But first, you have to tell me which cars and which SUVs.
Good point. However, I think it would be reasonable to pick a typical or cars, ones that are popular, have 4 doors, have a large amount of luggage room... basically, you want to compare the cars that would've been bought if you'd said to the owners of SUVs, "What car would you have bought if you didn't buy an SUV?", so that you compare cars and SUVs of similar functionality.
And obviously, at this point, we are heavily into the realm of the hypothetical and the subjective.
This "cars vs SUVs" thing is inherently unworkable.
I agree with that, to some extent. Both categories are too broad to be able to make simple generalised comparisions between them.
Even if you were right,
About what? Read my post again. I haven't expressed an opinion on this subject.
What I did is point out that you had carefully constructed a strawman argument. I mentioned this, because I distrust arguments from people who argue using such techniques. I wanted to force you to acknowledge that your "But they're cleaner than older cars" line of argument was irrelevant to the discussion.
That's why I finished my post with a direct question. I wanted to know what you thought about the real issue. It turns out that you are guessing too ;)
As it happens, I'm against suburban SUVs, not just for environmental reasons. But I would like to think that if I saw someone else use an irrelevant strawman argument twice in the same thread, that I would challenge them on it also -- even if I agreed with their conclusion.
For your reference, I see no reason why an SUV should be require any more than marginally more petrol (not gas, I'm from Australia ;) than a large car (assuming they were manufactured at the same time). I'm no automobile expert, but I would fully expect that they'd use much of the same componentry and technology, so they should be as efficient, except for the fact that a 4WD is generally a larger, heavier vehicle (which is more efficient for some workloads, but *not* for the typical suburban one of mum driving her son to a soccer game). There is also a small environmental cost associated with manufacturing a larger vehicle, but this is probably negligible.
Basically, while I disapprove of SUVs environmental impact, they're only marginally worse than cars. I'm more annoyed at their use in suburbia because of the risk of killing pedestrians -- a higher bonnet makes it that much more likely that when you hit a pedestrian, they will go under rather than over. A car is designed so that a pedestrian would just "roll" over the bonnet most of the time. And if there's a bull-bar, the pedestrian has virtually no chance.
I absolutely agree that there are many valid reasons for owning an SUV. Similarly, I agree that there are many valid reasons to use a car, even though I advocate mass transit systems.
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