe to make passenger vehicles safe. I do believe that slight concessions are acceptable, IF ALL ELSE FAILS, but those concessions in safety of the SUV would have to be slight and the gains in safety for the passenger vehicle significant to make it a reasonable change. I certainly don't claim to know if such a solution exists, though...



[ Parent ]
What is Safer? (none / 0) (#599)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:02:40 PM EST

SUV's are no more or less inherently safe than their drivers. Ironically, if size had anything to do with it, we'd be talking semi-tractor trailers as well.

The fact of the matter is that people are entitled to whatever car they want. If someone chooses an SUV, they do so knowing that the SUV more precisely provides what they need in a vehicle. One such trait is safety.

I wonder. How many SUV to Volvo or SUV to Mercedes Benz passenger car tests were done? How many people died in accidents with Volvo and Benzos? I would rather buy a 10 year old Volvo or Benz knowing their safety record than a brand new Honda Accord.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
HELLO? (none / 0) (#165)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:37:38 PM EST

You're already 6 times more likely to die if hit in the side by another car, even if it's smaller. You're 20 times more likely to die if you hit in the side by a 'bigger' car, then yours.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
sure, i'll play (3.00 / 1) (#138)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:11:34 PM EST

A car is supposed to be designed to protect it's occupant in the event of a crash. It is not at all meant to protect the occupant of a car it is crashing with.

think your assertions through. logically, we'll all be driving tanks at 10 mph, because tanks are very well suited to protecting their drivers.

also, if you designed your car to be very safe for you, but with jagged edges pointing out to rip through other cars... you'd be very, very liable for their deaths even if you weren't the cause of the accident.

some care has to be given on the thought of the car manufacturer as to the damage his/her car will do to other cars in an accident.

What are you missing here, with your biased and unthough-out assertions?

i'm sorry i'm so stupid, and you are so smart. it must be very boring for you to be surrounded by idiots.
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[ Parent ]

Logic Failure On Your Part, Not Mine (2.00 / 2) (#169)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:43:18 PM EST

think your assertions through. logically, we'll all be driving tanks at 10 mph, because tanks are very well suited to protecting their drivers.
Tanks are well suited to destroying other tanks. The armors job is to protect the occupants from collisions with artillery rounds, not other tanks. That was logic failure number one.
also, if you designed your car to be very safe for you, but with jagged edges pointing out to rip through other cars... you'd be very, very liable for their deaths even if you weren't the cause of the accident.
If cars were designed this way, then no shit. However, there is nothing about the design of an SUV which is intended to make it more effective at killing other drivers upon collision. For this non-sequiter, I am calling you out on logic failure #2
i'm sorry i'm so stupid, and you are so smart. it must be very boring for you to be surrounded by idiots.
Actually, it's rather entertaining...much like the way my dog tries to attack the vacuum cleaner.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
sins of omission, negligence, and liability (none / 0) (#175)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:51:35 PM EST

firstly, logic and making sense are not my strong points...

However, there is nothing about the design of an SUV which is intended to make it more effective at killing other drivers upon collision.

if gun makers can be held accountable for not making their product safe (it's a gun! it's not supposed to be safe!) for kids to play with... then by failing to design the SUV with regard to safety of other drivers on the roads it is intended to drive on is at best stupidity, and at worst, grossly negligent.

i look forward to your picking that one apart, because i know it is full of holes. but this is fairly entertaining, also. like attacking a vacuum cleaner.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Issues of Wholesale Stupidity (none / 0) (#597)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:56:10 PM EST

if gun makers can be held accountable for not making their product safe (it's a gun! it's not supposed to be safe!) for kids to play with... then by failing to design the SUV with regard to safety of other drivers on the roads it is intended to drive on is at best stupidity, and at worst, grossly negligent.
A gun is designed to shoot bullets into things, usually with the intention of causing great injury. The fact that gun companies were sued for "making an unsafe produce" at all is completely exemplary of tremendous stupidity and the inability (on the part of lawyers) to comprehend the concept of "individual responsibility").
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
i should have known better (none / 0) (#628)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:06:12 PM EST

than to use the gun argument -- i also think it suing because the gun is dangerous is retarded -- but it does happen.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
>sigh< (none / 0) (#147)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:20:54 PM EST

it is NOT 27 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE.

Your death rate is 27-to-1 if you're in a passenger car and hit by an SUV.

Your death rate is 20-to-1 if you're hit by a "heavy" (undefined term) car.

Your deah rate is 6-to-1 if you're hit by another car!

The goofy part is that if you actually READ YOUR OWN DATA, you'd see that the death rate is 47-to-1 if you're hit by an SUV and you're in a YUGO!!! (<2500 lb car)

[ Parent ]

No, you read the data wrong. (4.00 / 1) (#163)
by delmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:35:22 PM EST

If an SUV hits your care in the side, you are 27 times more likely to die then the driver. If another car hit you in the side, you are 6 times more likely to die then the driver. Thus, SUVs are only 9 times more dangerous then cars, not 27.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Muaa! My turn to be a nit! (5.00 / 4) (#112)
by randinah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:16:13 PM EST

When I had my Nissan (albeit a light truck), I got an average of 22 MPG. BUT, I also had a solid steel frame running the length of the vehicle, and that steel construction likely saved my life in March of 2001 when some jackass ran a red light and I slammed into him doing 50 mph.

Hehe, you didn't run into the jackass, you ran into his car!

It's fun to shove technicalities on people, isn't it?


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
Touché (4.00 / 2) (#168)
by thelizman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:43:08 PM EST

If you're going to nit, do it right...
Hehe, you didn't run into the jackass, you ran into his car!
No, I ran into his TRUCK...
It's fun to shove technicalities on people, isn't it?
...only when it reveals deep flaws in their thought processes.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
In a word... duh!!! (2.00 / 2) (#166)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:37:40 PM EST

Lessee....

>When I had my Nissan (albeit a light truck),
> I got an average of 22 MPG.

...

> I now drive a Ford Focus. It only gets 23 mph,
> in spite of being 4 years newer and 650 lbs
> lighter. After a cursory review of it's
> construction, I have decided that no matter what
> way I get hit, I'm fucking dead.

For starters, a "cursory review" means jack.  There are scientists and engineers who test and study these sorts of things.  And I do believe that most of them release those results to the public.

But your comparison is flawed from the outset!  You're comapring a product of Japanese engineering; built by a company that actually committed itself to TQM practices; to another detroit-built POS, put together by barely-trained monkeys who couldn't care less about the quality of their work, the quality of the product, or the value delivered to the customer.  And not just ANY pack of detroit-sters, but the same shit-for-brains losers that: brought the world the pinto; put a 4-cyl engine in a "muscle car"; and KEPT USEING FIRESTONE TIRES!

You want a better comparison?  Compare two vehicles of similar quality; a Nissan vs. a Nissan, or a ford vs. a ford.  But a Nissan vs. a forf?  OF COURSE the Nissan is going to mop the floor with the lemon.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

I'm sorry (none / 0) (#250)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:56:25 PM EST

and KEPT USEING FIRESTONE TIRES!

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this statement. Firestone and Ford got slapped pretty fucking hard over this. I would wager that Firestone tires are now one of the safest tires out there because they know damned well that people will be watching them.

... he says as he looks at the Firestone-rebranded tires on his SUV...



[ Parent ]
Some mechanics (4.00 / 1) (#235)
by RandomPeon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:37:15 PM EST

When I had my Nissan (albeit a light truck), I got an average of 22 MPG. BUT, I also had a solid steel frame running the length of the vehicle, and that steel construction likely saved my life in March of 2001 when some jackass ran a red light and I slammed into him doing 50 mph. He to had a truck, and technically we both walked away (though the lungful of azide in inhaled from my airbag caused me to collapse after five steps and cough up a lung). I now drive a Ford Focus. It only gets 23 mph, in spite of being 4 years newer and 650 lbs lighter. After a cursory review of it's construction, I have decided that no matter what way I get hit, I'm fucking dead.

Your cursory review is quite mistaken. Your Ford Forcus is designed to deform when it hits something. The front end is supposed to crumple. Yes, your car is designed to be easier to total. The kinetic energy you have when you hit something has to go somewhere - either into deforming the car or flying all boucing all over the place. With a highly elastic steeel frame it will go into bouncing all over the place. (Yes, steel is very elastic.) And you'll be dead. Your new car is designed to stop and take a hit, which is far safer. Furthermore, the most deformable part of the body is located between you and the engine. I you do 60 to 0 in 0 seconds in your Nissan you may end up with the engine in your lap. Modern cars are designed so this doesn't happen.

[ Parent ]
What You Don't Know Can Kill You (none / 0) (#612)
by thelizman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:38:49 PM EST

All fine and dandy when I'm rear ended by someone doing a reasonable speed. Unfortunately, as the discussion had covered side impacts, a quick lovetap to my door will kill me. There is nothing but sheet metal in that door.

Whatever, move along...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Happened to me (none / 0) (#720)
by RandomPeon on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:04:31 PM EST

The door will also deform. Trust me, a drunk running a red light hit my relatively new car smack in the driver side door. I was doing about 10, she was doing 50-60 or so and I walked away. It was actually pretty cool to look at the deformation that occurred. Furthermore, their front end also deformed rather dramatically, which is what's supposed to happen. Both vehicles stopped moving instaneously when we hit. People who buy 3-ton all-steel behemoths are the ones who make this process not work the way it's supposed to. If this whino had owned an SUV my vehicle would have taken nearly all of his kinetic energy and converted it a nice little crushing force on my car, instead of his front end and I'd be dead.

Of course, we could all drive huge steel vehicles and having nearly elastic collisions every time, but then every crash would have a good chance of turning into a multi-car pileup.

[ Parent ]
Different function? (none / 0) (#443)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:46:12 AM EST

Trucks were exempted from these regulations initially, because their function is different.

WRONG! Yes, real commercial trucks with commercial plates and fully licensed drivers serve a different function, but those aren't SUVs. People use SUVs exactly like they use passenger cars. I see them every day on the way to work, on the way to the grocery store, at campgrounds, wherever, being used for exactly the same function as regular passenger cars. Owners even call their SUVs "the car" most of the time. It makes no sense to exempt SUVs from passenger-car standards when they are direct substitutes for passenger cars.



[ Parent ]
Simple... (4.29 / 17) (#72)
by curunir on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 04:54:55 PM EST

Make SUV owners responsible for the repercussions of their actions.

In cases where the accident is the fault of the SUV owner and the person in the other car is killed or injured, the settlement should be grossly multiplied unless the SUV owner can demonstrate that they must have an SUV for some reason (live in an area where 4WD is necessary, for example). If they have simply chosen an SUV for non-essential reasons, that shows gross negligence and should be punished accordingly.

This will force insurance companies to charge much higer premiums on SUV owners which will discourage people from driving SUVs.

I also like the idea of having a separate class of drivers license for driving an SUV. Vehicles that large require a higher level of responsibility and there should be extra training so that people can handle that responsibility.

Oh goodie... (3.33 / 3) (#173)
by Tetsubeav on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:51:06 PM EST

Jesus Christ. It's the "How dare anyone buy an automobile that I don't approve of, therefore I feel the need to legislate their car off the road" mentality. Howsabout this? Let me buy whatever the hell car I want. If you die in a car accident that is entirely my fault, I'm sure there are plenty of existing laws to get me without the need of your additional "automorality legislation."

[ Parent ]
re: oh crap (3.00 / 3) (#205)
by mgblst on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:52:03 PM EST

And they say that SUV owners are more selfish. Look at this guy, wants to drive on the road and live, what a ...

Or on the other hand, perhaps he wants to prevent death! Oh what a thought.

Yes, i am a condescending prick, i am also right.

[ Parent ]

re:re:oh crap (3.33 / 3) (#242)
by Tetsubeav on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:49:41 PM EST

So, he wants to prevent death? Let's all ride bikes everywhere. Ban cars entirely. Oh, that's a bad idea? It'd cut down on deaths due to car accidents, so I'm guessing you're opposed to saving lives, eh? Now *that's* condescending.

[ Parent ]
I think it's a great idea. (5.00 / 2) (#304)
by Verminator on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:45:07 PM EST

Bicycles are the most efficient form of transportation around, and they're a hell of a lot more fun than a car. I haven't driven my car in like six months because I ride my bike everywhere.

And according to this site, the following statements are true.

The most efficient animal on earth in terms of weight transported over distance for energy expended is a human on a bicycle. The most efficient machine on earth in terms of weight transported over distance for energy expended is a human on a bicycle.


Fear leads to anger, anger leads to misery, misery links to Satanosphere.
[ Parent ]

Except.... (3.75 / 4) (#213)
by jpmorgan on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:57:03 PM EST

...I'm dead and your insurance premiums went up...

[ Parent ]
Let Them Die Off (3.00 / 8) (#78)
by bassbrnr on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:13:09 PM EST

I think SUVs are causing problems but it's not the accidents I'm concerned with. Truck drivers and female minivan drivers have the corner on the bad driver/accident causing market. What we should be concerned with is the gas consumption. However, I believe that this situation will naturally solve itself because of two opposing factors: 1) Overcompensating men and their materialistic wives insisting on larger and larger gas guzzling behemoth, Bigfoot-esque vehicles. 2) More and more problems arising in the Middle East causing higher gas prices and more of a move to hybrid cars and alternative fuels. These newer cars will be of the smaller variety, up to the size of Ford's Explorer-like mini-SUV and we will hopefully see the demise of these gargantuan vehicles. Eventually, as technology progresses, alternative fueled engines may be able to realistically handle the 4 ton cars but hopefully I'll be too old to care by then.

Oh gosh... (2.35 / 14) (#84)
by Sairon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:40:06 PM EST

get a grip. Move out of the US. please. Would you exchange freedom for security? I wouldn't. I'm living in a situation of reduced security, and as a matter of fact, in a nation nearly SUV-less. I dream and hope for the day when I can see massive Jeep Grand Cherokee's again. Why? Because I'll be in a land with enough space, freedom and low gas prices that people _can_ own one. It's quite simple my friend... If you want controls and safety, hand in your freedom and move to a more centrally controlled nation. I, on the other hand, feel that even the US is not quite free enough for me anymore... but with our current leadership maybe we can move back towards liberty again. In other words, stfu, you have no room to tell others what vehicles they may or may not own. Jared

get a grip on reality (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:49:00 PM EST

i didn't mean to say anything condoning federal involvement. i called for a discussion. spare me your libertarian rant on "rights to own jeep grand cherokees". just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. that's what i meant for this article to be about -- should we be participating in this arms race?

In other words, stfu, you have no room to tell others what vehicles they may or may not own.

what on earth are you blathering about? of course i have the room to tell others what vehicles they may or may not own, because they drive those vehicles on the same highways that my tax dollars pay for. how much of a difference is it to require a license for an SUV, than requiring a license for a motorcycle, or for a tractor-trailer?

anyways, i have the right to my opinion, you have the right to yours. but if you want your jeep grand cherokee, you'd better buy it before 2006.
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[ Parent ]

blah, blah (1.50 / 2) (#134)
by Sairon on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:03:19 PM EST

just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. that's what i meant for this article to be about -- should we be participating in this arms race?

Why not? So it's apparent you don't want to own an SUV. Who cares if someone else owns one, its their business.

how much of a difference is it to require a license for an SUV, than requiring a license for a motorcycle, or for a tractor-trailer?

Good point, lets get rid of those, too. I view the ability of Americans to drive these monster V8's as an amazing sign of our greatness in the world. Other nations can't do that. Here in Italy, the roads are too small and the gas prices too high. God Bless the day I am once again on American soil, driving my hard-earned Ford truck. Don't we already have enough restrictions on our liberties in America?

Jared

[ Parent ]
sign of greatness? (4.00 / 1) (#154)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:25:57 PM EST

I view the ability of Americans to drive these monster V8's as an amazing sign of our greatness in the world.

the ability to afford excesses, and then going ahead and indulging them, is a sign of greatness? i think the sign of greatness would be to be able to afford the excesses, and use our wealth to enrich the world entire.

So it's apparent you don't want to own an SUV. Who cares if someone else owns one, its their business.

it becomes my business as soon as that SUV is driven onto the road which my tax dollars help pay to maintain. i'm not saying outlaw SUVs. i'm saying, let's discuss ways to make it safer. ideas like requiring a special license to drive a 5000-lb truck seem to be pretty popular, and last time i checked we're still a (representative) democracy.

Don't we already have enough restrictions on our liberties in America?

yes, we do. but i guess you and i differ in the opinion that the constitution guarantees everyone the right to drive the biggest truck they can afford.
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[ Parent ]

I am a libertarian, and you both are mistaken (none / 0) (#281)
by Eight Star on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:04:54 PM EST

Being driven on the road your tax dollars pay for has nothing to do with it, no more than you have a right to dictate what god they believe in as they drive down the road.

The relevant issue is that no one has the fundamental right to endanger you, and the government can legitemately regulate the conditions under which a person may do so. Whenever someone  moves any large chunk of metal at a high speed in a public place, they are endagering the public. That is why the government must be allowed to dictate what configurations of chunks of metal are permissible, and what requirements are to be met by people operating them.

If you want to drive an SUV, you are free to do so on private property where it will not endanger me.

[ Parent ]

What does being a libertarian have to do with it? (none / 0) (#399)
by Sairon on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:19:45 AM EST

Although, you have a very good arguement.
Bravo, EightStar, Bravo.

Jared

[ Parent ]
just wanted to establish it up front (none / 0) (#441)
by Eight Star on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:45:42 AM EST

Since I wasn't making a common libertarian argument.

and Thank You.

[ Parent ]

Conentious issues (2.75 / 4) (#88)
by d s oliver h on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:42:32 PM EST

Yeah, I hate those things too, they really piss me off, and I hate the people who drive them, especially since I was almost crushed to death by one whilst out on my bicycle.
From what I have heard from my friend who has moved to the USA (to Atlanta) there is a car-centric society there on a scale well beyond anything in the rest of the world. Choosing not to own a car in America doesn't seem to be a valid option (for those who might otherwise be able to). Correct me if I'm wrong.

Depends (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by The Turd Report on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:48:44 PM EST

Most big citeis having a car would be more trouble then they are worth. I think that you can get by with out a car in most major metro areas. But, if you live in Podunk, Nebraska, you are going to need a car.

[ Parent ]
Big cities? (none / 0) (#256)
by phliar on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:06:23 PM EST

Most big citeis having a car would be more trouble then they are worth. I think that you can get by with out a car in most major metro areas.
There are very few cities in the US where you can get by without a car. Manhattan, San Francisco etc. Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, etc. no way in hell. If you're willing to ride a bicycle everywhere that opens up some of the medium size cities -- I lived in Tucson for seven years with no car because I could ride my bike everywhere. Seattle looks reasonable for a cyclist. Dallas, Houston, Phoenix etc. -- no way in hell.

Of course a point could be made (although I'm not necessarily making it) that places like Dallas, Houston and Phoenix are not really places worth living in. One of the reasons I choose to live in San Francisco is because having a car is optional.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

The next step: (3.50 / 4) (#91)
by fhotg on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:44:32 PM EST

Tanks ! Can you legally drive a tank in the US ? I mean not as a soldier but to get to work ? I'd LOVE to see that.

Not on most roads (4.00 / 2) (#96)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:50:13 PM EST

Vehicles with metal treads are illegal to drive on the road in most states. It chews the asphalt right up.

<p>

[ Parent ]

tank with rubber tracks (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by Roman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:42:03 PM EST

Easy enough. I believe in the UK you can drive a tank if you have a permit (which you can get having enough money) and if your tank has rubber tracks.

[ Parent ]
I think thats correct. (none / 0) (#253)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:03:55 PM EST

I know Aphex Twin used to drive some sort of armored personnel carrier round london. Not a tank exactly but pretty close.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Tanks, no. Armored cars, yes (4.75 / 4) (#97)
by mjs on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:51:52 PM EST

In most municipalities you would not be able to get a tank licensed for use on public roads. Lots of technical reasons but the fact is, tracks chew up asphalt faster than just about anything else. Road repairs would be -very- expensive.

Armored cars, however, are another story. It is fairly easy to modify them to come into technical compliance with the regulations. Of course, you need to remove the weapons... :) Many armored cars match or exceed the weight of many SUV's and they aren't terribly difficult to find for sale. There are reasons for this. If you thought the gas milage of an enormous SUV was hard to take, remember that in many cases military vehicals make up for lousy milage by means of a larger fuel tank.

How do I know this? In my mis-spent youth I was part of a group of odd-folks who re-enacted World War II events. We had an old M8 Greyhound armored car which was licensed for public roads. Actually drove it a couple of times but maintenance on that antique was ruinous... mjs

[ Parent ]

in the UK (4.66 / 3) (#115)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:21:22 PM EST

my wife and i recently visited the UK. leaving stonehenge, we were on the highway when we soon saw a "tank crossing sign". slowing down to gawk, when none other than an actual tank pulled onto the highway. we followed it along for about 10 minutes, then passed it.

it had a big learner's permit stickered to the back.
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[ Parent ]

Time to get (4.75 / 16) (#92)
by freddie on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 05:45:23 PM EST

A Kenworth Pilgrimage With all the features!
  • Fits under MOST bridge underpasses.
  • The first SUV to be rated in Gallons per Mile by the EPA
  • Meet interesting people while waiting in line at Interstate Weight Stations.
  • When kids do the arm signal, you get to honk that really cool air horn!
  • Get a big rush when your Firestone tires blow out.
  • Lots of road-hugging weight for occupant protection, the ULTIMATE in safety.
  • Can seat 20. Go ahead, take the WHOLE soccer team.
  • Can tow your camper, yacht, a trailer-load of frozen pizzas, or even your house!
  • Yours for under $200,000 ($100,000 for truck chassis + $100,000 standard SUV markup)



Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
Canyonero! (none / 0) (#608)
by robot138 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:32:55 PM EST

I wish I could remember all the words to the canyonero commercial from the simpsons...
e.b.a.c
a.a.r.o
s.y.t.r
t._._.e

[ Parent ]
Driving school (4.71 / 14) (#108)
by TON on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:09:33 PM EST

After many years of automobile driving, I took a riding and safety course to get my motorcycle license. It was cheap and didn't take too much time. I do credit this course with keeping me out of the hospital. People need special license amendments to drive buses or trucks, why not SUVs?

Some SUVs are getting big enough to justify a new license. I'm not sure where to draw the line; 3000 lbs, 4000, lbs, bigger than a breadbasket? I guess the point is that we have all watched the relatively new SUV driver wobble around the parking lot scaring everyone out of its path, and scowling at other vehicles in "their" lane. If 5-10 mph is a trial, what about 50-70?

A one day class on the physics of larger vehicles, the destructive power they have, and how to use a mirror and/or see over the dashboard would increase everyone's safety and make more than a few people think twice about increasing their "on-road defense budget".

Of course, a reasonable gas tax would probably do a better job.

"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis

Ted


Said it before, will say it again (4.50 / 4) (#162)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:35:02 PM EST

I think every car driver should spend 3 months behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.  My short 9-months as a long haul truck driver taught me more about the road than any car driver safety course ever did.  It taught me respect for all the vehicles on the road, large and small.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
additional class (3.33 / 3) (#199)
by adiffer on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:40:08 PM EST

Sounds good to me.  Most truck drivers have been polite drivers around me and seem to recognize bad driving when they see it.  The only concern I've had in the last few years is when they pull in too close in front of me with those trailers sporting old bars to stop my vehicle from sliding under and decapitating me.  I usually just back up, though, and let some other idiot follow them too closely.

I have a friend who took a driving class from a race car driver.  He learned how to roll off freeway ramps and live along with a few other hair raising stunts you would never do unless you absolutely had to or were insane.  I am alive today because he took that class and knew how to change two lanes, leave two skid marks and do it in nothing flat.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Actually (4.00 / 3) (#204)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:49:40 PM EST

Those bars are there to secure the trailer to the dock in cases where drivers forget to set their brakes.  Far too many forklift drivers would hit an unsecured trailer and drop 6' to a serious injury.  The rear axles do an sufficient enough job of people people out from under the trailer.  'sides, if that had been the true purpose of that bar it would have failed with my MR2 Mk. 1 and my Eclipse Mk. 2.

As for how close they come in one has to remember that most trucks have little to no acceleration.  Lots of torque, little in the way of RPMs or horsepower relative to the weight they are moving around.  Also most trucks; all company trucks are speed limited to 65mph.  They simply cannot go faster.  If a truck driver slides over close like that it is because it is the first chance he can and all it takes is one dickhead car driver to ignore his turn signals and zip into that spot to cause serious problems.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

oh (4.00 / 3) (#227)
by adiffer on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:20:51 PM EST

I've seen enough of those little cars zip into the right lane for a passing attempt to understand.  

There is one connector ramp here in town (I-5 to I-80) that merges two lanes to one and then connects with the an I-80 exit only ramp just across a bridge.  Just before we get to that exit only lane, another ramp merges from the right with traffic coming along the other direction of I-5.  It is mostly uphill after a tight turn to the left.  I'm sure the truck drivers hate it since they are supposed to sit in the right lane and merge only when they have to.  Did I mention this is all elevated freeway?  Make one mistake around these trucks and you plummet to your death while the truck dangles from the side for the traffic helicopters to broadcast on the news.  

I've learned to hang back from the trucks and sit on the lane divider to act as a screen as I go into that turn.  The truck drivers don't have much choice but to kill people on that ramp otherwise.  So...  I understand and appreciate the situation even if I haven't been fully trained.

Regarding the lower bars on the trailers, I thought I saw some TV investigative report about them not being strong enough to do what the law had originally required of them.  I have seen newer trailers sporting much stronger beams that probably would stop my pickup truck if I rear-ended one.  I've actually measured what would happen if the smaller bars failed, though.  My cab would be completely pushed under the end of the trailer before the front end of my pickup collided with the rear axle.

I'm a big fan of bumpers.  They don't do much unless that can make contact, though.

I'm an even bigger fan of accident avoidance.   As you've pointed out, training does a wonderful job of that.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

... I'm drawing a blank (2.00 / 3) (#254)
by greydmiyu on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:05:11 PM EST

I used to live up there for about 10 years and for the life of me cannot think of the interchange you're describing.  I originally thought you meant the I-5S to US50 interchange where exit to the right (Q. St.) and then drop down left under the freeway at a strong angle and pop back up.  Fun ramp on a 'cycle at 3am but doesn't have much to do with I-80 other than it is supposedly business 80 as well as I-5 and 50 at that point.

The I-5/I-80 interchange is up by Fry's, right?  Maybe if it is the southbound I-5 to the West I-80 since I never did need to take that particular ramp.  Northbound doesn't sound like that at all.  

*puzzled*

-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]

sorry (2.00 / 1) (#324)
by adiffer on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:28:55 AM EST

You're right, it is still US 50 at that point or Business-80 as I think of it.

The ramp is the one right before the Q-st exit on northbound 5.  It is a collection of lanes that split mostly east on US-50 with a couple heading west.  The west bound connector ducks under 50 and then over 5 before meeting with the southbound ramp from 5 to US-50 and then finishing on an exit only lane to Jefferson Blvd and S. River Road just across the river.

Make a wrong guess about the speed you can manage on that curve and you join the homeless under US-50.  Merge badly and you topple onto one side or the other of I-5 or fall into the Sacramento River.  It's built up well enough that it would take a collision with a truck to send you over, though.

It's a fun ramp.  8/  I used to take the S. River Rd exit every day going to work, so I got to know every bump in the road.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Speed-capped? (3.50 / 2) (#298)
by jabber on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:35:52 PM EST

What trucks are these? The semis in my area regularly pull 85, right along with the rest of the traffic.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

85? (2.50 / 4) (#372)
by greydmiyu on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:44:31 AM EST

Check your speedometer or stop driving downhill then.  As I said, most trucks, IE all the company trucks, are speed limited.  They have been for two decades now.  Company = Canon Express, KLLM, Schneider, JB Hunt, Wal-Mart, etc.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
[ Parent ]
Highway 5, CA (none / 0) (#863)
by vectro on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 12:44:38 AM EST

Traffic (including big rigs) regularly pulls 80. Perfectly flat & level highway.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
In other words... (1.80 / 10) (#111)
by avdi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:15:13 PM EST

US Citizens are being pushed to buy ever-safer vehicles.  Considering the awful toll that auto accidents inflict every year, I can only think of this as a Good Thing.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
it's a critical mass thing (3.75 / 4) (#113)
by bukvich on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:19:16 PM EST

In '99 I went to a summer school in California and was pleasantly surprised at how few SUV's were on the road, in proportion. Then I went back in '00 and the percentage had exploded. There appears to be a critical mass, where when there are enough, you have to get one just for self-defense.

Dr. Strangelove: "we cannot have a tonnage gap!"

as luck would have it (3.88 / 9) (#116)
by adiffer on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:24:48 PM EST

My mother bought an F150 because it was large enough for her to feel safer on the highways.  The next accident she got into, though, was with one of those road crew bulldozers.  Needless to say, her vehicle was large enough for that.  Luckily she survived mostly unharmed (broken rib and wrist if I remember right) and she got another big vehicle.

I plan to get one of those hybrid electric types and then make sure that the batteries will split open like ripe fruit on impact.  The spilling acid and gasoline and who knows what other fluids that will collect on the ground under both vehicles ought to be nasty enough to take everyone out.  I'll carry bleach and ammonia in the trunk too.

Maybe if I talk to my nuclear physics friends we can come up with something that will remove the neighborhood that tolerates such badly designed roads and intersections....

It's a MAD world.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.

In the future ... (3.33 / 9) (#119)
by chbm on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:37:55 PM EST

... all americans will drive converted m1 abrams at 40mph.

(now the rant)

Now really, the punishment for road crimes should be proportional to the net weight of the vehicule. I said proportional ? I meant exponentially proportional.

SUVs are a great tool to keep the Americans as the most hated people on the planet and dubya's family racking in the petrodolars. With any luck you lot will smog to death (not really, i'm just mad).

Reasonable car drivers, unite. It's time to bear arms. SUV ? Shoot Until Vestigial.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

She/You realize of course.. (3.75 / 4) (#122)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:41:09 PM EST

That any car, not just an SUV hitting her, would've spun her out of control and put her into the median.

It's fascinating how you go from safety, to wanton excess, to class warfare in the same article...

Your "27 times more likely to die" is a misstatement from the report, which is misstated by the SUV website... here's the actual quote:

http://www.hwysafety.org/news_releases/1998/pr021098.htm#table

"Deaths in car-to-pickup and car-to-utility vehicle crashes: The results summarizing the relative risks for occupants when pairs of the study vehicles collided identify particularly high-risk configurations. For all crashes between cars and pickups or cars and utility vehicles, people in cars are about four times more likely to die than people inside pickups or utility vehicles. When pickups or utility vehicles strike cars in the side, the risk of death for car occupants relative to the risk of the pickup or utility vehicle occupants dying is 27-to-1. This compares with about 6-to-1 for people in cars struck in the side by another car and 20-to-1 when the striking car is heavy. People in small cars weighing less than 2,500 pounds struck in the side by pickups or utility vehicles have a relative death risk of 47-to-1."

Check the PDF report at the above link... you'll discover that you are MORE LIKELY to die if you're in a utility vehicle and hit by a car under 2500 lbs, than if you're in another car under 2500 lbs!

interesting point to add to the discussion (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:53:39 PM EST

sorry you found my article poorly written. it took about 10 minutes, so i'm not surprised it doesn't make any sense. it's my first article and i got excited when a few people advised to put it into the vote queue.

you are MORE LIKELY to die if you're in a utility vehicle and hit by a car under 2500 lbs, than if you're in another car under 2500 lbs!

similarly, you are more likely to die if you're in a car under 2500 pounds and hit by an SUV, than if you're hit by another car under 2500 lbs. this is why things like the standard height for bumpers were brought up. when the SUV drives up over the top of the 2500 pound car, it often causes the SUV to destabilize and, possibly, roll.

so you see? safety is an issue all around when it comes to SUVs and small cars sharing the same national road system.
--
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

uh..no... (4.00 / 2) (#135)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:05:14 PM EST

First, I didn't find your article poorly written.  Merely that you were misstating quotes from an article (with a political agenda), that itself had misstated the original study, which ITSELF draws "chicken little" conclusions to its raw data.

This is not monster truck rally.  Any car, any weight, will go up and on top of a car depending on relative speed. Even if they have the SAME bumper height.  I've seen it happen.

There are also newer studies now that site the newer/lighter cars as being SAFER in an accident because of their cage construction.  (In layman's terms, they don't get crushed when hit by heavier objects).  SUV's don't have these.  So that those in an SUV are more likely to be injured than those in a passenger car.

[ Parent ]

unintended distractions (none / 0) (#148)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:22:13 PM EST

It's fascinating how you go from safety, to wanton excess, to class warfare

if i took the focus off of safety, then i did a bad job with the article. i intended to purposely leave out notions of class issues and environmental issues with this article. but alas i should have left it in the edit queue longer :(
--
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Here is what I want to drive: (4.00 / 2) (#124)
by Roman on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:47:52 PM EST

http://www.rbs.ru/vttv/99/polygon/r/btr80.htm or http://armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/Modern/btr80/ and if I ever need to cross some small canyon - http://www.rbs.ru/vttv/99/polygon/r/most.htm

that's garbage (none / 0) (#133)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:02:53 PM EST

actually, the btr80 is a piece of russian shit... you'd be lucky if you could get it out of the driveway without it breaking down. you're better of with just a regular hummer. :-)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Let's be truthful here . . . (3.88 / 18) (#126)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:51:39 PM EST

You can try to dress it up in data all you want, but the real problem most people have with SUVs (and their drivers) can be broken down into two camps:

 1. Those who have been (or nearly so) involved in an accident with an SUV where they were the 'loser.'
 2. Those who see them as a symbol of the excesses of America and its upper-class.

Let's deal with number one first. I drive an MR2 Spyder and with the exception of the occasional motorcycle or big-wheel I'm the smallest car on the road. My wife's Accord looks like a tank when she pulls up behind me. So does every other vehicle on the road. That said, I have to always remain alert and drive defensively by always anticipating the bone-headed manuveurs of those sharing the road with me. That's my personal responsibility. If you're expecting the guy next to you to suddenly swerve into your lane you won't be surprised when it happens. Instead, you'll already have a plan of escape and will be able to avoid an accident and then give him the finger.

And there's the crux of the matter: Bad Drivers. It doesn't matter where you put the idiot yacking on the cell phone while eating her breakfast, she will inevitably cause damage to someone else. The amount of damage depends not on what she's driving, but on what you're driving. As other posters have mentioned, the Federal Government's CAFE standards are to blame for the poor safety standards on today's vehicles. If GM, Toyota, or Ford had to meet fuel economy standards on a per model basis we wouldn't have 2000 lbs tin cans that fall apart in a stiff breeze. Look at a Volvo or a Mercedes, these are not light vehicles. And they are incredibly safe because that extra weight can go into safety gear. But, it's easier and cheaper to build lighter cars to bring their model lines into compliance with CAFE. The manufacturers will continue to do so until the laws are changed

Now, onto point two. This is actually a couple of subgroups. The first subgroup is easily identified by their snide remarks about over-compensation or complaints about the "pollution" from SUVs. The exhaust from your average SUV is probably cleaner than the air around you, although the distinct lack of free oxygen would make me hesitant to suck on a tailpipe. But, the detractors yell, they use up too much gas! Know what? The owners know that too, every time they fill their tanks. Last time I checked, everyone paid the same per gallon, so this results in a nice progressive tax on the rich which the the liberals should love.

This brings us to the last subgroup in number 2. Those who hate SUVs and their drivers simply because they're in the higher income brackets. These are the usual leftist and the socialist elitists who bemoan everything capitalist but are happy to profit from it. These are the busy bodies who are always worrying about how *I* spend *my* money. These are the ones who never met a tax hike they didn't like. They are the ones who'd rather see everyone miserable if it means a few aren't allowed to excel. They don't understand the Free Market and they think pulling down a six figure income has more to do with luck than hard work. There's not much you can do about these types but hope they get a job or leave academia for the real world.

a nit pick (2.75 / 4) (#130)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:58:31 PM EST

Last time I checked, everyone paid the same per gallon, so this results in a nice progressive tax on the rich which the the liberals should love.

actually the tax on gasoline is a flat tax based on usage. you don't pay increasingly more tax per gallon, the more you buy. but thanks for the idea.

the Federal Government's CAFE standards are to blame for the poor safety standards on today's vehicles. If GM, Toyota, or Ford had to meet fuel economy standards on a per model basis we wouldn't have 2000 lbs tin cans that fall apart in a stiff breeze. Look at a Volvo or a Mercedes, these are not light vehicles. And they are incredibly safe because that extra weight can go into safety gear. But, it's easier and cheaper to build lighter cars to bring their model lines into compliance with CAFE. The manufacturers will continue to do so until the laws are changed

if the choices are (a) build more fuel-efficient cars and (b) build more 10 mpg cars, i'm sorry, but my vote goes with (a). the manufacturers can also choose to build much fewer 10 mpg cars, thus allowing them the same ability to raise the weight of the 2000 lbs plastic-mobiles in safety gear.
--
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Picking your nit (3.50 / 2) (#141)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:15:11 PM EST

actually the tax on gasoline is a flat tax based on usage. you don't pay increasingly more tax per gallon, the more you buy. but thanks for the idea.

True, but they guy in the Excursion will have to pay much more per mile than I will.

if the choices are (a) build more fuel-efficient cars and (b) build more 10 mpg cars, i'm sorry, but my vote goes with (a). the manufacturers can also choose to build much fewer 10 mpg cars, thus allowing them the same ability to raise the weight of the 2000 lbs plastic-mobiles in safety gear.

You're artificially limiting your choices ( and your outlook) here. If CAFE were dumped in favor of a per model regulatory model (i.e. vehicles < 2500 lbs must achieve X mpg or better, vehicles > 2500 lbs but < 3500 lbs must achieve y mpg or better, etc.) we would see an increase in the fuel efficiency of larger vehicles (at a higher cost of course) because manufacturers would be unable to artificially meet the standards by building, for instance, an Electric  Vehicle that no one buys (cough GM cough). In fact, we'd probably be seeing more pseudo-minivan type "trucks" like the Ford Escape on the road.

I'm not really that concerned with the whole "SUV explosion" though. Sport wagons are starting to make a come back and more and more mini-vans are on the road. The market will eventually shift the other direction as owners tire of paying $50+ a week to fill their tanks (hey, double-entendre!). My big concern is the anti-achievement mentality of those who hate SUVs just because they are only available to the "rich." But thanks for the idea ...

[ Parent ]

recursive nit (1.00 / 1) (#144)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:20:14 PM EST

True, but they guy in the Excursion will have to pay much more per mile than I will.

again, but not increasingly more per each mile he drives his Excursion. that would be progressive, i guess.

My big concern is the anti-achievement mentality of those who hate SUVs just because they are only available to the "rich.

if my article came across as some kind of class warfare article (which it has been accused of), then that's my mistake, that's not its intention.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

recursively picking your nit (4.00 / 2) (#156)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:30:15 PM EST

I see your point about more per mile... You're just making things too complicated. To please a leftist the rich must pay more, which they do with lower gas mileage. Hence "progressive." Anything else is just semantics. :)

I know it was not your intention, but any discussion of SUVs will ultimately boil down to class warfare and one side calling for some sort of governmental regulation while the other groans and tries to explain the Free Market. You made it a class warfare article when you said "The rich can afford this excess, and the poor are left to drive cast-off 1992 Camrys." Don't forget, at one time someone "rich" bought that Camry. Just like the "poor" can now afford older model trucks and SUVs.

The fact is, there are plenty of vehicles on the road, large and small, that are piloted by idiots. But because the media and others like to harp on SUVs and because they are so visible (works both ways) we are more attuned to the SUV driver that almost whacks us, versus the '83 Oldsmobile. The answer isn't more laws targeting a specific vehicle class, but better driver training and stiffer penalties for poort driving (see the Great Speed Limit Debate).

HAND


[ Parent ]

I said it before and I'll say it again! (n/t) (1.00 / 1) (#159)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:33:20 PM EST

"The answer isn't more laws targeting a specific vehicle class, but better driver training and stiffer penalties for poor driving (see the Great Speed Limit Debate)."

I was going WITH THE FLOW of traffic!  ;>


[ Parent ]

Umm speed.... (none / 0) (#231)
by DoctorD on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:31:11 PM EST

I read an column in <a href="http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com">Sport Compact Car</a> about the idea behind changing the speed limits.  This changed "speed" would reflect the mass of the vehicle and it's momentum.  Therefore a light weight sports car / race-prepped car would be able to fly on the interstate, those driving huge SUV's would be regulated to a much slower speed.  Therefore since people like to travel fast anyway, they would be switching to lighter cars.  Sounds like a good idea....

Now only if Driver Training was actually good....
"If you insist on using Windoze you're on your own."
[ Parent ]

This is an INSANE idea. (none / 0) (#252)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:59:34 PM EST

I can only suppose it was meant as a joke.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Basicly right (none / 0) (#404)
by chbm on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:40:38 AM EST

In sensible countries there's limits for light passenger veicules, light commercials, lorries and buses. I just propose tweaking the mass categories a little bit.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
To please a leftist (none / 0) (#425)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:15:48 AM EST

To please a leftist the rich must pay more, which they do with lower gas mileage. Hence "progressive."

No, you'd have to make the gas tax for poorer people x% of cost, and for the rich up to 10x% the cost.

I don't believe in the fairness of "progressive" taxes. As stated, I believe the punish the success that often goes with hard work and intelligence. However, I do believe that people should get tax credits for goods usually deemed necessary, such as food, gas, housing, etc. -- up to a certain limits. This isn't completely thought out, but you get the idea.

[ Parent ]

Please, nooooooo (5.00 / 1) (#422)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:07:00 AM EST

but thanks for the idea.

No more "progressive" taxes that punish people for succeeding in life.

[ Parent ]

two points (2.50 / 4) (#140)
by xah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:14:55 PM EST

  1. If bad drivers, and not big SUVs are the problem, wouldn't you still rather have bad drivers in small cars?
  2. If SUV exhaust is cleaner than the air around you, why don't you hook up an air hose to your SUV tailpipe and breathe through that?


[ Parent ]
Two replies. (2.33 / 3) (#145)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:20:21 PM EST

  1. We have plenty of bad drivers in small cars. I can see the SUVS coming though.
  2. Learn to read. I don't drive an SUV:
 I drive an MR2 Spyder.
The exhaust from your average SUV is probably cleaner than the air around you, although the distinct lack of free oxygen would make me hesitant to suck on a tailpipe.

When you actually read the comment you're replying to, you don't look like a total dumbass when the original commenter throws it back in your face.


[ Parent ]

a rejoinder (none / 0) (#225)
by xah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:18:21 PM EST

Obviously, any SUV will do, and almost none are obviously driven badly until it's too late.

[ Parent ]
Slightly offtopic, (none / 0) (#251)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:57:54 PM EST

But the air coming out of a new Porsche 911 is cleaner than the normal air in London. Really.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

No, really, let's be truthfull (3.08 / 12) (#157)
by chbm on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:30:21 PM EST

I don't belong to any of those camps. That's were you start to fail. I think SUVs are unsafe, poorly driven and should altogether belong to the lorry class. That's the only way of keeping stupid sunday drivers away from them. You really need one ? Well, you start by buying a real ATV instead of a SUV PoS and you get a test to prove you can really drive it.
The amount of damage depends not on what she's driving, but on what you're driving.
Hello, the lesson for today is, the basic concepts of physics.
If GM, Toyota, or Ford had to meet fuel economy standards on a per model basis we wouldn't have 2000 lbs tin cans that fall apart in a stiff breeze.
My car has a net weight of 750 kgs (thats about 1500 pounds for you). It fails to fall apart in stiff breeze. Obviously, american cars are designed by lawyers instead of engineers
Look at a Volvo or a Mercedes, these are not light vehicles. And they are incredibly safe because that extra weight can go into safety gear.
A Volvo S40 weighs 1255 kgs. Obviously, there's a diference in gravity in america and europe.
But, it's easier and cheaper to build lighter cars to bring their model lines into compliance with CAFE.
And yet, american cars use more gas than european cars. Lawyers I say.
The exhaust from your average SUV is probably cleaner than the air around you,
Are you a troll ? Or just an idiot ?
Know what? The owners know that too, every time they fill their tanks.
Know what ? The price of gas in USA is ridiculously low (which accounts for SUVs and 4l engines in town cars). If your government did actually care about the environment and weren't too busy listening to what god says it's the way it blesses you'd pay at least twice as much.
This brings us to the last subgroup in number 2. Those who hate SUVs and their drivers simply because they're in the higher income brackets.
This is fairly pathetic. People who are themselfs driven by jealousy think everyone thinks like them. "ah! he says my 20l/100km engine polutes but I know he's just jealous! ah! he says i should be arrested because i drive alone in a 3 ton SUV while talking on my phone but he's just jealous of my HUUUGE car. bah, he prolly doesn't even have a celular phone. not as good as mine anyway. i guess. let's go shoping, i got a preaproved gold card on the mail today."

You're not a troll. You're just a pathetic idiot. Have a nice day.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]

You've got to be joking ... (none / 0) (#291)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:23:36 PM EST

... no one could write such a sad reply unless it was a joke or something. Where do I begin? I guess the beginning would be appropriate.

I don't belong to any of those camps. That's were you start to fail. I think SUVs are unsafe, poorly driven and should altogether belong to the lorry class. That's the only way of keeping stupid sunday drivers away from them. You really need one ? Well, you start by buying a real ATV instead of a SUV PoS and you get a test to prove you can really drive it.

Actually, it sounds like you fall easily into both. If you'll re-read number one you'll discover that you're in that camp quite easily. I can't say for certain, but it sounds like you wet yourself every time I truck comes rolling up behind you. Understand, every vehicle is unsafe. It's 1000+ lbs of metal moving at 50+ mph. That's quite a bit of energy rolling down the road. Add an idiot behind the wheel and it's a wonder that we have so few vehicle-related deaths. Moving right along, you'll see I make this point. But then you go and say something stupid . . .

The amount of damage depends not on what she's driving, but on what you're driving.

Hello, the lesson for today is, the basic concepts of physics.

I'm not really sure of your point here, but I would assume that you're trying to say that the other driver is responsible for your safety? Maybe we're just getting something mixed up in the translation. Maybe you lack a basic understanding of physics. I'm really not sure. As it is, what the other driver is driving when she smashes into you becomes largely irrelevant if your vehicles is properly secured (crumple zones, safety cage, airbags all around). For instance, an MR2 can survive a fairly brutal wreck because it has a properly designed passenger cabin. Sadly, that's not the case with the vast majority of small vehicles out there. Safety has been sacrificed for greater fuel efficiency via lighter weight.

If GM, Toyota, or Ford had to meet fuel economy standards on a per model basis we wouldn't have 2000 lbs tin cans that fall apart in a stiff breeze.

My car has a net weight of 750 kgs (thats about 1500 pounds for you). It fails to fall apart in stiff breeze. Obviously, american cars are designed by lawyers instead of engineers

1650 lbs.. but who's counting? Ironically, despite your snide comment (does it hurt to hold your nose that high in the air?) your vehicle was probably assembled by an American car company's subsidiary. Excepting your feeble grasp on reality, you should realize that the general parameters within which cars are assembled and sold within America is set by the Federal Government and the Insurance companies. The engineers then design vehicles to meet or beat those standards. FYI: "European" vehicles must also meet these standards.

Look at a Volvo or a Mercedes, these are not light vehicles. And they are incredibly safe because that extra weight can go into safety gear.

A Volvo S40 weighs 1255 kgs. Obviously, there's a diference in gravity in america and europe.

Just gravitas. And the ability to read and comprehend English. I don't believe I said anything about specific vehicle weights though. That said, 2,767 lbs for the S40 or 3,305 - 3,540 lbs for the Mercedes C-Class is not what anyone would call light. Or maybe gravity is different in Portugal?

But, it's easier and cheaper to build lighter cars to bring their model lines into compliance with CAFE.

And yet, american cars use more gas than european cars. Lawyers I say.

Is this because of some sort of magic European gas? I guess this is just another one of your wild unsubstantiated claims. Sort of like pretty much everything else you've said.

The exhaust from your average SUV is probably cleaner than the air around you,

Are you a troll ? Or just an idiot ?

Well, the Ford F-250, for instance, is an LEV. From CARB:
   LEV: Low-Emission Vehicle, new for California in 1997, car exhaust HC 0.075 gpm.
That's about 7 pounds of hydrocarbons emitted in 100,000 miles of driving. So yes, that's probably cleaner than the air floating around your average urban area. But as I said, the lack of oxygen shooting out of the tail pipe would discourage me from sucking on the exhaust. Feel free to try it though.
 
Know what? The owners know that too, every time they fill their tanks.

Know what ? The price of gas in USA is ridiculously low (which accounts for SUVs and 4l engines in town cars). If your government did actually care about the environment and weren't too busy listening to what god says it's the way it blesses you'd pay at least twice as much.

So, we're bad becuase we don't tax gas enough? Or do you just lack an understanding of free market economics? Should the oil companies charge more? I thought they were eveil and should shrivel up and die? Except, of course, the ones that liberal europeans buy their cars from. Also, what does god have to do with it? Are you so upset you're having trouble typing? Or are you just an idiot that can't construct a proper sentence?

This brings us to the last subgroup in number 2. Those who hate SUVs and their drivers simply because they're in the higher income brackets.

This is fairly pathetic. People who are themselfs driven by jealousy think everyone thinks like them. "ah! he says my 20l/100km engine polutes but I know he's just jealous! ah! he says i should be arrested because i drive alone in a 3 ton SUV while talking on my phone but he's just jealous of my HUUUGE car. bah, he prolly doesn't even have a celular phone. not as good as mine anyway. i guess. let's go shoping, i got a preaproved gold card on the mail today."

I'm actually pretty happy driving my little sports car, as mentioned in the first post. You must have missed it though, seeing as it was a
    hyperlink
. I also have a couple of credit cards, but no balance on them. And in a couple of days I'm closing on a house. Would I like a bigger house? Yes. A cooler stereo? Mmmhmm. I'll earn enough eventually to have those things. It's called earning the things you want, not jealousy. Jealousy is getting upset at someone becuase of the kind of car you think they drive. But, it's pretty obvious that you fall quite easily into category two also. This would preclude any intelligence on your part so I won't comment any further on your embarassing grammar and spelling.

You're not a troll. You're just a pathetic idiot. Have a nice day.

I have a sneaking suspicioan I've been trolled. After all, no one could be as dumb as you are and still figure out how to post on K5. . . Of course, I've been wrong before even if it was just once.

[ Parent ]
But I'm blessed by God, damn it. (none / 0) (#398)
by chbm on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:12:00 AM EST

but I would assume that you're trying to say that the other driver is responsible for your safety?
No, I'm saying you should get around sometime to read a 7th grade physics book.
But now that you mention it, if you ever get squashed by a 40 ton lorry, it's your fault buddy. Or so you say.
your vehicle was probably assembled by an American car company's subsidiary.
you mean, like Renault ?
LEV: Low-Emission Vehicle, new for California in 1997, car exhaust HC 0.075 gpm.
Horrah for propaganda. Never mind hydrocarbonets are the least of a car exaust.
So, we're bad becuase we don't tax gas enough?
Yes

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
Okay, what car? (none / 0) (#421)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:05:13 AM EST

What Renault ways 750kg. Base Clio? Old R5?

[ Parent ]
Twingo (none / 0) (#452)
by chbm on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:01:36 AM EST



-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
I like those (none / 0) (#485)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:07:03 AM EST

Except for the minor point of the stupid door handle, they are quite appealing. But I just checked, your weight's 840kg empty.

[ Parent ]
Way to go (1.00 / 1) (#442)
by DigitalRover on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:45:52 AM EST

You managed to avoid directly addressing every point I made. Is it tough to drive with your head so far up your ass?

To reiterate:

 - Your safety is your responsibility. Either get out of the trucks way or ensure that you're adequately protected. No one cares about their own hide as much as you, so don't expect us to try and save you from your own choices.
 - Taxes are a way to maintain infrastructure, not enforce your opinions about what others should be allowed to do.

This has to be a troll ... You're like a caricature of the typical European leftist: completely void of logic and totally unfamiliar with the concept of personal responsibility.

[ Parent ]

CAFE and safety (4.00 / 1) (#211)
by frankwork on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:55:04 PM EST

I'm not sure I buy your argument on CAFE standards and safety.

At the risk of repeating myself, a car that is considered currently consider "light weight" would weigh around 2000lbs. (unless it was made by Lotus). Looking back over the history of CAFE and before, you'll see that light cars have always weighed around a ton.

The difference is that heavy (passenger) cars now weigh less than they did before CAFE. This makes a certain amount of sense, since there is more to be gained by increasing the fuel economy of cars that a) are more popular and b) use more fuel. If you take a look at the influence of CAFE on passenger car weight, it has generally "compressed" the range of weights to have a standard deviation of around a thousand pounds.

I see a couple of solutions to this:

  • A single CAFE standard including the "light trucks" that are really used as cars. This would presumably expand the trend of compressing vehicle weights to SUVs and minivans.
  • Legally treating light trucks as trucks. This could include restricting on-street parking privileges to certain areas, requiring observance of the "Truck" speed limit, or restricting trucks to the right lane(s) on freeways. A grandfather clause would probably be in order.
There is also the European solution to this, which is perhaps oddly a much more market-based approach than the US one: raise fuel taxes. This is of course what the automakers keep saying they want. I say "saying the want" because they're pretty sure it's never going to happen (which has some interesting parallels to the current push for fuel cells).



[ Parent ]

Improving/Replacing CAFE (none / 0) (#303)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:44:15 PM EST

To be honest, it's late and I don't have numbers in front of me so I'm not going to make any commentary on trending in vehicle weight and safety. Please forgive me.

CAFE though, needs to be replaced or seriously reformed. As it is, manufacturers are not motivated to improve the fuel economy in large vehicles if they can meet CAFE standards by building super-light SULEVs or a handful of ZEVs. Rather than trying to impose the ridiculous notion of an average fuel economy across a manufacturer's line up we should be looking at individual models within the lineup. Vehicles within a specific GVW and/or total engine displacement should be required to meet a) certain emissions requirements and b) specific fuel economy numbers. I know I sound like a leftist here, but CARB, which "leads" the other states in emissions regulations, has become a platform for politcians to grandstand on and a breeding ground for bad ideas (CA's ZEV initiative, for instance). In a nutshell, it's becoming irrelevant. Without a strong state to lead the way in vehicle emissions regulation the Federal government needs to lead, for the time being. And at this point in time, I don't expect the manufacturer's to behave responsibly when the bottom line is ultimately affected. Today's corporate climate has demonstrated that company officers lack the ability to look beyond the short term.

[ Parent ]

Socialist Luxury Cars (3.25 / 4) (#215)
by meehawl on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:08:39 PM EST

Look at a Volvo or a Mercedes, these are not light vehicles. And they are incredibly safe because that extra weight can go into safety gear ... These are the usual leftist and the socialist elitists who bemoan everything capitalist ... They don't understand the Free Market

Volvos and Mercs are designed by companies run along what you would probably identify as "socialist", by employees and management incredibly attached to the EU model of spending on social benefits rather than military build-up, and they kick the arse of any American luxury car, both in safety and in sheer style.

That must piss you off a lot.

Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com
[ Parent ]
It probably doesn't piss him off at all (4.00 / 2) (#249)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:55:48 PM EST

Because Volvo is owned by The Ford Motor Company and Mercedes-Benz is owned by none other than DaimlerChrysler

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Daimler Chrysler (4.50 / 2) (#389)
by hovik on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:36:05 AM EST

DaimlerChrysler is a German company. Germany is actually in europe. Volvo was bought about two years ago because Ford made too crappy vehicles in that segment. The Volvo truck division is still swedish.

[ Parent ]
All those Vs (none / 0) (#642)
by meehawl on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:34:35 PM EST

Volvo? I meant Volkswagon. So sue me!

Extract from The World We're In:

Volkswagen should be a basket case. It makes cars and trucks in high-cost Germany, has a highly unionised workforce who work a 28.8 hour week for up to £23 an hour, and its largest shareholder is the state government of Lower Saxony, owning 18.6% of the company's shares. Its directors only have a small number of share options, and its chief executive is paid less than £700,000 - a tiny fraction of the £22m and £15m made by his opposite numbers at Ford and General Motors. The total value of stock options available to every VW employee in 2000 was £1.2m: when Jacques Nasser lost his job as CEO of Ford, he had over £11m of unexercised share options alone. Worse, its shareholders voting rights are limited to 20%, so the company can neglect to promote shareholder value, allowing it to become schlerotic and uncompetitive.

There is scarcely a canon in the conservative free-market rulebook that Volkswagen does not offend. Yet Volkswagen remains Europe's largest car maker and has increased its market share from 16% to 19% since 1993 - largely at the expense of Ford and General Motors. Even in the US, its market share has jumped by 2% over the same period. It is the most internationalised car company in the world. It has revived the near-bankrupt Czech car manufacturer Skoda. Its Passats and Golfs, redesigned VW Beetle and range of new cars are the envy of its rivals. Its engineering prowess and innovativeness are streets ahead of its American competitors. But according to the predictions of American conservatives, none of this should be happening. It should be down and out.

Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com
[ Parent ]
MR2's and SUV's (5.00 / 1) (#262)
by krkrbt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:14:46 PM EST

hey, you still have a chance in the small-car vs. big-car contest..  This is my MR2 (a 1991 - slightly larger than yours) three years ago yesterday (wow - the aniversary passed, and I didn't even realize).  This was the SUV (running a red light) that I hit.  So the lesson is that it's all in the timing.  :)  if I'd been t-boned instead of doing the t-boning, I could've been dead, but as things turned out, she got a precautionary trip to the hospital, and I got a nifty story & some cool pictures to share.

[ Parent ]
Wow (2.00 / 1) (#292)
by DigitalRover on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:28:21 PM EST

You kicked that truck's ass. It looks like you had a nice MkII. Going to get it repaired?

Look on the bright side: It could have been much worse.

[ Parent ]

$5.5k in damage (3.00 / 1) (#313)
by krkrbt on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:56:47 PM EST

...  Yeah, it was fixed.  There are some recent pics in the directory with the accident pictures.  'jspec-wing??????.jpg'.  My mkII's in okay shape, it needs some engine work, a new interior [non-heatwarped dashboard], and an accurate odometer.  Carfax could've been my friend, but I was a cheap-ass, and didn't check until it was too late. (odometer is missing at least 90k miles)

[ Parent ]
Come on over across the pond (4.00 / 2) (#420)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:01:02 AM EST

And we'll get together. :)

You wanna see a small car? I'm usually eye-level with the wheel well on an SUV. (BTW, the MR2 was in the running for the Elise purchase)

[ Parent ]

You missed visibility as a point (5.00 / 1) (#528)
by Karmakaze on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:12:04 AM EST

I drive a CIVIC coupe. It's not the tiniest car on the road, but, well, I get to park in the "compact cars only" space at work. And I'll grant you, it's a lot bigger than your Spyder.

The fact is, on a road covered in SUVs, I can no longer see anything.  Increasing following distance doesn't help.  

Let's say I'm trying to make a right turn. I pull up to the intersection and try to see if the road is clear. A monstrosity decides to turn left. I have to wait until the road is clear for the left turn and the monstrosity leaves, because there's no way to pull forward enough to see whether my way is clear. If I pull up, the monstrosity pulls up, and do not tell me it's because he can't see past me.  I learned to drive on a Ram van - I know how a large vehicle handles.

If I am on the highway, I would need to back off four to five times farther from an SUV than a car to see traffic ahead.  Why?  Because you can see through the windows of most cars.  Especially at night, you can at least see the glimmer of headlights.  SUV's are walls, especially the ones with the tinted windows.  

Sure, 18-wheelers block visibility, too, but truck drivers generally know they block your view and there are a lot fewer of them. On a four-lane highway, 18-wheelers rarely leave the right two lanes, leaving room for car traffic to flow around them.

I've been driving for a decade and a half now, and the routes I drive are not appreciably more crowded, but they are more unpleasant. What has changed is the distribution of cars. SUV drivers are by and large selfish and inconsiderate.  They want their illusion of safety at the expense of everyone else on the road.

Sure, I'm not going to get into an accident because there are more SUVs on the road.  I'm perfectly capable of driving defensively.  But I do have to work a lot harder at it, and face more frustration.
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

The "I don't care about the air" campaig (4.00 / 6) (#129)
by bouncing on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 06:57:37 PM EST

In Boulder, someone started running around slapping bumper stickers on SUVs reading "I don't care about the air" -- well, that campaign has caught on, and has its own website.

How about a new campaign: "I don't care about other drivers." That seems to be also true. Just as surely as SUVs pollute the air, they abstruct the view of other vehicles, are a general safety hazard on the road, and contribute to road rage.

if I ever caught (3.66 / 3) (#171)
by techwolf on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:49:22 PM EST

someone putting one of those on my big ass truck I would use those stickers to tie them to my fucking bumper. It is about choice and the right to make a choice. I say iof you want an SUv fine go buy one, if not then don't, but do not tell me what I can and cannot drive.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Interesting this line you draw... (4.00 / 3) (#198)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:38:50 PM EST

... after all, we tell you that you can't buy a nuclear weapon. We tell you that you can't drive a tank down the road. We even tell you how fast you can drive a SUV, and what features such as lights and brakes that it must have. So why is it that this right to buy an SUV is sacrosanct? In what part of the social contract is that right enshrined? Seems like a rather arbitrary place for the line which marks the boundary of things which society can ask of the individual.

If there is a case to be made that all those are special, have you considered that you should look around for a case that might be made for SUVs, the taxation thereof, or maybe their requiring a special license?



[ Parent ]

That reminds me... (none / 0) (#369)
by ti dave on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:40:39 AM EST

Does anyone know if there is a law that specifically prohibits
a civilian from purchasing or manufacturing a nuke?

I imagine the NRC has a list of standards for the storage of radioactive materials, but I wonder if there is a general prohibition on possession of the materials.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Well.... (none / 0) (#381)
by Dragomire on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:11:07 AM EST

I forget which city it is in the US, but the city's laws expressly forbid the detonation of a nuclear weapon within the city limits. Apparently you can own one all you want, but you're in a heap of trouble if you detonate it.

Dumb Laws has the reference in it, somewhere.

"Now, son, remember, we're allowed to own this 20 megaton weapon here.....but if I, or the cops, ever catch you detonating it without express permission.....well, let's just say you're ass will be sore for weeks. And if it's the cops....well, I ain't paying your bail. You can spend the night in jail to teach you a lesson." =-)

[ Parent ]

It's a 500 dollar fine (none / 0) (#432)
by Hektor on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:59:36 AM EST

http://www.buenonet.com/states/states.php?State=California Chico: "Detonating a nuclear device within the city limits results in a $500 fine." Looks like a nice target for terrorists. "Sure, I did it. Here's the 500 dollars I owe you, now let me go."

[ Parent ]
re: I am an ignorant moron (1.00 / 3) (#200)
by mgblst on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:41:24 PM EST

If you have a truck (semi-trailer) then fine, you have a good reason to drive a huge beast. If not, then i will gladly stick one on your car. If your choice does not impact other people, then they have no say in what you do. But when it does...

[ Parent ]
you cannot drive... (4.00 / 4) (#228)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:22:47 PM EST

  1. a 747 (without a license)
  2. a helicopter (without a license)
  3. a semi tractor-trailer (without a license)
  4. a motorcycle (without a license)
...
5?? a vehicle which weighs more than 2 tons and sits a foot above other passenger vehicles (without a license)

point being, we're told many times what we can and cannot drive. we can't drive dragsters on the road (street legal rules such as brake lights, etc). we can't drive go-carts on the highway.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

Pollution Laws (none / 0) (#856)
by bouncing on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:05:56 AM EST

Yes, the long-held position against laws regulating pollution has been that of property rights, the same argument you colorfully tried to make. The courts have confirmed time and again that property rights are limited in the face of environmental destruction. The simple fact of the matter is that SUVs do represent a serious environmental threat and yes, they do need to be regulated.

If someone slaps a bumper sticker on your car, that's vandalism. I suggest you call the police and give them an accurate description of the person who did it.

Oh and good job taking the high road on the issue of your irrational desire to drive a car you don't need vs slowing global warming. Afterall, when the solar ice caps melt, all we'll have left is high mountain roads you'll be able to pretend you off road on.

[ Parent ]

how about another campaign (4.80 / 5) (#178)
by demi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:56:08 PM EST

where people actually vote in elections and become politically relevant instead of vandalizing, rioting, and generally being an asshole just for the sake of their cheeky "culture jamming" activism.

[ Parent ]
How about putting some old (US) laws to new uses? (4.00 / 4) (#132)
by benDOTc on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:02:13 PM EST

This may be a bit extreme, but allow me to pose an idea: what if the owners of the more dangerous SUVs could be charged with reckless endangerment in cases where a) the accident is their own fault and b) that their car is an SUV had a serious impact for the worse on the outcome of the accident?

Real simple... (4.00 / 5) (#139)
by seebs on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:14:23 PM EST

All we have to do is adjust insurance costs according to the damage likely to be done.  If the cost of insurance realistically reflects the costs of damage done, I think SUV's will be self-darwinizing.  Of course, some people will drive them anyway, because they're compensating.  I'm compensating too; I drive a Honda Insight.


Back up (4.00 / 1) (#269)
by MicroBerto on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:44:54 PM EST

Don't overestimate your peers' intelligence! Remember that the adjustment costs of this vehicle will make the car *seem more expensive*, which is BETTER!

That, and Sally Soccer-Mom didn't think about how much money she'd put into that gas tank, or what the insurance was. But hey, it's big, shiny, and red!

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Insurance companies aren't dumb. (none / 0) (#323)
by pyra on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:28:21 AM EST

When pricing liability insurance for a specific model of vehicle, they will take into account how much damage that vehicle is likely to cause. So they are already doing what you suggest.

Insurance companies are very good at this sort of thing, given that whole profit motive and all.


--
"It was half way to Rivendell when the drugs began to take hold" - Hunter S. Tolkien "Fear and Loathing in Barad Dur"
[ Parent ]
My problem is vehicle length. (4.50 / 2) (#142)
by drc500free on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:19:43 PM EST

Personally, the main problem I have with SUVs is the length of the things. I find it ridiculous that you are permitted to drive manual transmission cars even if you do your road test in a car with automatic transmission. Likewise, Some SUVs are reaching a size that I'm not confident that an average driver can get behind the wheel of one and have a good sense for driving a 7700 pounds monster when they probably learned on a small sedan. There is an excess number of soccer moms in my town driving vehicles that look like they are approaching the size of commercial trucks.

The other problem is traffic congestion. Last summer, while stuck in traffic, I decided to look around and see what cars I was around. More than half of the vehicle were SUVs. If each of those is 20% longer than a normal car (a number that I conveniently just made up), that makes each traffic jam 10% longer. That makes 10% less room for parking because SUVs are overflowing spaces built for passenger cars. Anyone who has been stuck in gridlock with SUVs around than can understand the frustration when you can't move through an intersection because 6 SUVs are in front of you rather than 6 normal size cars.

>sigh< (3.00 / 1) (#151)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:23:32 PM EST

No SUV is larger than a standard parking space...

I suppose you have an deep-seated phobia of limousines?

[ Parent ]

except when... (3.00 / 1) (#167)
by cutter on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:40:57 PM EST

...the bastards who drive those things attempt to cram them into compact spaces to cut down on the amount of physical energy needed to get from car to store entrance. I've seen a woman wedge her Expedition into a compact space, open the driver door and slightly dent the car next to her, look around frantically, and walk briskly away. I restrained my urge to put a 20 inch key scratch on her precious machine.

[ Parent ]
Like that... (none / 0) (#295)
by Skywise on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:30:37 PM EST

only happens with SUV owners... I've seen people do it with Lincoln Continentals...

[ Parent ]
Data point (none / 0) (#435)
by pwhysall on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:28:32 AM EST

In the UK if you take your test in an automatic, you may not drive a manual until you pass in a manual.

Also, the vast majority (random sample - of the 150+ people in the building I work in, not one drives an automatic) of people drive manual transmission cars.

Automatics are just not popular in the UK, at all.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Mine's bigger than yours (3.33 / 6) (#149)
by Dphitz on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:22:23 PM EST

This seems to be the game here.  Mostly I see soccer moms toting grocery bags in these rolling bomb shelters.  I actually saw a woman have her daughter guide her in a parking spot at the store!  Rule #1: If you can't park it, don't FUCKING drive it.

Honestly people should drive what they want (following rule #1, of course).  I considered buying an SUV but the fact that they aren't held to the same emission standards as other vehicles here in CA influenced me not to, along with the gas they waste.  Do most people really need these huge vehicles?  Probably not.  People should take into consideration their needs and the impact their purchase will have on the environment.  But in the race to "die with the most toys" most people don't give this a second thought.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

I'm the opposite.. I wonder if others are... (4.33 / 3) (#153)
by shrubbery on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:24:48 PM EST

When I used to playing fighting games like Mortal Kombat, I'm the one who loves to use the fast, nimble character. And its the same for me with cars.

I've driven these things once and don't see any attraction. Big, slow, high up seating, huge, a pig to drive, and PASSIVE safety are the attributes of these monsters. Now if someone offroads or hauls cargo about, I see why you'd want one. But to actually own one to drive around? Blah.

I want to be able to turn on a dime, have good acceleration, and able to actively avoid the accident on my own skill and accord. Being high up bugs me, cause it feels unstable up there; give me a nice low car. Give me feel for the road and great steering so I can feel "one" with the road and have complete control of the situation, not a huge HUNK of metal thats feels like driving an elephant. Its why I prefer my little sports sedan.

Worse yet is when the weather turns inclement. People think with their locking differential 4x4 systems, they're invulerable in the snow. The only problem with that is the mass of the things make stopping WORSE than a car. And if the SUV actually loses traction, it'll be harder to regain control of the truck. My Quattro equipped car runs circles around these things in the snow.

exactly. we get the worst of two worlds. (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by zenofchai on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:28:57 PM EST

paraphrasing: the good drivers are driving the small nimble cars.

logical conclusion: the poorly skilled drivers are driving the massive, lumbering cars.

this is exactly what i'm talking about. people who don't know how to drive a 5000-lb truck with limited lateral visibility should not be driving that truck. i'm sure everyone who owns an SUV is capable of learning the basics of driving one -- it's a shame that most of them never bother.
--
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

its not as much as the skill sometimes as it is (none / 0) (#482)
by shrubbery on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:02:13 AM EST

.. actually paying attention to whats going on around you. When I drive, I give 100% to the road unless I'm switching radio stations in which case my eyes are still on the road. Tell that to some of the cell phone using, double shot latte drinking, panini sandwich eating suburban yuppie middle-aged women.

[ Parent ]
Quattro 0wnz j00 (none / 0) (#195)
by sk00t on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:28:32 PM EST

I'm guessing by "quattro" you're driving an Audi? 2002 TTC180q myself, Brilliant Black plus Bose and all the fixin's.

I'm all about the quick and nimble approach as well; my car's ability to brake, accelerate and corner several orders of magnitude better than most cars on the road, coupled with AWD and a short wheelbase, has got me out of a number of close calls. The best way to avoid injury is not to be in a collision at all!

If only I could convince the troopers that my car's as safe at 85mph as most cars are at 55mph... <sigh>


"Somehow we get by without ever learning, somehow no matter what the world keeps turning"

--Ben Foster
[ Parent ]

"unfair advantage" (none / 0) (#487)
by shrubbery on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:09:09 AM EST

Yessir, I've an 2001 1.8T A4 of the old generation myself. I love the car ever since I picked it up a year and 9 months now. Mine's only got the basics except I lowered it with Koni adjustible coilovers. The Koni's are great; height and damper rate adjustable and a perfectly matched set of springs and shocks. It gives me a whole order of magnitude better handling than a stock A4.

Attend the free Quattro driving schools sometimes. I haven't yet but plan to. And check out audiworld.com if you haven't, I'm a pseudo-regular there in the A4 forum. So much useful information has come out of there.

I couldn't convince a trooper than leading a pack of cars in the left lane at 80mph was safe so I bought a Valentine One the day after I got my ticket.

[ Parent ]

I'm the same (3.50 / 2) (#221)
by DoctorD on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:13:42 PM EST

I always love to agrivate SUV drivers, since they agrivate me so.  Here's a couple of examples:

Example #1: I was driving on the Interstate during a heavy snowfall.  The roads were slippery, yet you could travel at a decent steady speed, slam on the brakes and forget about it.  I had this SUV tailgating me in this weather.  I finally managed to get the SUV in front of me...less than a mile down the road I see the same SUV stuck in the median.  I honk my horn as I pass and smile and wave.  Yep, the 4x4 really helped keep them on the road...and it's not helping them much getting out of their off road perdiciament...

Example #2:  I was driving through a neighborhood, following the speed limit, having another SUV tailgate me.  This guy was waving his arms wildly, honking his horn and in general a royal pain.  We finally got out of the neighborhood and onto a strech of twisty country road that I knew like the back of my hand.  And I know my Accord can handle the curves at above the speed limit.  I also knew from experience that a Celebrity and S-10 couldn't handle the road very well at the speed limit....  So as soon as the speed limit jumped (and also became a passing zone) I waved at the SUV driver out of my sunroof and jumped on the gas...  After about 3 corners I had lost him.

I guess what I really hate is seeing someone driving a beast like they have and believing it can handle like a sports car, or even a sports sedan.

"If you insist on using Windoze you're on your own."
[ Parent ]

I hate SUVs gah gah gah (4.25 / 8) (#176)
by demi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:51:53 PM EST

I don't like them either, I'm a bike commuter, and since I live in Houston that makes me a brave (some would say insane) bike commuter. I also have two small cars that maintain 30-40 mpg with my very vigorous driving.

It is certainly possible to survive in a large, sprawling American city without an SUV but I also recognize that a larger truck-like vehicle suits the concerns and needs of families better than a small 4-door car would. Chevy Suburbans, for instance, are by far the vehicle of choice in my black and hispanic neighborhood, usually festooned with a variety of gaudy body and wheel mods. On the highways you do see lone soccer moms roaring along at 80 mph in their Lexus LX 470's (blithely chatting on their cell phones and not watching the road), but in my experience I see more that are packed with people and their stuff...

My comment on the story is this: it seems that for some of you, an urbanite disdain of suburban excess, legitimate concerns for the environmental impact of SUVs, and lately, the issues of driver safety related to crash survivability have become convolved. If hydrogen-powered fuel cells came into common use in larger personal vehicles, and standard bumper heights were required, I still think people would find reasons to hate SUVs (or whatever they would be called at that point). If I decouple my concerns for the logistics of widespread large vehicle ownership, I don't really have a problem with large cars or their weight if the likelihood of driver fatality decreases.

As Americans get richer and technology advances, I fully expect that our cars will become heavier, safer and more efficient, possibly approaching the point where 80 mph collisions between rolling motherships could be routinely survivable. The countervailing influence is that our cities will also be densifying, probably leading to alternative modes of transport like trains, etc., making the purchase of a Dreadnought-class SUV an optional luxury that some people will still choose. Personally I still like bike riding, but that's me.

The popularity of SUVs is a manifestation of consumer choice - think about it: they are much more expensive than cars, their sales are insensitive to spikes in gas prices, and there are a multitude of insurance and repair disincentives compared to smaller cars. If you lead an active life that requires occasional hauling of payload from one place to another, public transportation is simply no substitute for a roomy personal vehicle like an SUV. The government-imposed hassles associated with car ownership in other countries should not be duplicated in the United States IMO.

The fundamental misconception! (4.75 / 20) (#179)
by sirnarfsalot on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 07:58:13 PM EST

What bothers me about many peoples' arguments regarding SUVs is their lack of knowledge on what makes a car safe.

Firstly: Crumple zones! The ability of the car to absorb crash energy by crumpling in a severe accident is extremely important in high-speed collisions.

Secondly: Safety cage! Crumpling is no good if it happens to the part of the car you're in. What you want is the car to crumple around you but not where you are. A good car is designed with a strong cage around the passenger compartment to prevent intrusion.

Thirdly: Well, there's more, but those were the two most important and the two with the worst misinformation about them. I would bet anyone a million bucks that if I were in a head-on collision with another Volvo 240 (yes, I drive an old Volvo) we would walk away in far better shape than two people in an identical scenario, only with your full-size SUV of choice (Suburban, Tahoe, Expedition, Durango, etc.) because Trucks are not designed to crumple like cars are. The passengers would experience a much more violent deceleration than would people in properly designed vehicles.
The idea that everyone would be safer if we all drove SUVs is a total fraud, nothing less. So is the idea that regular cars have been getting less safe. What a load of crap! They aren't tin cans, and in fact if you'll look at today's cars versus comparable models from years past they often weigh more. Examples: Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Volvo S60 vs Volvo 240, to name a few. Trust me, you're safer in a new car versus its 10, 20, or 30-year old counterpart. That's almost a guarantee (yes, there are always exceptions, I know).

Another thing I hate is people who point to bad bumpers as evidence that a car is not safe, or that SUVs are better, or whatever. The fact that car makers are putting flimsy pieces of plastic on the front and rear of their vehicles and calling them bumpers has NOTHING to do with the overall safety of the car. It has to do with their greed, in that a) it costs less to make a cheap bumper, and b) they clean up on replacement parts when a 5 mph bump causes severe damage.
A crumpling bumper does not indicate that the car will crumple to save the passengers, nor does a strong bumper mean that the car will not crumple. My old Volvo has excellent bumpers and can withstand at least a 5mph collision with no damage. But in a severe collision it will crumple to protect its occupants. A few modern automakers such as VW and Subaru equip their cars with decent bumpers and score well on crash tests.

My point is, big and unyielding will do no more than to let the smaller car absorb the energy for you. You'll probably forget to thank them for that, though.
Pray you never hit another SUV like yours, or that you ever have to swerve to avoid a collision (my Volvo can run rings around any big SUV, but I don't drive as insanely as most people do, and that's another argument entirely), or, for that matter, that you never hit anything other than a smaller car.
A building, a metal pole, a concrete wall? They are to you what your SUV is to a regular car.

bumpers (2.00 / 1) (#190)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:15:32 PM EST

actually the move to plastic bumpers has helped lower repair costs. Whereas a metal bumper dings easily (go give one a swift kick), a plastic one requires at least some kind of impact.

[ Parent ]
Odd (3.00 / 1) (#202)
by sirnarfsalot on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:45:47 PM EST

I can see how this might be true if mostly-plastic bumpers were anywhere near as strong as a metal bumper, but a good metal bumper will protect the rest of the car from damage. Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website and in particular their Low-speed crash test results page and watch the quicktime video for an illustration of my point.

From my experience, when a large Buick rear-ended my Volvo, it wrapped around the bumper and smashed my taillights as well as bending my tailpipe out of place. My bumper was okay and only needed the plastic/rubber cover replaced, as it had been partially broken. It was a violent collision, but the only reason anything but the bumper was damaged was because of the Buick, whose bumper (and most of the front end) was smashed and in pieces. The Buick had to be towed away; I continued my 220 mile trip and returned home before getting it fixed. I doubt that cheap plastic shells are lowering repair costs from those needed on well-designed bumpers. If anyone recalls, for a brief period 20 years ago bumpers had to withstand a 5mph impact and protect the rest of the car. This was dumped after pressure from the auto industry, I believe.

[ Parent ]
5 mph impact (2.00 / 1) (#209)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:54:44 PM EST

all bumpers today must withstand a 5 mph impact. The change to plastic from metal was precipitated by this - main reason was to build a metal bumper than can withstand 5 mph with no damage is more expensive than to switch to plastic.

Of course its possible to create a metal bumper which can withstand those. I see trucks all the time around here which replace the bumper entirely with a thick steel pipe. I imagine that bumper will take waaay more than 5 mph.

The thing about it is cost, strong metal is more expensive than plastic, generally.

[ Parent ]

I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by sirnarfsalot on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:11:21 PM EST

If by "withstand" you mean protect the car from any damage, then you are incorrect. Go to the IIHS's website and look up low-speed crash test results. Just about every car sustains some sort of damage, though the best ones, like the VW Beetle, sustain very little damage ($209 worth in 4 tests) while vehicles like the Isuzu Trooper and Mitsubishi Montero sustain ridiculous amounts--$11,833 and $9,331, respectively, in the four 5 mph tests. Much of the cost of that is damage to parts of the car not protected by the bumper. Even the Mercedes E-Class sustained over $7,000 worth of damage in the tests.

[ Parent ]
My mistake, standard is 2.5 mph (2.00 / 1) (#222)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:14:31 PM EST

Federal law orders 2.5 mph withstanding. 5 mph is the insurance institute's system.

[ Parent ]
Bumpers (4.00 / 1) (#212)
by sgp on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:55:22 PM EST

So why did my wife's VW Polo get a £160 quote after a 2mph ding with the gatepost?

The paint over the plastic is shattered, the repairer (back-street cheap-as-hell) would have to repaint the whole lot to get it looking "right". I ended up spending £17 on a paint-kit to repaint it, which looks better, but still definitely damaged, just no white plastic showing.

The same Polo took a 40mph rear-ending with only the bumper damaged, but the Pug405 which hit it was a write-off. (Natch, the gatepost incident was about 2 weeks after the replacement from the rear-ending:)

The plastic bumper is strong enough when it counts, but fragile enough to look like sh*t (and therefore drastically reduce resale value) on a mild impact.

The same car has an (unexplained) impact on the front wing, where the metal has dinted slightly, but no paint-loss, so no possibility of rust, and very little aesthetic damage. Metal > Plastic.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

how they do it (4.00 / 1) (#216)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:10:10 PM EST

the government (well, here in the US anyway) tests every vehicle under controlled circumstances. Naturally, your experiences may differ. However, there is a standard for auto manufacturers to meet.

If you want a really good rating, take a look at the insurance institute's tests. They test harder and more challenging than the government does, simply because the insurance companies have so much money riding on them.

[ Parent ]

Swift kick? (3.00 / 1) (#677)
by DanTheCat on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:53:41 PM EST

Granted some metal bumpers are relatively easy to ding, but not if they're built right. My old fiat had some serious bumpers. Got involved in an accident while parked once, and while the car behind me (old mustang, took the hit) was mashed, and the car in front of me (plastic bumpered eclipse) was noticeably dented, there wasn't even a mark on my bumpers.

That's a proper bumper.

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

That reminds me... (4.00 / 2) (#206)
by Edwards on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:52:15 PM EST

If you run into a soft small Toyota, it's safest to be in a Hummer. But if you run into something without crumple zones, like a building or a light post, it's safest to be in a Mercedes S-Class. (which, if you don't know, is a large luxury sedan that is useless off-road)

[ Parent ]
Except... (4.00 / 4) (#208)
by jpmorgan on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:53:09 PM EST

...buildings don't drive at 75mph down the highway...

[ Parent ]
The problem is with the lack of feedback (3.00 / 1) (#236)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:37:22 PM EST

In most big cars like SUV's or sedans, you just have no feedback on what the car is actually doing until it gets into some serious trouble.

People should buy more small mid-engined cars - firstly it'll bring the price down for me when I get something to replace my MR-2, and secondly they'll have less people bumming them for a free ride. :)

I think people who switch to an SUV and feel "safe" driving it probably never had the experience of driving something like a MX-5 or a Lotus Elise. If they realise just how much information about the driving condition gets blocked out by those massive tyres and soft suspension they surely would feel safe driving it.

[ Parent ]

Related to my safety post (3.00 / 1) (#418)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:57:50 AM EST

Thanks for going into more detail about safety by advanced technology, rather than by pure mass. I learned about this by losing a debate with a German friend about the safety of the SMART cars.

Before buying the Elise, I researched its safety too -- a car that small looked dangerous. Basically, I've found that the front and rear will demolish to save you inside your extruded aluminum bathtub with roll bars, and the front and rear 1-piece fiberglass body sections literally explode in absorbing crash energy ("I was picking fiberglass bits out of my clothes and hair for weeks."). There's not much left except for the cage in a severe accident.

Safety through intelligence, not through superior mass.

[ Parent ]

missing the point (well, sort of) (5.00 / 1) (#670)
by startled on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:35:29 PM EST

"My point is, big and unyielding will do no more than to let the smaller car absorb the energy for you."

Right. So if people base their safety decision on their own safety, and not safety of people in general, they'll buy an SUV.

"I would bet anyone a million bucks that if I were in a head-on collision with another Volvo 240... we would walk away in far better shape than two people in an identical scenario, only with your full-size SUV of choice... because Trucks are not designed to crumple like cars are."

Yup, but if you're in a Volvo vs. SUV collision, you're screwed. And since you can't control who you crash into, look at the possible scenarios based on what you buy. Buy a Volvo: you can get in a not-too-bad collision with another Volvo, or a horrible one with an SUV. Buy an SUV: you can get in a not-at-all bad collision (for you) with a Volvo, or a not-quite-as-horrible one with an SUV. Winner: SUV.

"The idea that everyone would be safer if we all drove SUVs is a total fraud, nothing less."

I don't know of anyone who has that idea. I know a lot of people who believe they'll be safer if they drive an SUV, like the poster's friend. These people are placing very high importance on collision safety, and not much on maneuvering safety (such as rollover hazard). There has been increasing concern in the news about rollover and other hazards to the drivers of SUVs over the past few years, but it hasn't outweighed the gruesome reality of collision safety.

All of my arguments are predicated on people generally basing safety decisions on their own safety, and not at all on the other party in the collision. But the prevalence of SUVs demonstrates that people display little to no concern for other people on the road when buying an automobile.

[ Parent ]
You're right... (5.00 / 1) (#704)
by sirnarfsalot on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:00:31 PM EST

...people are selfish; they want to protect themselves at the cost of others. What your argument misses, however, is that SUVs don't have substantially lower death rates than smaller cars (more on that in a bit) They are more likely to lose control, and they roll over much more easily (especially when loaded up with passengers).

As for me being in "screwed" in a Volvo vs. SUV collision, I don't know where you're getting that idea. From 1990-1994 (back around when they still made the 240) the fatality rate for the Volvo 240 was 10 deaths per million registered vehicle years. Right here I should note that I cannot find original data on this, but a Google search on this finds plenty of mentions of this. Though they don't keep track (at least, not where I can find) of the 240 anymore, more recent data indicate such delightful death rates of 103, 151, 195 for the 2wd Ford Explorer, Isuzu Rodeo, and Chevy S10 Blazer, respectively. In fact, the only SUV which manages to even tie the Volvo 850 at 39 fatalities per 1 million vehicle years is the Ford Expedition, and for multiple vehicle accidents (i.e. where you smash into someone else or vice versa) it beats most of the SUVs listed. So, let's assume the 240 (which we'll recall had a rate of 10) would match the 850's results (39) today, what with all the dangerous car-smashing SUVs on the road now. It would still end up being safer than most SUVs on the road. Intelligent design beats knuckle-dragging, armpit-scratching, grunting brute force.


So, as they say, there!

[ Parent ]
nitpicks (5.00 / 1) (#712)
by startled on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:50:07 PM EST

I did mention control issues, especially rollover. Perhaps you skipped that part. :)

Also, the statistics you provided are irrelevant to the Volvo vs. SUV collision. From the link provided in the original post, we get these more relevant figures: "Of the 5,259 fatalities caused when light trucks struck cars in 1996, 81 percent of the fatally injured were occupants of the car. In multiple-vehicle crashes, the occupants of the car are four times more likely to be killed than the occupants of the SUV. In a side-impact collision with an SUV, car occupants are 27 times more likely to die.".

Overall, I agree with you that people really aren't looking at safety statistics when buying a new automobile. It would be interesting to know what the criteria are-- is safety a big concern, and people are simply using the wrong metrics (ooh, it's big; it says here in the brochure that it's very safe), or do they really not care about safety very much? I look at independent safety research before purchasing a car; is that the exception?

I was looking at www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov, and when sorting my "Most Harmful Event" we got 12% rollover for passenger cars, and 21% for SUVs. That doesn't mean much on its own, and I'm having trouble finding other data to break those results down into something meaningful. What I'd really like is more recent data of the sort you got from hwysafety.org-- because my concern is that the increased number of SUVs on the road are increasing the number of fatalities for those good ol' Volvos (having 81 percent of the fatalities and all).

"Intelligent design beats knuckle-dragging, armpit-scratching, grunting brute force."

Agreed. But it's quite possible that intelligently designed SUVs will beat out the intelligently designed sedans. If rollover frequency creeps down and the frequency of car-light truck collisions creeps up (or if that has already happened for the past few years we don't have numbers for), the sedans could start getting screwed. Of course, you'll always get screwed if you go out and buy an unsafe car or truck. I'm talking about the safety-minded consumer-- i.e., the kind that buys a Volvo.

[ Parent ]
they are a luxury, and should be taxed as one. (3.63 / 11) (#184)
by ph0rk on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:05:06 PM EST

if memory serves, a 2002 dodge viper gets 12mpg city, 19mpg highway. Bad? Yes. The owner of a 2002 viper must, however, pay a luxury/gasguzzling tax on their vehicle (at least in my state). what does a caddy SUV get? I believe the 5500 lb "midsize" caddy suv gets 12mpg city, 18mpg highway. Bad? Yes. Is it taxed? No. Why? Because it is a truck, not a "passenger vehicle". If mum and dad want the gigantor terminator to protect their artifact child (thanks pitchshifter), fine, let them. But tax the hell out of them for it. And, while on the subject, shouldn't insurance be based on how much damage you will do, vs how well you'll survive? bah, i guess i can file those along with my exponetial tax rates, too. Never gonna happen.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
Mixed feelings (none / 0) (#257)
by godix on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:07:21 PM EST

"But tax the hell out of them for it."

On one hand SUVs are a danger to other drivers not in SUVs, they're close to the worst choice for vehicles enviromentally speaking, and they're usually driven by pricks. On the other hand I really really hate it when the government taxes something for the sole reason of trying to change people actions. My usual attitude is either make the damned thing illegal or quit worrying if people choose to do something.

[ Parent ]

don't tax to change people's actions... (none / 0) (#647)
by ph0rk on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:48:13 PM EST


Tax to get revenue.  We agree that for the most parts, SUVs are a luxury, right?  Why not tax them as such, rather than let them slip thorugh a tax (and emissions) loophole meant for semi-commercial vehicles?

the idea (well, my idea anyway) is if they can afford the $60k vehicle, they can afford the $5k luxury purchase tax on top of it.  Things like second homes, yachts, $80k sedans, etc, are not necessities, by any stretch.  IF you can afford these things, you should be giving more to the country.

I also believe in a non-linear tax rate, i.e. the rich pay more so the poor get a break.  Yes, i'd probably pay more in taxes, but so would the CEO of Enron (assuming he claimed everything).

we have a bit of one of those now, though there are still too many tax shelters for the rich, IMHO.

"You are rich. Your medicine costs more."
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Taxes (none / 0) (#681)
by godix on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:01:16 PM EST

"Tax to get revenue."

Trying to solve societies problems by tax and spend is like trying to stop racial problems with genocide. Yeah, it may work eventually, but it's the worst way to solve the problem. I'm opposed to taxing to increase revenue because the government already has to much revenue. I have this dream where a contractor tells the government it'll be 800$ plus for a hammer and the government says 'but we don't have that much.'

"I also believe in a non-linear tax rate,"

To a limited degree I agree. I think earnings up to a certain amount (probably in the 10k range) shouldn't be taxed and anything after that should. I don't think there should more seperate brackets though. There are two mindsets behind higher tax brackets for the rich and I don't like either one. The first is that it's a way to increase revenue, I made my objections to that above. The second is that the lower class views it as a way to get 'revenge' on the rich because they're rich (often the politicians encourage this hoping the poor will then vote for them). I hope I don't have the explain why I don't like that mindset.

"there are still too many tax shelters for the rich"

This I do agree with. Tax shelters are the government saying 'Do this and we won't tax you, don't do this or we'll tax the holy hell out of you' for the most part. As I said earlier, I don't like the government using taxes as a way of motivating certain behaviors.

I also basically agree on the luxury tax. I have no problem taxing neccesities at one rate and non-neccesities at another. Where I generally run into problems is when luxurys are taxed at different rates. I see no reason that cigarettes should be taxed more than a trip to Six Flags for example.

[ Parent ]

Missing the point (2.53 / 15) (#187)
by ult on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:13:02 PM EST

I think you're missing the point of the story here, the large number of SUV owners in the US can only be attributed to a classic Freudian case of inadequacy.
It is obvious that 50% of Americans have small reproductive organs and need to make up for this fact by purchasing what is in fact known as a "penis extension".

I am not trolling,
this is obviously a serious problem and alternatives such as new enhancements will need to be developed before we can resolve this SUV problem.
It is not only SUVs as we see your "government" also suffers the same problem as they continue to poke their noses into other countries business, trying to play the big man.


hey.. (4.00 / 3) (#188)
by Work on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:13:58 PM EST

now's a great time to get into the 'MONSTER COCK - GUARANTEED!' business. I'll get the spammer ready..

[ Parent ]
No, you're missing the point... (2.75 / 4) (#274)
by erp6502 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:55:17 PM EST

... it's not an extension of the penis; it's an extension of the asshole.

[ Parent ]
50% of all Americans (2.00 / 2) (#277)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:57:25 PM EST

Have below average genitalia.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

you're right (4.00 / 1) (#286)
by blisspix on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:14:26 PM EST

many times my partner and i have heckled people in loud/flashy/big cars, accusing them of being inadequately equipped.

In Australia we have the problem of teenage boys who buy hatchbacks and then spend $20000 to add lights, bass, mega stereo, detailing, etc etc.

obvious case of not having enough to attract women. why else do these guys cruise the streets alone all day?

[ Parent ]

You ARE trolling (3.50 / 2) (#322)
by innate on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:26:05 AM EST

But you're absolutely right.

[ Parent ]
Where will it all end? (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by cestmoi on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:14:49 PM EST

A friend of mine and I were discussing the "arms race" a few years back when she was considering her next car purchase. The conversation took place in the context that there had recently been a fatal head-on accident on the main highway next to the suburb I live in. All four fatalaties were in a convertible while the eight survivors were in a Suburban. The survivors were a well known family in our community so the contrasting fates were common knowledge in these parts.

At any rate, we were discussing what kind of vehicle made sense for a small family like hers - she wanted something safe for her soon-to-be-driving daughter but just couldn't bring herself to buy an SUV. As a joke, I suggested she trump everyone with an SUV and get one of these. Being more sensible than me, she bought a Volvo instead.

Sure enough, a couple of years later there was another head-on on the same road involving another family I know - this time a Volvo station wagon (not my friend's) and an SUV. The SUV driver ended up in critical care and the family in the Volvo escaped with bruises.

where will it all end (none / 0) (#276)
by loudici on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:57:04 PM EST

i think if you had a compulsory military service you would not be so tempted by huge vehicles. after driving one of THOSE for a year my dream idea of a car is no car at all and if i really have to get far from the transit network i'll use a corolla
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
Huge vehicles do not tempt me (none / 0) (#465)
by cestmoi on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:18:49 AM EST

Large vehicles hold no temptation for me.

The point of the joke was that if everyone went to SUV's to protect themselves then the next logical step would be a Peterbilt. Given the absurdity of the choice, my friend opted out of the SUV-Race and purchased a Volvo instead.

However, you raise a valid point - there are times that an SUV might make sense. You may chose a Corolla because it suits your needs. Otoh, my neighbor across the street has four children and a Corolla wouldn't be suitable for them. If you've ever taken 4 young children on a drive, you can appreciate the value of being able to space them apart.

[ Parent ]

4 children in a corolla (none / 0) (#600)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:04:10 PM EST

besides the fact that i am not sure having 4 children in this day and age is the most
responsible thing to do, i do not see how
an SUV is more convenient than a minivan,
and i do not think there is any vehicle
that would make it fun to take 4 kids on a drive.

L

gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

Maibatsu Monstrosity (4.33 / 6) (#203)
by timbong on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 08:46:20 PM EST

The following two quotes were "commercials" from the game, Grand Theft Auto 3. Things like commercials spread memes and make us think, maybe even subconsiously. GTA3 has been sold to millions along with messages such as these. Although some could dismiss them as mere jokes, I think that they discuss some of the important issues in society today spreading anti-corporate memes (there are other "commercials" discussing other "products" such as running shoes made in sweatshops etc.). You can listen to some of these other commercials here

"Bill and I just had another kid so of course we needed a bigger SUV. Being a mom is hard with soccer, football and lacrosse practice, so we bought a Maibatsu Monstrosity. Its so big we lost little Joey in the back for an hour. When I'm running to the mall or talking on my cell phone, I know me and my family are safe. The Maibatsu Monstrosity has 4 wheel drive and in amphibious mode it can cross rivers- so far I've only hit a few puddles, but its good to know its there. With the time I save taking shortcuts through strip mall parking lots I can focus on the important things in life like buying new exercise equipment off the TV. So what if it gets 3 miles to the gallon, Im a mom not a conservationist... The New Maibatsu Monstrosity: mine is bigger."

And the other one:

"Im a marketing manager who lives in the suburbs and commutes to work on the highway. I live alone so of course I needed a car that could seat 12 and is equipped to drive across artic tundra, it just makes me feel better... The new Maibatsu monstrosity: mine is bigger."

contemplating suicide by SUV? (3.00 / 2) (#214)
by tuj on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:05:01 PM EST

Drive a Miata. You'll be sure to die with a grin on your face.


No offence (3.75 / 4) (#217)
by tzanger on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:10:45 PM EST

But your friend's an imbecille. I'm sure a Honda could have been in an identical circumstance with runin with a 70's Buick Roadmaster or even a modern Volvo for that matter. She was in a bad accident and got spooked. It's not the fault of the SUV drivers.

I drive a Jeep (94 Grand Cherokee) because I like the look, always have, and frankly I like being higher up than I was in my '90 Regal. Sure it's not killer for mileage but when I'm towing shit around or whatnot (a good lot of the time) it beats having a car, even one with the rear seat that folds down.

Trucks? I've never liked them. Durangos? No thanks. Monsters like the Excursion and Escalade? No thanks. My Grand Cherokee is perfect for me and, I've discovered, tiny compared to some of the F350s and so on I see around here.



Frontline (3.71 / 7) (#220)
by dr k on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:13:27 PM EST

Several months ago there was a very interesting Frontline (PBS) about the safety of SUVs. It pointed out that the growth of the SUV industry went hand-in-hand with the hands-off non-regulation policies of various Reagan/Bush appointees.

The best part was the closing sequence, where an SUV just happened to flip over off-camera while they were taping some closing remarks.


Destroy all trusted users!

5000 pounds for what? (4.00 / 4) (#226)
by KWillets on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:18:55 PM EST

The stereo system?  

I've never been able to figure out the point of having 5000 pounds of metal to carry a 200-pound person.  I ride a bike that weighs about 25 pounds, and rely on our excellent legal system to protect me from the extremely rare chance of being hit by a motorist (this last clause is completely facetious, in case the reader hasn't noticed already).

I have a sneaking suspicion that most of this metal armor, and the huge engine required to move it around, could be replaced by a few airbags, or inflated bladders or foam in the car body.  

In any case I don't see safety as a product of vehicle weight.  All this whining by motorists who never gave a damn about bicyclist or pedestrian safety doesn't strike me as particularly genuine.  Motorists have been killing people for over 100 years.  Have they suddenly gotten a grasp of ethics, now that they're prey as well?


Road user charges for bigger vehicles (none / 0) (#329)
by izogi on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:03:26 AM EST

I live in an urban environment, and I get quite irritated at the number of relatively big cars that people have when they don't really need them.

Just from watching people drive to work in the morning, most of them are used by single businessmen or women who drive it to work, park it, then drive home. Normally there's only one person in the car (and possibly a briefcase), and they use it for little besides transporting themselves to and from work for most of the year, and maybe once a year they'll drive up country for a holiday. The problem is that they don't really need a big car for anything practical in 99% of their daily life, they just feel like they have to be seen in one.

Ordinarily this wouldn't annoy me, if it weren't for all the down-sides to everyone else, like the fact that big cars take up more road. In a city this means that there's less gaps and the traffic takes longer to clear, or get anywhere at all. Imagine how much easier city driving would be if everyone had small cars instead of big cars.

So far my evidence is only anecdotal, but I'm sure that the traffic would flow much easier during rush hours if everyone had smaller cars. Maybe car registrations, inspection fees and assorted road user charges should put a lot more emphasis on the size of a vehicle when it comes to paying for them. ie. Make it genuinely more expensive to own and operate a big vehicle, especially when it's not really needed.

I'm sure some places would already be doing this to an extent, and I'm interested to hear about any observations or results.


- izogi


[ Parent ]
Cyclists ? (1.33 / 3) (#332)
by blakdogg on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:06:51 AM EST

If cyclist want to be treated with respect they should start by obeying the rules of the road. Here are a few points you can start with 1. Do not ride on sidewalks 2. Do not ride on walkways 3. Resist the temptation to 'buzz' pedestrians - Passing too close. 4. Red means stop 5. One way signs apply to you 6. All other road rules apply to you 7. Motorists are not telepathic. Signal or LOOK 8. Night == Dark, get a light
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]
Cyclists? motorists. (4.00 / 1) (#367)
by ajft on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:35:35 AM EST

Strange, but this can be reworded as:

If motorist want to be treated with respect they should start by obeying the rules of the road. Here are a few points you can start with 1. Do not drive on sidewalks 2. Do not drive and use the phone 3. Resist the temptation to 'buzz' cyclists and other road users - Passing too close. 4. Red means stop 5. One way signs apply to you 6. All other road rules apply to you 7. Cyclists and other road users are not telepathic. Signal _AND_ LOOK 8. Night == Dark, turn on a light

Pot, kettle, black.

I drive a car, ride a motorbike and ride a bicycle. The operators of all these vehicles are human, and I see all of them ignoring laws whenever convenient. Only trouble is, four ton of SUV being driven illegally is a lot more of a danger to the rest of the public than 10kg of bicycle.



[ Parent ]
Sorry, I think this is OT (none / 0) (#385)
by KWillets on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:28:25 AM EST

I went off and rated the anti-cyclist rant with a 0, then I decided to leave it, but I couldn't un-rate it, so now it's a 1.

I didn't want to get into an entire cyclists vs. motorists debate, just point out that vehicle weight is a poor way to judge safety, and that some road users have never had the alternative of armoring themselves to ever-higher degrees.  Road safety must depend on something more than tons of steel, and the cycling community has always implicitly recognized that fact, so I suppose that's the reason I brought it up.

The whole cyclist vs. motorist thing has been done quite a bit on both sides; I don't see it being resolved here, IMHO.

[ Parent ]

Like I want to die. (none / 0) (#480)
by sophacles on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:00:28 AM EST

You do know that whenever people on bicycles try to follow the rules of the road all of you car drivers that bitch how we dont follow the rules of the road do the following:
1: pass bicyclist in the same lane
2: honk and make insulting gestures
3: Try to get their vehicles as close as possible to scare the cyclist.
4: Ignore the cyclists right of way at stop signs an stoplights (the same ones a car has).

Most of these are against the rules of the road. Not to mention most motorists dont use turn signals anyway. So why are you complaining?

Perhaps it should work both ways then huh? Motorists start giving cyclists a bit of respect, so that the cyclists can start following the rules of the road without being twice as likely to be killed by an irresponsible driver.

[ Parent ]
Ban them from cities (4.00 / 3) (#229)
by SpaceCoyote on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:24:21 PM EST

I don't have a source on hand for this, but someone mentioned in MetaFilter thread that many EU cities don't allow the things inside of cities. This makes a lot of sense to me. The people who need them for whatever reason can still have them, but it instantly takes away their status-symbol appeal, and without them crowding the streets we'd all be a lot safer and breathe easier as well.
___ Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum.
Perhaps the reason you don't have a source for it (4.25 / 4) (#238)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:38:57 PM EST

Is because it simply is not true.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

A practical matter not a legal one (4.00 / 1) (#316)
by innate on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:06:33 AM EST

This sounds like an urban legend to me. I saw some (very few, but some) SUVs in various European cities on a recent trip there. But the real reason they are avoided is because they are so damn impractical in the narrow streets of the urban centers. I was impressed by all the sharp small cars I saw, like the Smart Car and the new Mini.

[ Parent ]
Not just SUV's (5.00 / 1) (#331)
by obi on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:06:01 AM EST

I haven't heard of a city around here that banned SUV's. What I _do_ know of is cities that ban all cars from their centers, except things like taxis and buses.

I think they should just make parkingspaces small - so only normal cars would fit :) But I guess then you would end up with clueless people driving around for hours in their big-honkin' SUV trying to find a spot.

[ Parent ]

Drive whatever you want (3.66 / 3) (#232)
by vambo rool on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:33:02 PM EST

just stay off the phone while you're doing it.

or... (none / 0) (#321)
by florin on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:23:23 AM EST

In some european countries it's against the law to use your cell phone while driving.

[ Parent ]
I don't live in Europe (none / 0) (#578)
by vambo rool on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:16:51 PM EST



[ Parent ]
It takes a while (none / 0) (#343)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:27:02 AM EST

But you'll soon get used to changing gear while talking on the cellphone...

[ Parent ]
Here's the solution (4.00 / 2) (#244)
by Perianwyr on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 09:51:19 PM EST

Pick up one of <a href="http://www.sovietarmy.com/vehicles/brdm-2.html">these</a>.
<p>
Get it painted with a charming gunmetal-blue paintjob, and put a label on it saying "Ford Insurrection".

There you go, you're winning :)

my little part (4.28 / 7) (#255)
by KingPrad on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:06:22 PM EST

Last year my parents had to buy a car to replace our crown victoria that was going to pieces. They talked for a long time about buying an SUV. This was shocking to me and I fought constantly against it. I dogged constantly on how ugly, unmaneuverable, and gas-hungry they are. Finally I got my Aunt, who had been driving a minivan for several years to tell them how nice Aerostar or Windstar (whichever) was. Finally they bought a minivan!

I just couldn't imagine riding in an SUV regularly when I am so conscious of the environment in every other way. Thank god they didn't get an SUV!

You are part of the problem (4.00 / 1) (#565)
by thenick on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:00:52 PM EST

This study by CBC shows how wrong you are. The Ford Windstar averages 18.1 MPG, while the Ford Explorer XLT gets 21.3 MPG. Thanks for making the problem worse.

 
"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]

Cry whine cry. (2.00 / 4) (#258)
by Bartab on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:08:23 PM EST

I ride a motorcycle as my primary mode of transportation. Nearly 100mpg, and unsafe in any accident on the highway. Yet, I've never been in an accident. Something to do with paying attention.

Although, if I had a car it would be an SUV. Seems like the best vehicle to be in when I see some fucking idiot on a cellphone swerving between lanes in his miata. Letting him hit me, instead of avoiding him would let me rack up a nice insurance settlement....ooooh, my neck....

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.

Yet, I've never been in an accident. (none / 0) (#271)
by loudici on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:47:24 PM EST

you gotta love motorcyclists. they make very good heart donors.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
donorcycles (1.00 / 1) (#668)
by NFW on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:34:20 PM EST

Not just hearts - damn near anything. When a motorcyclist (usually a healthy young man) dies (usually of a spinal or head injury), countless lives can be saved. Heart, lungs, kidneys, marrow, you name it. Not to mention corneas and other less life-crucial spare parts.

Yeah, this is a shitty thing to joke about. I lost a friend in a motorcycle accident a couple years ago. This is how I deal with it.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

You just asked for a major dose of bad juju. (none / 0) (#307)
by Apuleius on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:47:41 PM EST

Very nice that you pay attention. Won't do you a bit of good when some motherfscker with a .2 BAC and an urban assault vehicle crosses the center line and hits you head on.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Two kinds of a bikee (none / 0) (#330)
by Wulfius on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:05:12 AM EST

There are only two kinds of a motorcycle rider.
He who had and accident and he who will have an accident.

Its not about YOU paying attention.
Its about YOU being invisible to the other road users. Research shows that anything smaller than a car simply does not exist as far as most road users are concerned.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Bikers... (none / 0) (#396)
by treefrog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:05:41 AM EST

It's all about training. I did my bike test in the UK in 1990, and it has been toughened up since then. It was very difficult compared to the car test.

Basically, they taught you to be paranoid. And then they showed you how un-paranoid you actually were, and made you more paranoid. You ended up driving very defensively, with great situational awareness of exactly what was going on around you.

Even today, after not being on a bike for 10 years (I had a nasty climbing accident), I still believe that mirrors are for checking make-up in, and always physically check behind me before changing lanes, rather than trust the mirror (and its blind spot).

regards, treefrog


Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog
[ Parent ]

Feh... (4.88 / 18) (#259)
by magus123x on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:10:11 PM EST

Want safety? Drive a german luxury car. BMW. Mercedes-Benz. Audi.

Seriously. Someone has a near $50000 GMC Yukon at work. I'd rather have an E320, 540i, or A6 4.2. Why? Easier to climb into. More tasteful appearance. Use less gas. All are quick (notably the 8 cylinders). Plenty enough room. Better resale value (the Audi is average at best though). More class. All handle WELL beyond the capabilities of the Yukon. Better warranties with free maintenance. And so on and so on...

And in an accident they'll hold up AT LEAST as well. Why? You're not paying for bulk steel, you're paying for engineering.

Ever see the result of a Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 rollover? Yes. Those 12 foot roadsters? Let me find pictures later. They hold up FAR better than most cars, nevermind large trucks. A CONVERTIBLE that's safer for crying out loud. It just looks like someone hit it with a sledgehammer for a minute, not rolled over!

Volvo, Lexus, and Jaguar also hold up well in a crash.

I have a MINI Cooper S on order, and I have no worries in the event anything short of a tractor truck slams into me.

Not comparing apples to apples (4.50 / 4) (#305)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:46:04 PM EST

The safest SUVs rate up there in terms of driver safety as the safest cars. The worst SUVs rate up there in terms of driver fatalities as the least safe cars.

It all depends on the model.

And the dirty little secret is that the statistics may have more to do with the types of people buying the vehicles than the vehicles themselves. The most notable instance of this is the higher number of fatalities in sports cars vs. cars equivalent in weight and power with four doors. Another good instance is the Ford Explorer. The 2 door, 2 wheel drive model has twice the driver fatality rate as the 4 door and both the 4 wheel drive models.

[ Parent ]

Audi (maybe buy a Skoda) (4.00 / 2) (#384)
by treefrog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:26:30 AM EST

Yeah, I have to say that I love Audi's. When I finally evolved into a decent job, we bought an A4 Avant (the estate (station wagon in USA) version).

I don't use it during the week (or didn't until my bike got stolen - I'm now using to get to work until I can find another bike), but we use it at the weekend. The 1.9 litre Turbo Diesel will take us (and a car full or toys - climbing gear, surfboards, camping stuff, etc) from Bath to Glasgow and back (close on 700 miles) on a 60 litre tank of diesel. And that is doing a decent speed up the motorway (75-80ish).

The build quality is great, and it just keeps going. I took it in for its MOT last year (the UK compulsory annual check up). It cost m,e twenty nine pounds. Twenty nine pounds - I've never had an MOT cost me less that two hundred before!

Tip for the future. Buy a Skoda. They rock, and they are pretty much Audi's in all but name.

Regards, treefrog


Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog
[ Parent ]

I owe my life to German engeneering (4.66 / 3) (#433)
by AKA10 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:11:57 AM EST

To make a long story short: my parents and I were driving a brand new BMW on the autobahn at night in the rain. My father accidentally engaged the cruise control (new that year) trying to find the wiper switch and we quickly accelerated from about 60mph up to 100mph in a few seconds. We hit a puddle of water, skidded out of control, flew off the road smashing right through a few 6" thick trees and then rolled about 6 times down a large ditch landing upside down.

I did not have a single scratch on me (I always wear my seatbelt) and the only injury (my mother broke her toe) was caused by undoing the seatbelts and trying to get out of the car quickly.

If I had been in a Ford or Chevy and crashed going 100mph I'm absolutely convinced I would not be writing this today. The car was obviously totalled but the passenger cabin was still in perfect shape.

They may cost more than an American car but the safety and peace of mind you get from driving one is priceless.

[ Parent ]

Mercedes resale (OT) (2.00 / 2) (#661)
by NFW on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:22:01 PM EST

Mercedes resale value is headed down. They used to be known for going a quarter million miles easily, but a trusted source tells me that those days are over.

The top guy at a local German-car repair shop says that recent models have just enough reliability to make it to the end of the lease agreement under which most of them leave the dealership. His theory is that since most of Mercedes' customers lease their cars, Mercedes makes cars with lease terms in mind. That keeps costs down. Makes sense to me. Maybe it will catch up to them when buyers catch on and the resale value drops... time will tell.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Vehicle safety (4.66 / 3) (#260)
by dJCL on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:11:57 PM EST

I don't want an SUV. But I'd probably put it at cost. While living with my parents, I drove their old 1994 Ford Aerostar. I really liked that Van. Strong engine, allowed us to pull a full trailer the one or two day drive to our cottage. 4 wheel drive allowed us to acces out back fields. Seated 7 allowing me to move my friends/family around. And cargo space for when we wanted to move other things. Just before christmas, I was driving home in a slushy night(around 3 in the morning, I got of work about then) I hit a cold front that just went from slush to glare ice. I tried to slow carefully, but lost control, and rolled it right over into a ditch. I landed upright, wheels still spinning in the snow, engine running. I barely felt it.

Because of that I would get another well designed van, I have used my friends jeep cherokee and now own an older jeep truck. I basically don't think the newer SUV's are safer. I don't feel as in control, and I have to manage a larger space for me to be safe. My next vehicle will be either a heavy duty van or light truck, or possibly a car with some towing capacity.

I don't hate SUV's, I just don't think they have a place in a suburban garage, without ever seeing the mud. (SUV's are extreemly fun doing what they are supposed to - off roading, take a good one out sometime and see)

Status symbol, fine. Feel safe, fine. I will go with what I need, not want.

my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.

This is pathetic. (2.00 / 7) (#266)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:28:22 PM EST

I leave from work and we're on our way to discussing one of the most important issues facing the USA - race relations and reparations.

A few hours later, that story's been jammed in the can and on the front page is every liberal's favorite whipping boy, the SUV.

Do you people have any conception how intolerant of actual diversity you really are? How hostile, myopic and misanthropic your behavior is?

Bah.

Never thought I'd find myself further to the left of the K5 crowd.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative

So, submit yours (n/t) (1.00 / 1) (#312)
by inerte on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:55:51 PM EST


--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

He did... (none / 0) (#335)
by Skywise on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:10:02 AM EST

It was on race relations and reparations.

It was canned.

To quote the Simpsons:

"I want an Elephant!"

"You had one.  You named him Stampy.  You loved him very much."

"Oh yeaaah."

[ Parent ]

Actually, I didn't (none / 0) (#438)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:39:08 AM EST

It wasn't my article.

Sorry if I find race relations more important than where suburban moms choose to waste their money.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

D'OH! (none / 0) (#509)
by Skywise on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:49:05 AM EST

(To quote the Simpsons again...)

If it's any consolation I agree with ya...

[ Parent ]

On your article (OT) (none / 0) (#408)
by Betcour on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:02:53 AM EST

Reparations for slavery is an idiotic thing, that makes absolutely no sense from both a logical as well as legal point of view. It's one of the most stupid ideas I've seen in a while.

And on top of that, it's a great new things to create a new racial war in US.

As to why your article was canned, look at the editorial comments, that's why they are here for.

[ Parent ]
race reparations (none / 0) (#428)
by Shren on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:36:50 AM EST

If you're a race agitator, you have to find something that you can never get to fight for.

[ Parent ]
That's a different argument. (none / 0) (#448)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:57:08 AM EST

and it's true of all advocacy politics - if a group exists to fight an issue, they actually have an incentive to prolong that issue whether it's feminism, abortion or gun rights.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

Crazy americans (4.00 / 2) (#267)
by synik on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:31:17 PM EST

Being Australian I find the american obsession with 4x4s a bit on the amusing side.

Around these parts we call something like a Landcruiser a 4x4, and a Ford F-whatever a yank tank :-) (mainly because you either have to american or stupid to drive one, probably both). We don't have many of those stupid big things around here anyway.

I have a nice little Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. It's resonably quick, easy to park, and insanely cheap to run. I don't think they even offer the hatchback version of the mirage in America because americans seem to have a phobia of small cars.

On the contrary... (4.00 / 1) (#273)
by ruhkferret on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:52:59 PM EST

Funny, having just returned from a trip to Australia, most notably Newcastle, Sydney and Adelaide, I have to disagree with you. I saw many on the drive from the internation airport in Sydney to Newcastle proper. My wife, an aussie girl, noticed the difference before we had even left the airport parking lot.

I've been flying back and forth to Australia (From both Japan and the US) for the better part of ten years and have noticed an increasing trend in Australia toward the big 4x4. On my first trip, at the beginning of the nineties, all I saw were the little Holden utes with cattle-catchers attached to the nose. On each successive trip, over the decade, however, I noticed the 4x4 presence increasing. On my last trip, I saw 4x4s from Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota, as well as an increase in medium sized trucks/utes.

Australia isn't neck and neck with the US in the SUV arms race, but you're almost certainly where we were just a few years ago.

[ Parent ]

Gradual build up (none / 0) (#275)
by synik on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:55:41 PM EST

I possibly haven't noticed, being as the build up has been gradual :P

[ Parent ]
Good Point (none / 0) (#568)
by ruhkferret on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:03:38 PM EST

I see the differences more accutely because I fly down once year. I suspect that no one here in the US noticed the build up, either, until there was three SUVs for every normal car on the road.

I really do understand the need to haul things, but a Nissan Navarra is a lot cheaper (and looks a hell of a lot better AND it appeals to my puertorican lowrider homeboy wannabe genes grin) and gets a lot better Mpg/KpL. Heck, my fifteen year old SE/V6 (the american version of the Navarra) with its exhaust leak, two vacuum leaks, and possible blown head gasket gets nearly twice the fuel efficiency of a modern brand new SUV. What the hell is up with THAT?

[ Parent ]

Quite true, they're springing up everywhere (none / 0) (#348)
by goonie on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:40:52 AM EST

Yes, the number of four wheel drives springing up on Australian roads has grown a lot over the past few years, for similar reasons to the US.

As well, there is a ludicrous rule that imported SUV's attract a minimal import duty, but imported passenger cars attract between 15 and 30% duty. At the last election, the opposition party floated the idea of fixing this anomaly (dating from the days where SUV's were mainly used for commercial purposes) but very quickly dropped the idea when they discovered how much outer suburban voters liked the bloated pieces of crap.

Personally, I say phase out the duty on imported cars and raise fuel taxes to compensate.

[ Parent ]

It's coming... (3.00 / 1) (#278)
by Fuzzwah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:59:33 PM EST

I live in Brisbane, Australia and have been notcing more and more 4x4's such as landcruisers and the mercedes around the city. Mostly driven by middle age women who I'll bet will never take the vehicle anywhere near any place you'd have to even consider engaging 4 wheel drive.

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

uhhhh... mate... (4.00 / 1) (#282)
by blisspix on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:05:28 PM EST

have you cruised around some surburbs like cremorne, chatswood, killara, leichhardt, even parramatta ferchrissakes lately?

4WDs everywhere! it's a plague! instead of forking out for a new mercedes cruiser people are going for the Mercedes 4WD. They're ugly, driven by rich mums who have poor driving skills, and never go off road.

They're of no use to anyone. A letter in today's Sydney Morning Herald says that outback drivers hate them, they'd rather get a truck. and what driver in Neutral Bay needs it?

I take the bus, that makes me bigger than a 4WD at least.

[ Parent ]

4*4's, the new menace (none / 0) (#327)
by Draken on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:46:08 AM EST

Here in Melbourne they're referred to as "Toorak Tractors", ie. Toorak (rich 'burb) has a lot of these damn things and they ain't the kind a people with home handyman aspirations, or any other need of a large car. They're just a status symbol nowadays...

But of course there are always plenty of people who legitimately use 4*4's - even my brother does. But they are definitely the minority of 4*4 owners.

And the SES has a few good stories of when these toffs do decide to get off the road . . . and need help on their way back :)

[ Parent ]
There's always someone bigger than you (4.66 / 3) (#268)
by Shibboleth on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:44:47 PM EST

Case in point.

Remember, a head-on collision between two tanks is fatal for everyone involved at 20mph.

Yes, there is (4.00 / 1) (#290)
by jabber on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:17:37 PM EST

Like this.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

You want to stop the SUVs? (3.66 / 3) (#270)
by speedfreak2K2 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:46:45 PM EST

1. Make more sharper turns. If they attempt to turn at a "comfortable" rate of speed, they roll over. The problem takes care of itself.

2. Sell riced-out sub-compacts straight from the dealership. The SUV drivers may not see you, but they sure as hell will hear you. And you could always out-manuever and (most of the time) out-accelerate them. Use that 5-speed to your advantage.

3. Buy a station wagon. (I'm still waiting for my AWD GT-R powered Stagea 260RS. Do you hear me Nissan?)
You! Take that crown off your head, I'm kicking your ass!

hehe (none / 0) (#470)
by tbauc on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:25:52 AM EST

I dunno man. A bone stock GMC Yukon Denali will do 0-60 in under 9 seconds, about on par with your average Civic...not bad for a 5500 pound vehicle.

Some SUVs really aren't "SUVs" per se. Look at the BMW X5 4.6is (0-60 in 6.2 seconds, top speed of 150mph, 0.38 drag coefficient), Benz M series, Lexus GX series...these things outperform many cars and are kind of in a class by themselves. I think the latest buzzword for these vehicles is "Sport Activity Vehicle" (ugh).

Just a random thought from a truck drivin' man.

[ Parent ]
hey .. super-wagons have been out for awhile! (none / 0) (#499)
by shrubbery on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:40:53 AM EST

.. and I must say I love them! Talk about understated performance!

You have of course the 225 AWD Subaru WRX in wagon form. But then you have the expensive big boys: Audi RS4 and RS6.

RS4: biturbo V6, ~380hp, Quattro AWD, 0-60 in 4.9 seconds; Nurburgring lap time - 8 minutes : 12 Seconds (faster than the old Lambo Diablo)

RS6: biturbo V8, ~450hp, Quattro all-wheel-drive, dynamic ride control, 0-60 in 4.9 seconds; 'Ring lap time - unknown

Let's see your SUV do *THAT*!

[ Parent ]

super wagons (none / 0) (#541)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:31:23 AM EST

yup, i'm waiting for the TDI Passat wagon. c'mon, baby! 40 mpg and drives pretty damn fun, as well. all that torque... all that storage... damn. my wife and i had better work on the "having kids" thing so i can get an excuse to get one.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Yes, station wagons are the win. (none / 0) (#713)
by Particleman on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:57:19 PM EST

When the lease on my 99 Saturn SL expired, I decided I wanted some sort of mid-size vehicle.  I also kind of wanted some form of all wheel drive, but I most definitely did NOT want an SUV.

I ended up buying a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon.  Its mileage is about typical for a mid-size vehicle, it has better handling, you don't have to step up into it (or for that matter, fall into it), and the extra few inches of ground clearance give you slightly better visiblity without being obnoxious to everyone around you -- my Saturn SL was quite low to the ground and I while I'd get somewhat annoyed with not being able to see around minivans or SUVs in city traffic, I never felt that way about the people driving Subarus.

I also quite like the all wheel drive -- I haven't had the vehicle long enough to see how it handles snow and ice, but I have noticed that it handles somewhat better than the SL did.  I'll be interested to see how it handles this winter (I live in northwest Ohio, we do get snow and ice storms fairly often).  I'm not under any illusion that the AWD will make me invincible though.  I see way too many people in SUVs who drive as though the fact it's taller and (sometimes) has 4WD makes them invincible.  Not smart.

All around, I think it's a good choice and I'm quite happy with mine.  I do sometimes wish I'd gotten an Impreza Outback (or Outback Sport, basically the same thing) -- a little smaller, but slightly better mileage and probably more fun to drive with a five-speed.  :)  It doesn't bother me at all that I'm driving a so-called "soccer mom" or "middle class" vehicle -- I've always liked hatchback-style vehicles and now that I've driven one, I don't think I'll ever go back to a regular sedan.  :)

(Not that I wouldn't mind having the $37k or so to blow on a BMW 325xi AWD sport wagon :)


---
Remove the obvious to respond by e-mail.
[ Parent ]

The Motor City (4.00 / 4) (#272)
by Phantros on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 10:49:07 PM EST

I live in a suburb of Detroit, and this area is just swarming with SUVs. The inefficiency of using 3 times as much metal and gasoline as necessary for no real gain (for most people...some have hobbies or live in locations that make one worthwhile) disturbs me on a basic level.

A friend of mine who works for Chrysler recently switched to an SUV. He is single, doesn't carry or tow anything, and doesn't leave the suburbs. I asked him why he'd decided to switch and his response was, "I dunno, I guess I just like the look of it." I wanted to tell him that the real reason was that he's a sheep and usually follows the flock in his decisions, but somehow that didn't sound tactful. ;)

Car companies are accountable as far as mileage goes, but the problem is that the rules are very lax, and they are able to shift their gas credits around from one year to the next and one segment of the company to another.

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with

Yeah (none / 0) (#300)
by jagg on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:41:04 PM EST

I think the biggest reason we see so many SUVs here is metro Detroit is the large number of people who get employee discounts from the Big Three, making SUVs a more affordable alternative. I've also noticed that the number of foreign cars in general is lower here compared to other areas in the US.

Michigan roads are pretty bad, especially come winter time, but the essentially flat terrain and fairly competent road crews (unless you live in Detroit proper or a few of the outlying crap towns like Downriver or Inkster) make an SUV mostly overkill in terms of power and effectiveness vs. cost, although I don't think taxing them is wise in terms of the implication it holds for the erosion of personal freedom.

To relay my own SUV anecdote, my mom recently got an SUV, even though she is the only one who drives it and the bulk of her driving is in Sterling Heights. (the city is flat, well planned, and with excellently managed public works) Her reason? "I want something new." New? Everyone and their brother has one these days, how is it new? Oh well.

--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]

The United States (3.53 / 13) (#280)
by DarkZero on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:02:41 PM EST

Have any of you actually considered that maybe some of the people that have SUVs actually use them for their intended purpose, rather than to intentionally ram smaller cars or to mirror your obscure reference to 15th century aristocrats lording their excess over their malnourished servants? My family has an SUV and we regularly use it to lug large objects around, go off-road, or just to get to work during the winter. I know this may be shocking to some of you, but the United States is not made up of only New York, Seattle, San Diego, and the mile or so of snowless tropical plains in between them. Some areas of the United States, such as, say, the majority of the fucking country, are not flat, temperate urban areas with large mass transportation systems set in place. Large portions of the country are actually either suburban areas that have no mass transportation and get fairly bad winter storms, or worse, rural areas with poorly kept roads and long distances between destinations. If you would take a drive outside of your large, highly populated city and the surrounding fifty miles some time (in the case of US residents) or visit somewhere other than New York or Disney Land on your vacations (in the case of foreigners), you might discover that the United States isn't the large urban area that you thought it was and that maybe SUVs aren't just a bourgeois status symbol designed to kill the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the black.

It's easy to be a martyr for the environment and drive around in a Miata covered in "Save Mother Earth" bumper stickers when the only driving that you do is in cities, on highways, and to and from the local coffee shop. You don't need the space to carry large objects because living in a one- or two-bedroom apartment means that you don't have any large objects to carry. You don't need the space to carry a large amount of people because, at least in the case of the eighteen year olds and twenty-somethings here bitching about "soccer moms" that have minivans or SUVs, you don't have any kids, and thus don't even have much of a family to move around, let alone the friends of that family. You don't need a car with a little bit of height and lot of power because the roads around you never have any hills, are never absolutely destroyed by the cold and ice during the winter the way they are in some parts of the country, and are definitely never made of dirt. You also don't need a car like that just to get to work in the snow, because that's what the buses, taxis, and subways that are available to you twenty-four hours a day are for.

So please excuse the bourgeois arrogance of 90% of America being able to get to work, get their kids to school, and generally go on with their lives. We're so sorry that our existence offends you.

you made your own point (4.75 / 4) (#285)
by nasgul on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:10:02 PM EST

90% of the people who drive these tanks DON'T NEED THEM. I agree that in rural areas and areas with poor weather they are often a necessity. But half the commute crowd I see on the way to work daily are soccer moms who have already forced their kids to walk down the ramp ladder of their 10ft tall SUV to get to school and continue on to the office alone. Getting 10mpg. If one of them hits me while putting on their makeup or yakking on their cell, they better kill me because I will never let them forget what they did if they don't.

[ Parent ]
Bullshit (1.00 / 1) (#310)
by DarkZero on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:54:13 PM EST

The majority of the people in the United States do not live in cities, and I was not talking about simply rural areas or "areas with poor weather". In southern, suburban New Jersey alone, the winters get bad enough that there are several days in the winter when the person that owns only a small car or even a modest Sedan is not getting to work and is not driving his kids to school unless he makes them wake up an hour and a half earlier than usual and take the bus. He's either calling up someone with a truck or SUV (as several people do to my family in the winter) or calling in sick. And southern, suburban New Jersey definitely doesn't count as an "area with poor weather" by any standard other than a Californian's or a Floridian's.

But half the commute crowd I see on the way to work daily are soccer moms who have already forced their kids to walk down the ramp ladder of their 10ft tall SUV to get to school and continue on to the office alone. Getting 10mpg.

What are they supposed to do, drop their kids off and then drive home and change cars? I know that there's a popular image of SUV drivers being rich, luxurious, decadent people with loads of money, but even that ridiculous image doesn't stretch into thinking that SUV drivers have both the money and the flexible schedules to drop their kids off in an SUV and then drive home to hop in a smaller car and drive to work in that. In reality, most families only have the money to afford one car, especially if it's an SUV, and if they have enough specific needs that they require the features of an SUV, then they have to buy the SUV and nothing else.

If one of them hits me while putting on their makeup or yakking on their cell, they better kill me because I will never let them forget what they did if they don't.

Congratulations, you've reached the crowning achievement of stupidity in this argument: a cell phone reference. Despite the fact that cell phones account for the least amount of deaths due to driver distraction in the United States, people like you feel the need to mention them because the media tells you that they are a huge problem, supposedly unlike the radios in everyone's cars that actually require the driver to look away from the road to use them.

I could practically play Bullshit Bingo with your post. "Soccer moms", drawn out exaggerations of the size of SUVs, and then a reference to being threatened with death on the road by a cellphone. It's amazing how many ridiculous, absolutely false clichés you can fit into a half of a paragraph.

[ Parent ]

Isn't this yet another problem caused by... (none / 0) (#320)
by JanusAurelius on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:13:39 AM EST

...suburban sprawl? Sounds like it from your post, even granting that your points are valid and that the previous poster was just bullshitting clichés.

[ Parent ]
Re: Bullshit (5.00 / 3) (#341)
by blakdogg on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:20:21 AM EST

You would buy a car with the sole purpose of being able to get around in dangerous weather ? In north, Jersey City, and central, New Brunswick, they generally close most schools and offices and advise people to keep off the road in bad weather. The only time a 4x4 would be useful would be during 'surprise' storms and in these cases the roads are usually littered with stalled cars anyway. Maybe your township should consider investing in snow clearing equipment, this would be safer than having citizens traversing snow covered streets. Out here in suburban Philly ? the whole clear and salt idea seems to work well.
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]
Southern Suburban New Jersey (5.00 / 1) (#366)
by Dragomire on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:34:22 AM EST

Funny. I live in South Jersey. The last time we really had weather that fits the description of *needing* a SUV was about, oh, almost 10 years ago.

Big Blizzards. 2 of them. Each dropped over a foot of snow in under 24 hours. IIRC they both happened in the beginning of 1994. It's 2002 now.

We haven't had a real bad snow storm in years. One or two ice storms, but even SUV owners would be nuts to drive in ice storms. We didn't even have any signifigant snowfall at all this past winter, which has led to our wonderful little drought situation....which we have been in since February. February is a prime time for snow storms, normally.

Even on the small snowfalls we've had in recent years, the NJDOT has been out in full force plowing, salting, and sanding the roads before any need to close them down ever arises. You should see the snow removal equipment that is placed at shopping malls now a days. Lately, it's been sitting there, with little to no use.

About the only place you even have to worry about a small snowfall is if you live in a circle/culdesac--like I do. They are nromally the last places to get plowed. Also, my township is a piece of shit when it comes to plowing the streets, but that's West Deptford for you.

As for SUV owners and money, well they can afford to pay the $30 or more it costs to fill the tank every 3 days. Gas is about $1.34 and 9/10ths around here right now, for regular. since most of these SUV's have about 25 gallon tanks, or more, they pay around $33, or more, to fill it, since they normally let the tanks get pretty empty.

And yes, I work at a gas station as my second job. I see the same people in every few days, in their SUV's, paying around $30.

Face it, SUV's have become the new method of travel for the Soccer Mom. Nice comfy leather seats, AM/FM steroe CD player standard, seperate climate controls, etc. The Soccoer Mom's just don't want to be labeled Soccer Mom's by driving a station wagon or a mini-van.

[ Parent ]

Winter in south jersey? (none / 0) (#685)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:29:06 PM EST

Jesus fuck, that is no excuse for an SUV!  I've driven a Corolla, a Contour, and a Coronet in Delaware Valley winters and if you think you need an SUV to deal with a Delaware Valley winter, you're on crack!  If the Coronet can deal with the weather, any modern car can do it.  What makes you think you need an extra hour and a half for the drive?  If you're driving slower due to ice and snow, an SUV wont help you in the slightest - it doesn't have any better braking than a car, and it's higher weight will actually hurt braking.  If it's because of starting on ice and snow (hah!), some good winter tires (1500 for a set of four on avg) will make plenty of difference, and cost much much less than the difference between an Accord and an Explorer.  If the reason you need an extra hour and a half is that only about half of the drivers in NJ seem to know how to deal with snow on the ground, nothing is going to help you with that but moving.  If you look at places where weather actually happens during the winter, you'll see that most people actually drive all winter long with normal cars and rwd pickups.  Unless the weather you're talking about is worse than most places north of Jersey, it's probably something to do with driver education.

mathias

[ Parent ]

'73 VW Bug (none / 0) (#729)
by Dragomire on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 12:07:59 AM EST

That's what I drove during most of the winters down here. The only time it was bad was during those 2 blizzards I mentioned in the post below yours.

And yes, less than half the drivers in NJ know what to do in snow. When I worked full time at a gas station, people would stop in at the slightest hint of snow, to fill up their tanks. But, this is what we term "snow gas". That is, they fill their tanks up, knowing full well they aren't going to go anywhere if there is snow on the ground, but want the tank full in case they need to get somewhere in an emergency while the snow is on the ground.

It's idiotic. These same people go to all the food stores and buy a few gallons of milk and a few loaves of bread in case they get snowed in for days. Morons, I tell you.

Me? I know what to do in snow. I know what to do in ice. I've driven all over in the shit. Ohio, Detroit, the mountains (Pocono Mountains and Adirondack Mountains),you name it. As long as you know how to drive in the bad weather, and the morons keep off the roads, then you should be fine.

[ Parent ]

Bad weather (none / 0) (#742)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 10:06:42 AM EST

I don't have much trouble driving in Missouri snow in my Acheiva. We HAVE had quite a few ice storms that have kept me off the road, but I wouldn't drive in that crap in ANY vehicle!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Just a tiny observance... (5.00 / 2) (#301)
by randinah on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:42:13 PM EST

I grew up in rural Minnesota, which is exactly how you describe where you are (badly kept (and dirt) roads, horrid snowstorms, miles between cities, etc. etc.) and I never needed an SUV. My Camry got me from point A to point B just fine.

When I graduated I moved to Philadelphia, which is more what the majority of the K5 users are talking about. It's absolutely atrocious to see the amount of people frittering away their money on the monstrous disgusting gas guzzlers that they'll never take out of the city.

You're quick to criticize us for never leaving our "big city" to see people who really need SUV's, but until you've seen the ridiculous mess in metropolitan areas caused by these things you sound just a little hypocritical.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
Big Cities (3.00 / 2) (#317)
by DarkZero on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:07:29 AM EST

I grew up in rural Minnesota, which is exactly how you describe where you are (badly kept (and dirt) roads, horrid snowstorms, miles between cities, etc. etc.) and I never needed an SUV. My Camry got me from point A to point B just fine.

Well, good for you, then, because you're a lot better at navigating the roads in a small car than all of the drivers with small cars that get stuck in the snow in the winter in New Jersey (yes, NEW JERSEY, not Alaska or some shit) or hop around the road and practically lose all control of their cars during the summer in rural Maine. From what I've seen, however, there are a lot of people that could use the increased power and stability of a larger car in tough weather or on tough roads, and I certainly can't fault those people for buying SUVs.

When I graduated I moved to Philadelphia, which is more what the majority of the K5 users are talking about. It's absolutely atrocious to see the amount of people frittering away their money on the monstrous disgusting gas guzzlers that they'll never take out of the city.

Have you ever considered that those people might just be commuters? I can't speak for Philadelphia, but I know that in New York City, a large number of the commuters are from the rural areas of New York or suburban areas of New Jersey and Connecticut where the features of their SUVs certainly aren't being wasted. The people that live in the city and never leave it, but have an SUV anyway, are, of course, stupid assholes that are wasting their money and wasting everyone's time. However, I'd think that among all of the commuters, visitors, and New York City residents that frequently visit the surrounding areas, those stupid assholes are probably a minority.

You're quick to criticize us for never leaving our "big city" to see people who really need SUV's, but until you've seen the ridiculous mess in metropolitan areas caused by these things you sound just a little hypocritical.

I see those metropolitan areas on a regular basis and know how bad the traffic is, but I also know that many of the SUVs, and possibly the majority of the automobiles in general in those metropolitan areas, are driven by commuters and visitors, rather than the local residents. Thus, rather than a lot of people wasting their SUVs by only driving them in the city, you might just be seeing people that get a lot of use out of their SUVs that just happen to visiting or working in the city.

[ Parent ]

The suburban wilderness (5.00 / 1) (#364)
by aspartame on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:06:09 AM EST

Well, good for you, then, because you're a lot better at navigating the roads in a small car than all of the drivers with small cars that get stuck in the snow in the winter in New Jersey (yes, NEW JERSEY, not Alaska or some shit) or hop around the road and practically lose all control of their cars during the summer in rural Maine. From what I've seen, however, there are a lot of people that could use the increased power and stability of a larger car in tough weather or on tough roads, and I certainly can't fault those people for buying SUVs.

A good set of snow tires will be much more help in the winter than more mass. More mass == longer stopping distance, especially in poor driving conditions.

Also, I believe that 4 wheel drive is available on many small cars and station wagons (even some very affordable ones). A car with automatic traction control is even better (although I don't think this is available on non-luxury cars yet, some of those luxury cars can cost less than an SUV).

I submit that these people in small cars who get stuck in the snow or loose control of their vehicle would not do much better in a truck. They run into trouble because they are not experienced in poor conditions and do not know the limits of their cars. Driving a larger, more powerful vehicle will not solve this basic problem. In fact, for people who buy poseur SUVs and then believe the hype about their capabilities, it is likely to make the problem worse ("Hey, ice on the road is no problem for my SUV").

--
180 times sweeter than sugar
[ Parent ]

Hmmm .. (5.00 / 2) (#380)
by ekips on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:09:56 AM EST

Well, good for you, then, because you're a lot better at navigating the roads in a small car than all of the drivers with small cars that get stuck in the snow in the winter in New Jersey (yes, NEW JERSEY, not Alaska or some shit) or hop around the road and practically lose all control of their cars during the summer in rural Maine. From what I've seen, however, there are a lot of people that could use the increased power and stability of a larger car in tough weather or on tough roads, and I certainly can't fault those people for buying SUVs.


Just a thought, but .. perhaps those ones losing control should learn how to deal with adverse conditions and/or learn how to drive a little better? The collective ignorance as to how to drive properly in America stuns me at every turn. As stated before, they certainly won't do better in bigger vehicles.

-----------------

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
[ Parent ]
RE: Big Cities (none / 0) (#665)
by randinah on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:26:47 PM EST

Have you ever considered that those people might just be commuters? I can't speak for Philadelphia, but I know that in New York City, a large number of the commuters are from the rural areas of New York or suburban areas of New Jersey and Connecticut where the features of their SUVs certainly aren't being wasted.

I am almost one hundred percent sure that maintenance crews keep the roads surrounding NYC dutifuly plowed and salted during winter time.

Well, good for you, then, because you're a lot better at navigating the roads in a small car than all of the drivers with small cars that get stuck in the snow in the winter in New Jersey (yes, NEW JERSEY, not Alaska or some shit) or hop around the road and practically lose all control of their cars during the summer in rural Maine. From what I've seen, however, there are a lot of people that could use the increased power and stability of a larger car in tough weather or on tough roads, and I certainly can't fault those people for buying SUVs.

These people will be able to get out of ditches, but they'll be experiences a lot more trouble staying on the road in the first place in a heavier car.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
The Compassion is So Touching (1.00 / 1) (#345)
by jazman_777 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:30:32 AM EST

When I graduated I moved to Philadelphia, which is more what the majority of the K5 users are talking about. It's absolutely atrocious to see the amount of people frittering away their money on the monstrous disgusting gas guzzlers that they'll never take out of the city.

Your concern over how much money these SUV drivers spend is very touching. Very.

[ Parent ]

Thank you... (none / 0) (#493)
by randinah on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:25:42 AM EST

For your concern. I really appreciate it when I'm driving to work and choking on the fumes that these "monstrous disgusting gas guzzlers" are needlessly creating.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
Frugality (none / 0) (#790)
by patina on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 09:19:00 AM EST

You're not from Minnesota, are you?

I'd recommend you listen to the News from Lake Wobegon, but, then again, unless you know these people the humor sort of loses its edge.  Suffice it to say that these people can't spend money without suffering massive guilt.

Among my Minnesota kin there is one cousin who owned a Ford Explorer, but he's an inlaw and originally from India so we cut him some slack.

[ Parent ]

Your axioms are incorrect (5.00 / 1) (#444)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:51:39 AM EST

Some areas of the United States, such as, say, the majority of the fucking country, are not flat, temperate urban areas

By area, perhaps, but who gives a flying fart about that? By population the majority of the US is urban.

Large portions of the country are actually either suburban areas

Don't get me started on sprawl. The point here is that if living in the suburbs means you have to drive everywhere instead of walking, that makes it even more important that the vehicle you do that driving in be designed for safety (everyone's, not just yours) and fuel economy. SUVs fail on both points.



[ Parent ]
fine (none / 0) (#540)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:29:35 AM EST

your family seems to have a good reason for driving an SUV, and you sound reasonable enough to hopefully not be among the insanely bad drivers who still think they are driving a sedan. i'm sure it would not be an incredible convenience for you to have to pass a 30-45 minute driving test to get an SUV license.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
SUV Licenses (none / 0) (#557)
by DarkZero on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:53:46 AM EST

i'm sure it would not be an incredible convenience for you to have to pass a 30-45 minute driving test to get an SUV license.

No, it's not a huge inconvenience, but that doesn't mean that it's necessary, either. Despite all of the ridiculous exaggerations in this discussion, an SUV is not as different from a car as a car is from a motorcycle, an eighteen-wheeler, or a tractor, which are the other classes of licenses in most states. By comparison, an SUV is simply a larger and slightly less maneuverable car. Worse, if we were going to go down that road, murkier questions arise: Does an SUV license cover vans, minivans, and very large non-RV vans? Should a motorcycle license still cover small non-motorcycle vehicles, and should that or should that not include vehicles with three wheels or an outer casing? What you're basically suggesting is a reworking of the class-based licensing system to cover extremely similar vehicles of slightly different sizes and details instead of the current system of having different licenses for radically different vehicles with completely different maneuverability, balance, legal, and basic control issues, which I see as needless.

[ Parent ]

it should be needless... (none / 0) (#629)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:09:56 PM EST

i agree, that such a license should be needless. heck, any driver's license should be needless -- simply drive your car and try not to hurt anyone. but the innumerable examples of unskilled SUV drivers means that obviously, a need exists, because they are driving the SUV in a manner which promotes a high amount of danger to surrounding drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. people are buying cars that are simply too big for them to drive safely -- and we are letting them do it in greater and greater numbers every day. yes, it's their own fault for buying a vehicle which they are not capable of driving, but standing by and watching them drive off, one tire on each side of the median, is not the best solution.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
another side effect of suv mass (4.33 / 6) (#283)
by mdouglas on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:08:24 PM EST

is the increased braking distance, which may very well get you into more accidents.

Oh holy hell! (4.33 / 3) (#333)
by butter pie on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:07:11 AM EST

No kidding... I drive a little '95 Toyota Tercel, and I'm going 10 mph over the speed limit in the slow lane, and I STILL get these mammoth tanks so close to my back bumper that I can't even see lower than their headlights in my rear view mirror. You speed up, they speed up too. I wouldn't follow someone that close in anything and if I had to break for any reason at all I'd probably be slammed so hard my seat belt rips off and my head goes through the windshield. I've taken to just tapping my break lights real fast to try to get them to back off; one day one of them is going to be buying me a new car, if they don't manage to kill me in the process. Why do only impatient, self-important assholes buy SUVs? I don't have this kind of problem with other cars even a fraction as much. It's like they get on the road and just decide that they've the right to run everyone else into a ditch. I wouldn't care so much if they drove safely and considerate of other cars, but unfortunately from my experience that's typically not the case.

Nevermind the fact that I can't see around or through them, so it makes *my* driving more hazardous since they're rolling road blocks...



[ Parent ]
Better strategy (5.00 / 1) (#336)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:12:54 AM EST

I've taken to just tapping my break lights real fast to try to get them to back off

This works better. Put your left foot on the brake, and press down really gently. Just enough to get the light on -- usually it will cut in before any actual braking happens. If your car has one of those rear-window mounted brake lights, you can often watch the edges of it for red reflection to judge when the brake lights actually come on. At the same time, hit the gas with your right foot. Watch and laugh as panicked soccer Mom drops back real fast (she thinks you're riding the brake hard), and you simultaneously speed up, thus doubling the effectiveness.

Alternately, if they're going to sit on your bumper, just slow down until you feel you're going a safe speed for that kind of vehicle separation. Hey, it's their call.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Or do pulse braking all the time (none / 0) (#351)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:44:26 AM EST

Cars learn to back off when your tap your brakes so get the blinking brake light effect, works for me most of the time.

That or pop down to third and get that turbo/supercharger going...

[ Parent ]

Or (none / 0) (#357)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:57:23 AM EST

My favorite thing in the world when jerks get really pushy in traffic is to simply be driving a crappy car. Back in MA I used to drive an ancient Plymouth. I had to cross the bridges onto Cape Cod all the time, and in the summer, stupid tourons go nuts, trying to squeeze 8 lanes out of a two-lane merge. I'd just ignore whoever had squeezed up in the non-lane next to me, and drive like they were not even there. After all, a great big scratch down the side of my (free, hand-me-down-from-Mom) Plymouth will bother me not one bit. But how will you feel about your dented Lexus? :-)

Sadly, I can no longer do that in the Jeep, which I do care about. But on the island, when some idiot in an Escalade is oncoming in the middle of the road, I just keep in my lane. After all, my car cost a dollar.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Also... (5.00 / 2) (#358)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:58:27 AM EST

For any tailgaters out there, flashing your lights at me will absolutely guarantee that I will drive the slowest I legally can for the duration of our time together. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
To be fair (none / 0) (#492)
by enry on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:23:14 AM EST

I regularly drive down the mass pike from upstate NY to my home outside Boston.  It's pretty annoying to have some idiot in front of you driving in the left lane that's going exactly the speed limit.

The left (most) lane is for passing, the right lane is for driving.  If you're not passing anyone, move to the right lane.  If there's a bunch of cars in the left lane and you're going faster than them, then by all means stay on the left lane until you pass them.

Regularly driving on the right lane is a hazard to everyone.  It forces anyone who wants to go faster (read: speed) to constantly change lanes.

Not accusing you of it, rusty, but it's a peeve of mine, especially in MA.  The best driving experience I had was on the DC beltway.  The left-most lane was for those getting on/off the highway, next lane was for people who just got on/preparing to get off or those following the speed limit, and the right most lane was going a pretty consistent 70MPH.  As highways should work.

[ Parent ]

Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#605)
by rusty on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:06:15 PM EST

That's obnoxious too. What I'm talking about is when the limit's 65, I'm going 75 in the left lane passing, and some jackass behind me wants to go 85 and decides to sit on the bumper and flash his lights at me.

In general, driving in MA is just the worst, though. I only go down there occasionally. I pity you. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Yeah, I do that too. (none / 0) (#354)
by butter pie on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:48:47 AM EST

I hadn't thought of speeding up and getting the brake light on at the same time, but since I'm usually driving in some amount of traffic and trying to maintain the distance between me and who-ever's in front (more than normal if I'm being tailgated), but I do the slowing down thing all the time. I do like to watch them in my rear view mirror when I tap the brakes. (I suppose this is a guilty pleasure of mine...) Usually if I drive slow enough, long enough, they'll eventually pass and leave me alone. But as I stood outside of my car and watched the driver of a truly massive pick-up truck just slowly back into the rear fender of my parked car, while I was already nearly at his driver-side door and yelling -- my car's so low to the ground he just never even saw it -- some of them are alarmingly unaware of the other cars on the roads and parking lots around them. :(



[ Parent ]
The fact that they block my visibility... (none / 0) (#352)
by Lion on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:45:05 AM EST

...is the one that bothers me the most. About the asshole bit: That pretty much holds true as far as my experience from being in cars (driving, riding) is concerned. I guess that since they see everything a bit from above the other cars, they feel superior and that the rules do not apply to them.

[ Parent ]
I seem to recall... (none / 0) (#427)
by Shren on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:31:36 AM EST

I seem to recall that flashing your high beams also flashes your brakelights. That was a favorite tactic of a friend of mine - you don't have to slow down the slightest bit, you don't even have to take your foot off the gas.

[ Parent ]
Hazard lights (none / 0) (#491)
by enry on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:16:21 AM EST

Not high beams.  Toggle the hazard lights and they get off your tail real quick.

-Enry, driving a '96 Saturn that still gets 35MPG.

[ Parent ]

Camera flash (none / 0) (#518)
by wiredog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:59:09 AM EST

This works best at night. Get a camera flash, the kind with a test button. When someone gets on your ass, charge up the flash, hold it out the window (remember, it will reflect off glass, so diong this inside is a bad idea), and hit the test button.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Silly but Workable (none / 0) (#570)
by virg on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:05:13 PM EST

This is very silly, but for reasons only vaguely known to me, it works virtually every time. Simply wave at them in the rearview mirror, or better, out the window. Smile when you do it. Wave like you know 'em. Wave like you've known them since third grade. They'll back off, because (A) it's hard(er) to be an asshole to a person, and by waving, you're no longer just a car in their way, and (B) many of them will back off, wondering if you really do know them. Almost nobody will be an asshole to someone they think recognizes them.

Like I said, these reasons may be completely off base, but I do this regularly and it's a notable event when it doesn't get the tailgater to back off (even teenagers in big thudmobiles).

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
solution not mentionned (4.25 / 8) (#287)
by loudici on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:14:44 PM EST

of course nobody mentions that the reasonable way to stop that is to raise the taxes on gas and use that money to build safer roads, pay bus drivers and get a transit system that is worthy of the world's most powerful country.

on a sidenote that would save you the 100 billions dubya is planning to burn in 'desert storm II, the revenge of the son'.
gnothi seauton

One problem with higher gas taxes is (none / 0) (#326)
by cooldev on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:41:06 AM EST

Semi truck drivers get the shaft. For temporary increases they often end up eating the cost, and a long-term increase would raise the price of consumer goods.

The better option is to dramatically increase the fees to for the yearly registration renewal of such vehicles to get the same effect, or perhaps make commercial trucks exempt.



[ Parent ]
Semi trucks (4.00 / 1) (#362)
by aspartame on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:37:47 AM EST

Why should semis be treated differently?

If we were to tax automotive fuel to reflect the real costs of obtaining it, burning it, and maintaining the roads, perhaps it would turn out to make economic sense to do long-haul shipping by train.

--
180 times sweeter than sugar
[ Parent ]

Sure, but... (5.00 / 1) (#368)
by cooldev on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:36:13 AM EST

I wouldn't mind it, but I'm financially able to absorb the increased fuel costs for my car as well as the across-the-board price increase of consumer goods that would result.

Unfortunately the poor and middle classes get hit disproportionately hard with this kind of tax increase, both due to their relative inability to pay and the fact they tend to have jobs that require more driving and/or longer commutes.

Everything else aside, we've first got to get legislation passed to reclassify SUVs and remove the asinine loophole that makes them exempt from the Gas Guzzler Tax.



[ Parent ]
you are able to afford it? (none / 0) (#598)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:58:13 PM EST

i do not think we are talking about the same kind of tax here. i am not talking about a 10% tax. i am talking about the kind of gas tax that is applied in european countries, where a dollar is what you pay for a liter of gas, not a gallon.

as for the lower and middle class people being unfairly affected. that IS a problem.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

Trains (none / 0) (#524)
by wiredog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:10:38 AM EST

are fueled by diesel. Just like semi-trucks. Also, trains don't run everywhere. It's the shipping version of the last-mile problem.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
trains (none / 0) (#595)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:52:20 PM EST

are mostly electrical- and even when they were diesel they used much less energy ( rail is way more efficient than tires).

about that last mile problem: how often do you need things delivered that come in a semi? facilities that do need big volumes of things delivered can
afford to either get a rail track to them or get containers taken from the train onto a truck for the last mile.

L
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

Where do you live (none / 0) (#610)
by wiredog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:36:25 PM EST

I assure you that all freight trains in the US are diesel fueled.

how often do you need things delivered that come in a semi
Every day, in a grocery store.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

diesel trains (none / 0) (#619)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:49:53 PM EST

well i am apalled....
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
No Problem (none / 0) (#562)
by yooden on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:57:52 AM EST

Semi truck drivers get the shaft.

Tax diesel less.

[ Parent ]
semi truck drivers (none / 0) (#589)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:39:47 PM EST

2 answers to that:
1- you can get a lower tax rate for commercial vehicles to avoid throwing the whole truck
industry away.

2- using trucks for long distance freight is an environmental and safety nonsense. trains use considerably less energy, less human resources,
and are an order of magnitude safer.

the reason trucks are cheaper is that roads are being paid for by federal and states taxes whereas
amtrak has to maintain its rail network.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

separate the gas tax and the deisel tax? (n/t) (none / 0) (#692)
by rantweasel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:02:01 PM EST



[ Parent ]
transit doesn't work. (none / 0) (#426)
by bgarcia on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:20:45 AM EST

nobody mentions that the reasonable way to stop that is to raise the taxes on gas and use that money to ... get a transit system that is worthy of the world's most powerful country.
Transit doesn't stand a chance of success except within large cities. Most Americans live in suburbia or rural areas.

Even if these people had a good bus route to get to work within a city, they would still need a vehicle to do everything else.

[ Parent ]

that is the point (none / 0) (#591)
by loudici on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:46:12 PM EST

transit only works within the cities?

yes-and it is only needed there. cars are useful to
connect remote residential areas to the transit network. why go farther than the bus/train/streetcar parking lot?

L

gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

Answers. (none / 0) (#652)
by bgarcia on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:54:00 PM EST

why go farther than the bus/train/streetcar parking lot?
Well, I'll tell you:
  • Costs more to take a bus.
  • Takes longer to take a bus.
  • Limits your travel options while at work.
These downsides could be offset if:
  • The bus were free/cheap
  • Busses were frequent
  • Parking in town is very, very expensive.
But that's just not the case for many people.

For example, I work in Pittsburgh. Now, if I worked in downtown Pittsburgh, the cost of parking might be enough to cause me to take a bus, but our company has a huge, free parking lot, so there is no need.

Even when I commuted to college in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, I was able to find a place to park for free. Being able to come and go as I please is just too much of a convenience to give up if the cost is not outrageous.

[ Parent ]

Uhhh (none / 0) (#849)
by NDPTAL85 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:22:12 PM EST

Most Americans live in urban areas. 60% of them.

[ Parent ]
Hey why not? (5.00 / 2) (#288)
by nasgul on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:16:06 PM EST

Here's the next generation of SUVs! Soon we'll all be driving rigs that measure their fuel consumption in gallons per mile!

Beat you to it by 30 mins. :) n/t (none / 0) (#296)
by jabber on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:31:04 PM EST

.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Try cycling next to that Excursion (4.60 / 10) (#289)
by hans on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:17:11 PM EST

If you think its scary being in a little hatchback, try being out in the open on a bicycle next to that hulking mass of shit. I almost got my clock cleaned yesterday because my head fell below the side view mirror of a large SUV on the ride home last night. I'm just lucky I had enough momentum to pass him.

Ahh yes... (3.00 / 1) (#486)
by MKalus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:07:52 AM EST

similar experience, I was on a training ride a couple of weeks back and got almost hit by a mirror on one of those SUV's conviniently they are on the height of my head, the bike helmet wouldn't have done any good on this one, I wonder why those idiots couldn't get on the OTHER LANE to pass.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
enough momentum (3.00 / 1) (#508)
by wiredog on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:48:57 AM EST

You passed the SUV? On the right or left? If the former, you do realize that that sort of thing is discouraged. If the latter, why were you riding in the left lane?

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Right or left (4.00 / 1) (#719)
by hans on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:38:16 PM EST

Discouraged by who? Mass. General Statutes allow cyclists to pass traffic on the right. Its one of the privileges of being a cyclist: We don't get stuck in traffic so easily. It would also be fine for me to be on the left side of the SUV if it was making a right turn. By your logic, I don't belong on either the left or right side of the car?

[ Parent ]
Living in New England (3.50 / 2) (#293)
by jabber on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:29:34 PM EST

I have two cars, a 95 Mitsu 3kGT and a 91 Isuzu Rodeo.

The Rodeo drives like a truck, not one of these new, deceptively car-like SUVs, and the feel of it makes you respect it. You sit higher up, you have to corner slower, and you go through gasoline like it's going out of style. I only drive it in the Winter, because, frankly, the 4x4 and clearance do make a difference.

Except for when there's over a foot of snow on the ground, I feel much safer in the 3k, by a long shot. Not only does it give me the speed to get out of harm's way, it's much more comfortable on my back, and it gets nearly double the mileage of the Rodeo.

The SUV gets use only in the Winter, or if I need to move something other than trivial cargo. I can actually put a full-sized refrigerator in the back of the thing. The rest of the time it sits in the garage, and serves to drop my insurance thanks to the multi-car discount.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

my anti-SUV vigalante fantasy (4.00 / 6) (#297)
by The Shrubber on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:31:47 PM EST

I have always fantasied about organising an international anti SUV action.  Now, we can't run around and key people's stuff en masses, cuz two wrongs don't make a right, but what we can do is add a little shame.

How about we make removable bumper stickers and start slapping them all over people's SUVs.  We can hit them with stuff like

GAZ GUZZLER
ROAD HOG
SMOG MAKER
DEATH TRAP
KILLING MACHINE
ASSHOLIFICATION DEVICE

This stickers should probably be accompanied by a wee flyer under the wiper, explaining our views and the fact that these stickers are removable.

We'll probably not suceed in actually shaming any of these drevers, and might even get some grr-fucking-hippeee-tree-hugger backlash, but at least it'll let people know that somebody cares, and is getting very pissed off.

---
P.S. ok, the slogans are lame, but it's still an idea, right?

I'm changing the climate. Ask me how! (5.00 / 2) (#299)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:38:00 PM EST

It's been done, although with non-removable stickers.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Ooh. (none / 0) (#378)
by ekips on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:00:28 AM EST

I've got to find a sticker that says that that I can fit onto my bike. Maybe I'll put it on the fender ...

-----------------

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
[ Parent ]
Official Site (none / 0) (#776)
by asreal on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 06:45:50 PM EST

The stickers say just that... "I'm changing the climate. Ask me how!"

The site is here.

i trust i can rely on your vote
-asreal
[ Parent ]

Or.. (none / 0) (#350)
by Plastic Jeebus on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:42:35 AM EST

You could just torch the things like the ELF does. Granted, that's waaaay more extreme than your idea.


-- The second coming was scheduled for 2000, but the mother aborted.
[ Parent ]
more ideas... (1.00 / 1) (#650)
by NFW on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:51:36 PM EST

SUPPORT OPEC
BURN MORE FUEL

CAN'T SEE AROUND ME?
ASK ME IF I CARE!

SMALL HANDS, SMALL FEET
BIGGEST CAR I CAN AFFORD

PLEASE STOP HONKING!!!
I CAN'T HEAR THE PHONE


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

Please (none / 0) (#848)
by NDPTAL85 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:52:07 PM EST

The stickers would simply become a fashion statement and people would wear them with pride. Still other folks would become rich selling your very own philosophy in a mocking manner.

[ Parent ]
Fuck SUVs anyway. (4.33 / 21) (#302)
by kitten on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:44:07 PM EST

Sport-utility vehicles: When you absolutely, positively have to haul six passengers and a piece of eight-foot square plywood up a mountain: Accept no substitutes.

Would someone please explain to me the attraction to these road-hogging eyesores? Let's face a few facts:

1. SUVs are touted as the pinnacle of 'cool' while minivans are the scum of the road. Yet both vehicle classes are virtually identical (the SUV is a bit higher off the ground, ooh). Minivans carry their stigma in part because of the overwhelming percentage of "soccer moms" that drove them in the late 1980s and into the mid 1990s. "Don't wanna drive a mommy wagon," people said, refusing to drive minivans unless absolutely unavoidable. But look around, people: Those soccer moms - almost all of them - are driving SUVs now.

2. SUVs developed from hybrid jeep-type vehicles and trucks; they were specifically designed to haul heavy loads over rough terrain. You do not need an SUV to drive your bratty snothouse kids around on the paved roads of suburbia.

3. They're not nearly as safe as you think they are. Being top-heavy, they have a high liklihood of roll-over accidents and despite their overbearing size, they are not at all sturdy; a Suburban, for example, was totalled by the insurance company after a 25mph collision with a bicycle. (I'm not making this up. A friend of mine, avid cyclist, was hit by a Suburban at around 25mph. He was scraped up badly but otherwise okay; the SUV was totalled by the insurance company from this. What would happen if the Suburban had struck something slightly more massive, like say, a car? Or another SUV?)

4. "But I use it for off-roading." You do not require a fucking SUV that can barely fit in a normal parking space, just so you can go "off-roading" (read: drive around in the mud like an idiot) one hour a month. And don't tell me you bought a 70-thousand dollar Lexus or Mercedes SUV for "off-roading" purposes. If you drive an SUV, chances are you're a suburbanite who has never set food in the wilderness anyway, so don't give me this "off-roading" crap.
Don't take my word for it: From the SUV-one.com site - "Most will never take their expensive SUV's off the road into situations that can get them into trouble because they will probably be driving only on approved Forest Service roads or other good dirt roads."

5. "But I have lots of kids." Then get a minivan. And look into birth control.

6. They're damn near impossible to manuvuer. I was almost hit yesterday by some idiot trying to finingle an Expedition into a gas station.

7. They can barely fit into normal parking spaces.

8. They are impossible to see around, causing potential accidents. Especially the REALLY large ones.

9. They have blind spots large enough to hide a small elephant in.

10. They're just plain ugly.

The prosecution rests. For now.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
A comment from a northerner... (3.00 / 8) (#342)
by Colin Dellow on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:22:23 AM EST

My mojo's gonna get killed for this post, but that's ok.

I live way up north. Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada. "Famous" for being the start of the Alaska Highway. Up here, SUVs would be practical. But that's ok, because you can drive your SUV whereever you want to! It's your right!

1. Pinnacle of cool -- I will neither applaud nor condemn people for selecting a car based on coolness or not. This is an ad hominem attack against a person's desire to fit in. Please do not use it again.

2. Specifically designed to haul heavy loads over tough terrain. -- Or to haul any load. Or to to go over tough terrain, regardless of cargo. If I have the money for it, I'll buy an SUV/truck if I damned well want to. It's more flexible.

3. Not safe. -- Your anecdote is nice, but not an actual argument. BZZT.

4. "But I use it for off-roading." -- Again, an anecdotal retort. If they laid out $40,000 for the SUV/truck, I doubt they'll feel the need to lie to you to justify their purchase. And why are you insulting off-roading? More ad hominem whining?

5. Get a minivan. -- Why? It's their money. If your friend was showing you their seven bedroom house, would you tell them it's too pretentious and to get a smaller house? And to tell them how to lead their sex lives...?

6. They're damn near impossible to maneuver. -- BZZT. Fallacy. They require more skill and practice. They aren't "damn near impossible". I have been *almost* hit by many makes of cars, and many makes of cars have actually *hit* other cars. Do you have any stats or here, or just more anecdotal bitching?

7. They can barely fit into normal parking spots. -- But they do fit. We've both seen poor park jobs, regardless of the kind of vehicle.

8. They are impossible to see around. -- Then increase your following distance to be safer. It's called defensive driving.

9. Blind spots. -- See 8.

10. They're just plain ugly. -- See 1.

Kuro5hiners, you shame us by consisently rating the above trollfest with 5s. The logic was spotty and filled with attacks against the person who buys SUVs, and blanket complaints which could be adequately fixed by better driving on the complainer's behalf. Was the above post really the creme de la creme of K5 material?
-- Colin Dellow cldellow.ndschool@org
[ Parent ]

Try again. (5.00 / 2) (#453)
by kitten on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:01:57 AM EST

I will neither applaud nor condemn people for selecting a car based on coolness or not. This is an ad hominem attack against a person's desire to fit in.

Nope. Sorry, but like it or not, a huge percentage of SUV owners have them purely as status symbols and for no other reason. My attack is therefore completely legitimate.

Or to haul any load. Or to to go over tough terrain, regardless of cargo. If I have the money for it, I'll buy an SUV/truck if I damned well want to.

And I make fun of you for it if I damned well want to, especially if the "rough terrain" that 90% of SUV drivers are on is the paved roads of suburbia.

Your anecdote is nice, but not an actual argument. BZZT.

Fine, discount the anecdote. I understand.
But the rollover thing? That's hard data, good sir. Statistically speaking, SUVs have a much higher rollover rate than any other vehicle, and there is very little protection built in (such as the roll bars in, say, most convertables, where frankly I'd feel safer in the event of a rollover).

Again, an anecdotal retort. If they laid out $40,000 for the SUV/truck, I doubt they'll feel the need to lie to you to justify their purchase. And why are you insulting off-roading?

Sorry, but I don't buy it. I don't know what area you live in, but in Atlanta, a huge number of teenagers and young 20somethings drive SUVs. I used to bitch about this in high school, and the response was always "It's for off-roading!"
No, nobody needs to justify their purchase, but they often feel the need to, and when they offer this sort of rationalization (and they do offer it), I'm going to call them on it.
And why am I bitching about offroading? I'm not bitching about offroading in and of itself - I'm bitching about the purchase of a 40 thousand dollar gas-guzzling road-hogging eyesore which is a hazard to everyone else on the road, so that someone can drive around in the mud with it for a few hours a month.

BZZT. Fallacy. They require more skill and practice. They aren't "damn near impossible". I have been *almost* hit by many makes of cars, and many makes of cars have actually *hit* other cars. Do you have any stats or here, or just more anecdotal bitching?

I said "damn near", not "completely", and it was partially hyperbole. Learn to identify that and you'll stop sounding so foolish.
Fact is, SUVs are much larger, have a wider body, heavier weight, and a far worse turning radius than other vehicles. This makes them much more difficult to manuever than any car.
With the right amount of skill, maybe these shortcomings can be compensated for. I think you know as well as I that most drivers do not have this skill, and therefore your argument is useless, unless you plan on sending SUV drivers to special schools before they're allowed to drive their hulking land barges.

They are impossible to see around. -- Then increase your following distance to be safer. It's called defensive driving.

I drive ridiculously defensively, thank you very much. I'm talking about when I'm sitting behind one in traffic, trying to make a turn. I can't see if anybody is coming the other way. I can't see if there's an obstacle up ahead that the SUV is going to have to slow down for; one minute we're cruising along, the next minute he's standing on his brakes. I have to brake too, and because I follow fairly far back, I don't hit them (obviously), but I'd have a much more comfortable margin for error if I could have anticipated the event first. It's like driving behind a wall.

As for your other rebuttals - they do have larger blind spots. Period. Yes, *I* can follow much further behind, and I do, but the entire population should not have to alter their driving methods to suit the shortcomings of poorly-designed vehicles. The vehicles should be altered.

And yes, they are ugly. I'm sorry you disagree.

the above trollfest with 5s. The logic was spotty and filled with attacks against the person who buys SUVs, and blanket complaints which could be adequately fixed by better driving on the complainer's behalf.

Oh puh-leez. This was not a "trollfest". It was a rant. A rant, not a formal argument, so I don't need to adhere to total logic. I'm just steaming off some of the more popular arguments against SUVs.
You don't know me well enough to make statements about my driving, and I'm not going to bother telling you what a great driver I am because I can't prove it any more than you can disprove it. But it seems to me that you're making your own fallacy by making assumptions.
Furthermore I think it is the height of arrogance to suggest that I should alter my driving habits to accomdate someone else's choice of vehicle.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
You got that right.. (none / 0) (#530)
by kfl49 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:12:41 AM EST

kitten, I guess you are from Atlanta, too. I'm there with you when you talk about these teenagers and moms that drive these monsters carelessly on the roads. I really don't get the logic behind driving these 4x4's in ATL where it doesn't fucking snow ALL YEAR... It would make sense if I was living in Alaska or somewhere, where I would need a different type of vehicle, but come on.. this is the south and all you need is 4 wheels with A/C riding at the same bumper level with everybody else... You can imagine the number of lane changes I have to do everyday, on I-75 to see what the hell is happening with the traffic in front of me.. This really becomes difficult when you have 7 tons riding with tinted windows in front of you and when they crash or hit something it will be too late no matter how much distance you put in between! This much discussion is not even needed, it's the auto industry, baby.. most people still don't get why the government is not regulating the industry enough.. Has anyone ever heard the words "lobby" and "profit"??? oh i can't stop.. i gotta say this, the discussion about being cool, I'd suggest our friend to visit ATL and see what kind of shit can be put on these ugly vehicles as "accessories".. I'm sure those people think they are COOL with their gold rims, 6 screens, disturbing audio systems and worst of all they act like they own the fucking roads... I hate SUV's and pick up trucks in the city, that's it. (and I love off-road btw)

[ Parent ]
A comment from an off-roader (4.66 / 6) (#356)
by majubma on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:56:26 AM EST

If you want to go off-roading, the largest vehicle I would ever recommend is the Jeep Liberty with its 96-inch wheelbase (curb weight: 4,000 lb.) I've never seen anything bigger than a Pathfinder get up the trails I use. Land-ships like the Excursion are an abomination in every sense of the word, as they are almost completely worthless for either "sport" or "utility."


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]
You've got it right (none / 0) (#417)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:44:12 AM EST

You are one of the few people against SUVs who are not advocating government intervention (when has the government ever fixed a problem without making it worse?).

Shame them into not driving these things when they don't need them.

[ Parent ]

Offroading, my ass (none / 0) (#450)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:01:08 AM EST

4. "But I use it for off-roading." You do not require a fucking SUV that can barely fit in a normal parking space, just so you can go "off-roading" (read: drive around in the mud like an idiot) one hour a month.

You got right. People who really do offroading use vehicles specifically designed for the purpose. Statistics have shown that only a few percent of SUVs ever go off-road during their entire lifetimes. Indeed, the vast majority could not be used for real off-roading, because they lack the clearance, skid plates, tires, etc. for it. They're car substitutes, pure and simple. They're used to commute - usually alone - to work, and to run errands around town, just like cars.

In a similar vein, consider this. I hike a fair bit. I've made a point of paying attention to what vehicles other hikers use, and guess what? The percentage of SUVs goes down as you get closer to the real wilderness. I have never ever seen a Ford Compensator or similar vehicle at a trailhead. You'll find a few more pickups and some SUVs (mostly the RAV4/CRV types) at campgrounds, a few more at B&Bs and hotels, and the majority nowhere near the wilderness.

People are either truly active in the outdoors, or they pay $30-50K for the image, but very rarely both. Spuds drive SUVs.



[ Parent ]
More than that (none / 0) (#515)
by Rand Race on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:56:28 AM EST

"Indeed, the vast majority could not be used for real off-roading, because they lack the clearance, skid plates, tires, etc. for it."

Hell, the majority lack even a limited slip differential (much less 4WD). I was parked in a dirt lot once and it had rained while I was shopping. I am walking up to my car and I notice the Explorer parked next to me trying to get out. He wasn't going anywhere because the one wheel getting power was spinning away like mad (and slinging mud onto my car). I got in my RX-7 and positractioned my two seater sportscar right out of the lot with narry a problem, flipped the dildo in the SUV off, and laughed at his expression of anger and loathing. What moron gets an "off road vehicle" without even an LSD!?

OT: Dildo isn't in K5's dictionary!?


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

The Simpsons said it best... (4.50 / 2) (#306)
by solstice on Tue Jul 30, 2002 at 11:47:25 PM EST

Canyonero... canyonero!

A little digging found the whole song (none / 0) (#429)
by GrassyKnoll on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:38:16 AM EST

Can you name the truck with four wheel drive,
Smells like a steak, and seats thirty five?
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down
It's the country-fried truck endorsed by a clown
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Hey, hey!
Twelve yards long, two lanes wide,
Sixty five tons of American pride!
Canyonero! Canyonero!
Top of the line in utility sports,
Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts!
Canyonero! Canyonero!
She blinds everybody with her super high beams
She's a squirrel-squashin', deer-smackin' drivin' machine
Canyonero! Canyonero! Canyonero!
Whoa, Canyonero! Whoa!

[ Parent ]
This story should have never been posted (2.30 / 10) (#319)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:10:35 AM EST

The Ford Excursion is not the most popular SUV around -- the most popular SUV is the Explorer, which is a much smaller vehicle.

One of the amazing things about the free market is that it is free -- you can buy whatever you want. I just bought a home that needs alot of work. The Honda Civic is wonderful, but fitting stuff in the tiny trunk makes it rather impractical.

Whining that you do not like big cars or SUV's is just that, whining. Do you stay up at night worrying about the proliferation of 18-wheel tractor trailers?

Drive whatever you want. If you fear driving on the highway because some crazed soccer mom on her cell phone is going to run you down with her Suburban, stay off the interstate. Move downtown and ride your bike to work.

Bikers don't stand a chance (5.00 / 2) (#340)
by xamichee on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:19:23 AM EST

A bike versus an SUV is an even scarier matchup.
I live two miles from my college and ride my bike there everyday. During the past 3 years I have been hit by cars twice while riding in the bike lanes by people not paying attention for the possibitity that some people actually still ride bikes for distances of less than 10 miles.
Both times I was hit it was by compact cars with low bumpers so they knocked the bike out from underneath me and I landed on the hood of the car. If I had been hit by an SUV with a high bumper and front grill, the point of impact would have been somewhere between my shoulders and my waist which would cause much more damage.
I'm getting tired of all vehicles regardless of size because the real problem isn't how big the vehicle is, it's how careless a growing majority of drivers are.

[ Parent ]
Tractor trailers safe (none / 0) (#416)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:40:40 AM EST

At least they have a low, bumper-height bar on them (many on the sides, too) so smaller vehicles don't submarine.

[ Parent ]
Put down the crack pipe.... (none / 0) (#431)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 07:51:34 AM EST

Tractor trailers run as high as 80,000 lbs fully loaded. A collision at high speed with a 2,000 lb car or 8,000 lb uber-SUV results in a bad accident for the people in the car.

The most deadly car-truck accident type is underride. Rear and side collisions with semis, which account for about 25% of crashes, typically result in decapitation for the passengers in a car.

http://www.underridenetwork.org/Parke.html

[ Parent ]

That's the reason (5.00 / 1) (#436)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 08:28:56 AM EST

That's the reason for the bumper-height bars appearing on the trucks. I don't see any without them in Germany. There's no submarining when there's a steel bar at bumper-height.

I've even seen rear bars with a shock-absorber system so they take some of the impact energy rather than a car hitting effectively a stationary object.

[ Parent ]

I'm afraid not. (none / 0) (#460)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:12:59 AM EST

Semis do have lower bumpers but the mass is so high that grinding some rollerskate under your wheels is always a danger. That's why car drivers should always give trucks extra clearance - they need the extra distance to stop.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

most popular SUV (none / 0) (#573)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:13:24 PM EST

i was only repeating from the article in the "Los Altos Town Crier" (my emphasis added):

And dealers can't seem to make enough of these vehicles. Ford is delivering more than 28,000 SUVs a month to showrooms through United States. The Excursion is the SUV most in demand.

sorry if you don't feel it should have been posted. i should have edited it a lot better, taking out the distracting, stupid "class" comments and the like, but SUV safety is a big concern.
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]
Not the most sold (none / 0) (#762)
by Eccles on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 01:40:25 PM EST

The Excursion is the SUV most in demand.

At that time, the Excursion was new, and riding an initial popularity wave. It wasn't so much that so many were being sold, but that demand oustripped supply. (As it turns out, demand for them now is so low that 2003 or 2004 will be their last model year.) Earlier this year, the new RAV4 was the one most in demand; now it's probably the Honda Pilot.

[ Parent ]
"stay off the interstate" (5.00 / 1) (#579)
by zenofchai on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:17:36 PM EST

too bad. regardless of whether or not i own a car and or drive on the interstate, or live downtown and rollerblade to work, i pay taxes. some of those taxes build those interstates. thus i have every right to drive on them if i choose -- without needless risk because of unsafe SUV drivers. if this discussion has taught me anything, it is that a lot of people hold the drivers to be responsible, not simply the fact that they drive an SUV.

Drive whatever you want. If you fear driving on the highway because some crazed soccer mom on her cell phone is going to run you down with her Suburban, stay off the interstate. Move downtown and ride your bike to work.

your argument is too closely akin to: "Walk wherever you want. If you fear walking around downtown because some crazed alcoholic might knife you and take your wallet, stay off the streets. Move to the country and drive your SUV to work."
--
as gold which he cannot spend will make no man rich, so knowledge which he cannot apply will make no man wise.
[ Parent ]

I drive a 4000 pound car :) (4.20 / 5) (#334)
by christian on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:07:40 AM EST

I've got a 1989 Ford Crown Victoria LTD, it's a little bit over 4000 pounds empty, it's got a 5L V8 engine, am I worried about getting hit by an SUV? Yes, but not because of the mass ratio, but more because of the height of the SUV. My car rides high, much higher than your friends honda, but an SUV's bumped is at about head height for all the passengers in my car. An SUV would literally jump right over my car and rest in my face if I ever got t-boned. It's not the weight of the car that matters, it's the ride height. What they should do is have a law that states that all bumpers must be within a certain height from the ground and cannot exceed a certain height off of the ground. That is, a honda bumper and an SUV bumper would be at around the same height. Then I think you'll see some better survivability rates in these accidents. christian

Bumper Laws (none / 0) (#548)
by jred on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:39:04 AM EST

Here in Tennessee, there are bumper height laws. My sister's ex-bf was a mudder, and he had to special bumpers made that complied w/ the law, which he was able to swap out when he was off-road. A 5L V8? You must get great gas mileage. My '79 Caddy Coupe DeVille gets ~10mpg, but it has a 7L V8. It'll get up & go, though :)
jred
[ Parent ]
fuel economy (none / 0) (#787)
by christian on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 05:01:47 AM EST

If I'm doing about 110 km/hr I'll get about 800km/tank. I don't know what that is in miles, but it's about double then what I get when I'm in stop and go traffic. Normally I get around 300-400 km/tank of fuel, I've got a 60 litre tank. But I like 300 horsepower :) Can't part with it :) That bumper law sounds good, I hope it migrates its way north to Canada

[ Parent ]
Fair treatment is all I ask. (4.20 / 5) (#337)
by SuperSheep on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:14:00 AM EST

My issue with SUV's is not that they exist, but that people are using them, not businesses. Yes there is a necessity for businesses to use vehicles with raw power over fuel efficiency. However people aren't them. People may want a vehicle with more power and oomph, but consumer vehicles should be sharply regulated so that all vehicles in the consumer grade class meet minimum requirements for size, fuel efficiency, and the like.

In addition, vehicles that require power as the cost of fuel efficiency should pay a hefty fee for that priviledge because ultimately it's my tax dollars paying for the cleanup and my children who will go without when the resources are gone.

All I'm saying is that consumer grade vehicles should be treated equally (including trucks). Company equipment should be allowed to break the regs, but at a price.

So, my list of changes to the SUV standard to make them fair (insert drum roll).

  1. Fiercly regulate fuel efficiency. If you have to make them hybrids to get the efficiency up, then do so.
  2. Lower the bumpers so that it doesn't make it less safe for other people on the road.
  3. Limit their total tonnage so that they don't wear down roads faster than they already are.
In other words, make the laws equal for the two vehicle sets. Some leeway may be acceptable.

To note a few arguments below (or above): All an SUV is, is a station wagon with worse gas mileage three more feet off the ground. Everything you can fit into your SUV, someone used to fit into their station wagon. I know, I know. Curse me for bringing that to light. The abbreviation for SUV even looks like the abbreviation for station wagon, SW (SUV -> SVV -> SW). Face it people we've been played by the car people. They spin doctored the old drab station wagons, resold them to the public with their stronger more macho feel and we bit, pardon the cliche, hook line and SUV (or should I say SW).

As to the power/towing capacity argument. You can make powerful, fuel efficient cars - They just don't. The car companies cleverly got the SUV classified as a truck, when they knew full well that it would be sold to the general public. And as for the rebutal that people shouldn't have to pay more for a fuel efficient car - I have to say I agree... Yes, as a person, I shouldn't have to pay more to clean up after your SUV. If you want power, pay for the more expensive, fuel efficient engine.

And a final note of justice. I've heard the snow/ice argument a lot recently. Snow may care if you have a heavier vehicle, but ice sure doesn't. Every year I see more crashed, guttered SUV's in ditches than anybody else. When the newscasters say don't go out unless you have to, don't go out unless you have to.

SuperSheep
The sheep are here, and I am their king!

P.S. For those of you who want to make fun of me by calling me a sheep and saying, as you clever, son-of-a-guns always do, that there is special irony in my sig, please, do the world a favor and come up with something more constructive to the argument - you're making the flock upset.



Freedom ... (3.11 / 9) (#338)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:14:21 AM EST

Part of freedom is tolerating other's choices even when you don't agree with them.

Your right to swing your arm ends at my nose, but if I stick my head out trying to get hit, then I bear responsibility.

----

1) SUVs are extravagant and not very useful.

How is that anyone's business but the owner? I think cable TV is extravagant but I am not trying to outlaw it. Most people don't watch all those channels, in fact, how could they? And don't get me started on very large screen TVs!

2) They pollute more.

Most "Gross Polluters" are not SUVs, they are older, poorly maintained vehicles. Modern vehicles, even SUVs, are not the primary cause of air pollution. Modern vehicles are amazingly clean. A single carbeurated engine is going to pollute more than many more modern vehicles, including SUVs. It is estimated that over half of the pollution is caused by these 10% gross polluters. Much of the remaining pollution is caused by diesal big rigs and busses.

3) They have poor gas milage.

Once again, why do you care? Gas is plentiful and cheap. Perhaps this argument makes sense in regards to entanglements in the Middle East. In that case, the argument is better in places like Europe which import a greater percentage of their oil from the Middle East than the U.S. does.

Also, many of them really aren't as bad as other "high performance" vehicles. Compare the Ford Explorer to a Porche 911 or a BMW Z3, for example. Yet very few people criticize these tiny 2 seaters, even though they have only slightly better milage, yet can carry only two people and almost no cargo!

4) They are dangerous because they flip over.

Even though they do tend to tip more, larger vehicles are still safer overall, at least as we can tell by the available statistics. Driver behavior is probably the most important factor. How else can we explain the fact that the deadliest vehicles are also the ones that perform and handle best?

5) They are dangerous to other drivers.

If you are concerned about that, then lobby to have CAFE standards scrapped. It is estimated that more than 40,000 excess deaths are due to cars getting lighter since the 1970s in the US.

Also, for small cars, over half deaths are due to small car vs. small car accidents or small cars in a single car accident. Only 1% of deaths were due to small cars vs. midsize to large SUVs (in 1997).  

So this argument seems to be more emotional than data oriented.

6) They produce more carbon dioxide, thus adding to global warming.

Maybe, but it would be nice to have climate models that actually predict the observations before making policy based on them, IMO.

"Gas is plentiful and cheap." (5.00 / 3) (#346)
by Lion on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:31:50 AM EST

hmm, this is the attitude that has made this planet a polluted dumpster.

[ Parent ]
U.S. is getting cleaner and cleaner. (none / 0) (#536)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:19:43 AM EST

The environment in the U.S. is getting better. But hey, SUVs in the U.S. must be the cause of all the world's woes, right?

[ Parent ]
Smog. (5.00 / 1) (#370)
by ekips on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:41:56 AM EST

We don't need any climate models. It's already happening. Can you explain the dreary haze I see over Los Angeles by any other means? It's certainly not natural.

Granted, there are ways to make SUVs more efficient -- one of those is driving better. Americans are currently 97/3 in favour of automatic transmissions. Manual transmissions in ALL circumstances yield better gas mileage, and allow the driver to increase gas mileage from there. I have a friend with a Honda Insight, which is rated at 61/68 hwy/city. His lifetime averagee? 100 mpg. How? 1-2-5 shifting and staying at a reasonable speed on the freeway. No need to be doing 75 on a 65 freeway. I've gotten there faster than other cars by going -slower- than them.

And then there's the engine. It would be very nice if American gas companies would start carrying BioDiesel and car manufacturers would start making more diesel cars. This would have an incredible effect on emissions AND waste created from simple things like unused cooking oil.

It's incredible what a little ingenuity can do; it's also incredible what breakthroughs the American market is willing to stifle in order to gain more profits. Many European markets already carry BioDiesel. Maybe we should take a hint?



-----------------

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#405)
by Dragomire on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:42:13 AM EST

I like the idea of BioDiesel. Perhaps more time, and money, should be spent in researching recycled products. Vegetable oil is plentiful...hell, just go the damn grease traps at fast food places.

It's a way to recylce waste, and reduce vehicle emmisions? I'm all for it.

But, until I know it's available near me, I suppose I'll look into a hybrid or fuel cell car.

[ Parent ]

Hydrogen! (none / 0) (#407)
by ekips on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 05:49:45 AM EST

Fuel-cell powered cars are excellent alternatives, as well; unfortunately, Chrysler, who just finished a recent cross-country test of their first fuel-cell powered car, says they're still 10 years away from production at reasonable prices.

Granted, if there's some national gas crisis and gas prices are pushed up to $5/gal, I'm sure they'd stup up production and cut that to 3-5 years, but. Supply and demand.

-----------------

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
[ Parent ]
Hydrogen fuel cells (none / 0) (#711)
by janra on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:49:31 PM EST

Actually, I'd say it's not so much 10 years as a breakthrough plus 10 years.

See, hydrogen fuel cells work great. They're marvelous. The only problem is, a fuel cell stack that'll produce enough power for your average car requires about $2-3000 of raw platinum, which then needs to be formed into microcrystals and distributed through the electrodes in the active layer.

If somebody comes up with a cheaper catalyst but still as effective as platinum, or a way to make fuel cells as powerful with about 10 times less platinum, then maybe we'll see affordable hydrogen fuel cell cars. But the limiting factor is the surface area of the catalyst, and already they're down to microcrystals in the search for maximum surface area with minimum mass.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Gross Polluters. (none / 0) (#535)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:18:08 AM EST

Once again, a modern well maintained passenger of any type is not a major contributer to smog. A very small minority of vehicles cause most of the pollution. This minority isn't composed mostly of SUVs. They are mismaintained and older vehicles, and big rigs and busses. Getting rid of every SUV will hardly change the situation at all.

For example, the Toyota Sequoia is one of the largest SUVs, but it is ULEV rated. So even SUVs with large V8 engines can make some of the very strictest of emmission standards.

[ Parent ]

You're a registered Green Party member right? (5.00 / 2) (#373)
by Gray Ghost on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 03:48:04 AM EST

With two of the gas hogs sitting in your garage - and I bet one of them even has a Greenpeace sticker on it.

I am trying to think of what other type of SUV owner would feel the need to justify their existence. Certainly not your typical Republican or Libertarian. Hell even Michael Moore's arguments just amounted to one thing - "I'm from Michigan - waddya want? Quit buggin' me!" And he's just a big sappy tree-hugger at heart.

[ Parent ]
Hi there. (none / 0) (#532)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:13:27 AM EST

I bicycle to work everyday in conditions far severer than most people are used to driving in.

Thanks for caring, though!

You might want to research fallacies of argument. You made a big one in your post.

[ Parent ]

Oil.. (5.00 / 1) (#391)
by ajduk on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 04:45:12 AM EST

<<<Gas is plentiful and cheap. Perhaps this argument makes sense in regards to entanglements in the Middle East. In that case, the argument is better in places like Europe which import a greater percentage of their oil from the Middle East than the U.S. does.>>>

Ah, the new mantra of the anti-environment lobby - 'Gas is plentiful and cheap'.

Well, current market prices are pretty low, but 'plentiful' is hardly how I'd describe it.

http://www.bp.com/centres/energy2002/oil/reserves.asp#

Look at the change in proven reserves 81-91 and 91-01.  We're up to 1000 billion barrels (65% in the middle east). Consumption is around 27 Billion barrels a year and rising.  There is now a year-on-year deficit in discovery vs. consumption.  Personally, I give us 50 years left; that does not count as plentiful in my book, especially as shortages will start to appear in a much shorter time frame.

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=904915

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/tiempo/floor0/recent/issue42/t42a2.htm

Oil production will peak soon, and following that, the middle east will become more and more dominant as a supplier.  The middle east (and especially Saudi Arabia) effectively sets the world oil price already, which means that where you actually get your oil from is pretty irrelevant.

So to summarise: Oil is not plentiful, it will not be cheap for much longer, and the middle east is of extreme importance.

[ Parent ]

Predictions. (none / 0) (#527)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:12:01 AM EST

I guess I tend to dismiss predictions like this.

Maybe it is my age. Some very educated people have been predicting this crisis for decades. They've been wrong every other time, but I'm sure they right this time, yup.

Still, proven reserves show several decades of supply.

But ignoring this, conservation isn't a solution. Finding new energy sources is. So I disagree with your basic premise, but even if I agreed, your solution is flawed.

And as a further aside, energy sources aren't really the problem. There is enough coal to last centuries. It is considered too dirty to use, perhaps technology could aid that? Gasification is expensive, but will be viable with increases in oil prices or technological advances. Canada has huge reserves of oil shale. The require new technology to efficiently harvest. There is plenty of power available in nuclear energy, if we decided to use it.

So, to me, oil is cheap, there is a lot of it, and alternatives are very likely to be developed as needed. This of course, has nothing to do with SUVs, but SUVs are a popular whipping boy.

[ Parent ]

Betting the farm on future technology (none / 0) (#615)
by woofbot on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:43:59 PM EST

I see this argument all of the time and I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of why it is worth believing. Historically, technology has had a track record of bailing us out of some bad situations, but this does not mean it will continue to do so.

What if 50 years from now, we haven't come up with any better energy sources? At that point, we would've already burned through most of our proven reserves, so what would our options be. Massive restrictions on travel? Insanely high gas prices?

I'm hopeful that this would never come to pass, but doesn't it make sense to address the problem now rather than risk a more severe version in the future?

As a side thought, it'd be interesting to see how people's views change if they lived for say 150 years, rather than 50-100 years. It becomes a bit more difficult then to foist our problems off on the next generation. Just a thought.

[ Parent ]

bailing us out? (none / 0) (#627)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 02:03:11 PM EST

Technology will or won't "bail us out" of this potential problem.

However, the miniscule impact of even banning SUVs wll make very little difference in the long term problem of oil running out.

Even if oil runs out "soon", we already have many alternatives to gasoline. It is just that they are not economicaly viable right now. So it isn't really about technology bailing us out, it is about spending limited money on what is cheapest today, rather than spending more today when we don't have to.

[ Parent ]

Energy (none / 0) (#738)
by ajduk on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 06:11:33 AM EST

<<<I guess I tend to dismiss predictions like this.>>>

A lot of people do.  But if you agree that we live on a planet of finite size, then they have to be right eventually, pretty much by definition.

<<<Maybe it is my age. Some very educated people have been predicting this crisis for decades. They've been wrong every other time, but I'm sure they right this time, yup.>>>

Actually, the calculations used correctly predicted the decline of US domestic oil production when the majority of people thought it would rise.  World oil production IS going to start falling within the decade - it may well start to hit as soon as the current recession is over.

It's important to realise just how far oil exploration technology has come since the 1970s (or even 1980s). The geological settings are fully worked out, things like 3D seismic can image the subsurface in incredible detail, and full computer modelling of petroleum systems can be applied.  Despite this, reserves are going down.

And oil usage basically goes to about 10% of the world's population at the moment.  If we raise the living standard of the entire world to first world levels, we'd have about 10 years of oil (including oil shales) and 30-40 years of coal, including lignite.

Basically, if we continue on the fossil fuel track, we are going to face continually higher prices and lower avaliability.

Me?  I'd be putting a lot of money into Fusion research - long term, that is the ONLY energy sourcethat will allow us to maintain and improve our lifestyles.

[ Parent ]

To clarify. (none / 0) (#592)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:46:44 PM EST

Oil is cheap. I don't think anyone could argue otherwise.

It is plentiful. We have decades worth of proven reserves. In fact, we have more proven reserves than anytime in history.

Sometime in the not so near future, it may no longer be cheap or plentiful. Maybe.

So we should use less gasoline (which is only a fraction of oil use) in SUVs (which are only a small fraction of vehicles). Even though CAFE standards have never reduced gas usage, they're gonna bail us out this time.

So we need a big increase in regulations for a very small effect on a problem that doesn't exist today.

[ Parent ]

Did you... (none / 0) (#734)
by ajduk on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 04:16:05 AM EST

Actually read the links...

Oil production will peak within 10 years.  Within 20, practically all the oil left will be in the middle east.  The entire planet has been explored for oil (I should know, I used to work in the oil industry - just decided it wasn't a long term career).

Proven reserves have been dropping since around 1995.  And if you understood just how improved exploration techniques have become over the last decade, you might find this disturbing.

But no, stick your head in the sand and carry on like all the other dittoheads.

[ Parent ]

Maybe ... (none / 0) (#745)
by sonovel on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 10:36:36 AM EST

1) maybe.

I've seen that prediction many many many times.

2) How long would banning SUVs extend oil supply?

As much as a whole year?

See how that works?

There may be a problem in the future, so let's do something symbolic right now!


[ Parent ]

Keep your head in the sand (none / 0) (#751)
by ajduk on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 11:54:41 AM EST

<<<I've seen that prediction many many many times.>>>

That's irrelevant.  Science does not stand still.

<<<How long would banning SUVs extend oil supply?>>

Doubling or tripling the average milage of cars in general in the US via more efficient engines and smaller cars would do a great deal.  Banning SUVs would be a part of this.

There will be a problem in the future, so steps need to start being taken now.

[ Parent ]

Double or triple? (none / 0) (#756)
by sonovel on Thu Aug 01, 2002 at 12:53:14 PM EST

Even if the standards were doubled or tripled on new cars, the overall milage wouldn't go up nearly as much.

In fact, I bet if the requirements were made this strict, many people would just choose to keep their old vehicles running longer.

But in your fantasy world, a swipe of the pen can really work to reduce gas usage.

You might want to look into the history of CAFE standards. They have never reduced gasoline usage.

I'm not sticking my head in the sand at all. If there is a problem as you think, it is not solvable!

You believe that some miracle will occur if we legislate gas milage, and this will somehow let us deal with the problem. I find it ironic that you claim to believe these numbers (i.e. oil running out soon), yet you think that a miniscule, if any, reduction in oil usage will really help the problem.

So, who really has their head in the sand?


[ Parent ]

You! (none / 0) (#786)
by ajduk on Fri Aug 02, 2002 at 04:53:18 AM EST

<<<I'm not sticking my head in the sand at all. If there is a problem as you think, it is not solvable!>>>

There is a problem, and is it solvable given sufficient political will.  Wheras you seem to think that bumbling along and mouthing platitudes will be fine.

<<<You believe that some miracle will occur if we legislate gas milage, and this will somehow let us deal with the problem.>>>

No, it'll buy us a bit of time.

<<<I find it ironic that you claim to believe these numbers (i.e. oil running out soon), yet you think that a miniscule, if any, reduction in oil usage will really help the problem.>>>

First, you have to integrate this oil usage over 20-odd years.  Then you have to realise that even realtively small differences in consumption can have a large effect on prices.

[ Parent ]

In general, I agree, but: (5.00 / 1) (#414)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 06:37:26 AM EST

Compare the Ford Explorer to a Porche 911 or a BMW Z3, for example. Yet very few people criticize these tiny 2 seaters, even though they have only slightly better milage, yet can carry only two people and almost no cargo!

A low-end Z3 gets pretty good mileage, and my higher-performance Lotus Elise gets 35mpg in real world calculated mileage (I believe 40mpg listed). If you normally have no need to haul cargo, why waste gas by hauling all that extra car around most of the time?

Even though they do tend to tip more ... deadliest vehicles are also the ones that perform and handle best?

That's really a problem of driver training, one one side trying to maneuver an SUV as if it were a sports car, and on the other not realizing your new high-power RWD sports car handles differently than your FWD Civic.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 excess deaths are due to cars getting lighter since the 1970s in the US.

Here is standard government idiocy at work. They put up stupid laws supposedly for the benefit of the people, and end up killing people (airbags are a good example). However don't knock small cars just because of CAFE's gross failures. The small Mercedes A-class and the European SMART car are very small, and extremely protective in a crash. Even my Elise is quite safe due to advanced technology and design.

CAFE blew it by just encouraging lightness through fuel economy standards without giving incentives for actual safety.

Maybe, but it would be nice to have climate models that actually predict the observations before making policy based on them, IMO

Come on, when is public opinion ever based on fact rather than poorly supported pseudo-science?



[ Parent ]

Still ... (none / 0) (#519)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:02:30 AM EST

The point isn't that SUVs are efficient, they're not.

The point isn't that no cars are efficient, some are.

It just shows that there are other rather inneficient vehicles that are way less practical than the SUV. Yet these vehicles don't get nearly the criticism of SUVs. Doesn't really make sense to me. Poor efficiency and poor utility is worse than poor efficiency and decent utility, IMO.

Still, I think gas milage is such an overblown issue, so I don't criticize the sporty 2 seaters or the SUVs for it. Why are some people so inconsistent on this? If gas milage is the issue, why do these vehicles seem to be so free of criticism?

[ Parent ]

I don't know about the gas mileage line (none / 0) (#538)
by Quila on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:25:59 AM EST

I haven't seen anyone bashing the Ferrari 500 Maranello with 8 city/13 highway.

[ Parent ]
Let's make a deal (none / 0) (#456)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:05:07 AM EST

5) They are dangerous to other drivers.

If you are concerned about that, then lobby to have CAFE standards scrapped.

OK, let's scrap the CAFE standards, but only if we abandon the fiction that SUVs aren't cars and start applying passenger-car safety and emissions standards to them. Sound good?

Didn't fucking think so. You want to have your "is/isn't a car" cake and eat it too, don't you.



[ Parent ]
Umm ... (none / 0) (#503)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:44:52 AM EST

Non-sequiter.

I am not a fan of CAFE standards (though they may be needed), so why would I want to expand their reach?

That just makes no sense. There is no "cake and eat it too". What logic indicates that since I dislike these laws, that I should think they should be expanded?

I am not a fan of CAFE standards as they have a real cost in human lives that is basically ignored. I think people are more important than saving a few gallons of gas.

[ Parent ]

Kind of cut off, computer troubles. (none / 0) (#517)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:58:25 AM EST

Computer trouble made me save the message a bit early.

I already discussed the pollution issue. The pollution problem isn't primarilly caused by late model vehicles, so further regulating them won't help the problem!


[ Parent ]

Standards are standards (none / 0) (#556)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:52:07 AM EST

Yes, I did notice the way you ignored the part about applying safety standards to SUVs, so you could take your stand where you felt your chances were better. So did everyone else.



[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter. (none / 0) (#563)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:59:28 AM EST

That is a non-sequiter. Had nothing to do with my argument.

----

But should safety standards be the same? Damned if I know.

Some vehicle safety standards are just plain stupid IMO, and shouldn't apply to any vehicles.

But that has nothing to do with my argument, so what is your point?

[ Parent ]

Clarification on CAFE (none / 0) (#553)
by Salamander on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:50:07 AM EST

CAFE is Fuel Economy. I was talking about applying fuel emissions standards to SUVs. Two different things, even if you feel (wrongly) that you've addressed both.



[ Parent ]
I already discussed this. (none / 0) (#564)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 12:00:29 PM EST

See my comment to myself?

[ Parent ]
Can you explain your logic and stats, please? (none / 0) (#468)
by apokalypse on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 09:22:12 AM EST

First you state this:

"1) SUVs are extravagant and not very useful.

How is that anyone's business but the owner? I think cable TV is extravagant but I am not trying to outlaw it. Most people don't watch all those channels, in fact, how could they? And don't get me started on very large screen TVs!"

And then you state this:

"5) They are dangerous to other drivers.
If you are concerned about that, then lobby to have CAFE standards scrapped. It is estimated that more than 40,000 excess deaths are due to cars getting lighter since the 1970s in the US.

Also, for small cars, over half deaths are due to small car vs. small car accidents or small cars in a single car accident. Only 1% of deaths were due to small cars vs. midsize to large SUVs (in 1997)."

So by your logic: who's business is it if everyone wants lighter cars? Who are we to judge that they are less safe and to make people buy heavier cars?

Finally, provide a link when you have statistics; otherwise they are worthless. These stats seem very dubious.

[ Parent ]

We aren't _allowed_ to choose. (none / 0) (#497)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:39:03 AM EST

"So by your logic: who's business is it if everyone wants lighter cars? Who are we to judge that they are less safe and to make people buy heavier cars? "

I say let people buy the cars they want. However, if you really care about safety, you might want to re-examine the CAFE standards.

CAFE standards restrict what kind of cars people are allowed to buy, both by eliminating certain classes of vehicles (eg. the old full size station wagons) and making larger vehicles more expensive (automakers can't sell too many of them, therefore they raise the price to keep demand down).

So my position seems consistent -- Let people drive what they want, large or small. Only let's decide what's important. If it is safety, then CAFE standards may not be the best idea. The mismatch problem is caused, at least in part by these regulations.

It isn't about what people want to buy. It is about what people are allowed to buy.


[ Parent ]

Stats. (none / 0) (#546)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:38:47 AM EST

The independent National Academy of Sciences also discusses this in a report.

The more than 40,000 number comes from a 1999 USA Today analysis. Here's the story.

[ Parent ]

poor logic (none / 0) (#481)
by tomkarlo on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 10:01:19 AM EST

On mileage:

Once again, why do you care? Gas is plentiful and cheap.

Actually, the argument is better in Europe because they raise gas prices to properly reflect the /social cost/ of using it. In the US, our gas prices are basically subsidized by the public because it doesn't include the cost of pollution, noise, safety, and health associated with its usage.

4. flipping over

I don't care that they flip over. If you drive a top-heavy vehicle and you flip over, that's your fault. But it IS my concern that you may decide to say, not swerve around a pedestrian or vehicle because you know it will cause you to roll over.

5. Safety to other cars

1997 is a little old for data, btw.

It's not the fault of lighter cars, nor is it a truth that lighter cars are always safer than heavier cars (and I used to study NTSB crash data for work.) I'd far rather run into a wall in a well-designed, energy absorbing light car than a 50's steel block of the same design like a Caddy. Sure, the Caddy might look better after the impact -- but the passengers won't, because so much of the impact will be passed through to them. It's all about peak G force.

Small cars tend to have a disproportionate number of accidents, period, because of who drives them -- teenagers, primarily. But I don't know why you're centering on that. People here aren't talking about an SUV vs a Kia -- they mean any car, including big things like Grand Marquis and S80s.

It's all good to say "well, that's the small car guy's problem" but that's like claiming it's ok for me to put a big metal spike on the front of my car for protection. Sure, it's "the other guys problem"... but it's my fault. The same applies to people who drive excessively heavy vehicles simply because they like the style, or because they /might/ want to carry a bike or something one day.

[ Parent ]

Safety stats. (none / 0) (#550)
by sonovel on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 11:43:14 AM EST

Do you have an analysis of what percentage of fatal accidents for small cars involve SUVs for years later than 1997?

Also, if over 40% of these fatal small car accidents are single car accidents, and only 1% involve SUVs, why are we concentrating our resources on the very rare case?

It seems to me that nearly 100% of single car accidents can be avoided. Reducing that number seems to be much more important than carping on a much rarer scenario!

[ Parent ]

those SUV fuckers (3.12 / 25) (#349)
by gbroiles on Wed Jul 31, 2002 at 01:42:10 AM EST

they're such assholes. Just the other day I was riding my little clown bike to work 60 miles on the freeway, and some asshole in an SUV thought I should get out of the fast lane just because he wanted to go faster. I got there first. I dunno, I think it was an SUV - all cars look like SUV's when you're on a clown bike. Anyway, someone should make those guys pay an extra tax or say they're sorry or something.

It hurts my feelings when I have to call my friends who have SUV's and ask them to help me move when I change apartments. They're not very nice about it, always mentioning my anti-SUV and anti-car activism. Last time I moved, I had to make 60 trips on the bus, because my clown bike got stolen and my both of my friends with gas-guzzling SUV monsters to me to go fuck myself after I got arrested for spraypainting "EARTH RAPER" on some cars that made me mad because they're bigger than I think those people deserve. I made a chart which shows how much car everyone is allowed to have - it's scientific, really, it all depends on how much you recycle and your BMI and if you have any physical challenges and if you help people like me when we need a ride like if it's raining and I have to bring a birthday cake home or something.

I mean, come on, everyone knows that it's not cool to be able to do things - that means you're not helpless, and if you're not helpless, then the government (which is really exactly the same thing as your family and your friends, if you think about it, so you shouldn't be scared) won't be able to control you by giving you things and taking them away if you're good or bad, or if you say things or think things that aren't good to say. Like, it hurt my feelings when my friends said I was a hypocrite when I wanted a ride home from jail after I spraypainted those cars - they should have had to walk to work for a week or two after that to think about how it's not nice to hurt other people's feelings, especially if they're really vulnerable and weepy and helpless and stuff. Besides, other people will help you, they have to, if they want to keep their stuff and not get beaten up, so there's no reason for any one person to be able to get very much done by themselves.

Also, I was thinking, there's no reason to live real far out in the country or something, those people are wasting gas living way out there. Those people who live on farms must waste tons of gas driving all the way into the city to go to the grocery store. EARTH RAPERS, that's what I think. Pretty soon, maybe we'll be able to make it so those bastards will have to give up their trucks and SUVs and stuff and take the bus to work like everyone else.

And another thing - I think everyone with cars should have to tie pillows to their bumpers, I mean, what if they hit somebody, or what if someone who's walking gets distracted or something and walks into a car? It's not safe at all to leave these big hard metal boxes laying around all over the place like that. Also, they're full of gasoline! Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? I think that everyone who has a car or an SUV should have to tie pillows to it, and drain out all of the