Less Oil and Bigger Vehicles...an SUV rant - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Less Oil and Bigger Vehicles...an SUV rant

I was thinking about the rising oil prices that have seemed to shoot through the roof this past week. On the news, people were saying that there's less oil to meet demand and that the oil will be gone in the next 20 years if we don't start using it more wisely.

So, my question and concern is this: why are vehicles getting bigger and bigger if we need to start thinking about conserving oil? I'm a happy sedan driver who feels like the runt of the litter on the road, and I don't understand why people feel the need to drive "buses" around. And, unfortunately, those families who buy SUVs to fit the "whole family in" usually only do that once or twice on the weekend and maybe to and from school. It's mostly one person in the vehicle: the driver...driving around doing errands. What a waste of gas and space!

I just don't understand. Why do you need an Expedition or a Hummer (or any other 6-seater) to drive around by YOURSELF? The occasional family trip is not reason enough, in my opinion. If it is for recreational use (oh, yeah...THAT's what SUV's are for!!! ), what can an Expedition do that an Explorer can't? Really. Why do people need such large vehicles (a SPORT UTILITY vehicle) to tote their groceries and drive their kids to school?

While some of us are actually trying to use as little gas as possible (I use 11 gallons every 2 weeks), so many people are 30 gallons every week! Yes, I blame those 30-gallon hogs for rising gas prices! Can we please start making changes in our everyday behaviour to try to have a larger impact?! Just like with too many things, it will probably take a crisis for that to happen.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:04 PM
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I am an environmentalist. My fiance owns a SUV. I don't like it, but I am okay with it for two reasons:

1. It protects us from drunk drivers (we know people who had been hit by drunk drivers and died). We both live next to alcoholic bars so safety is very important to us (especially since I still don't have any health insurance). My fiance actually got hit once by an 19-year old, but he didn't get hurt at all...so that was very comforting.

2. I get carsick all the time. I generally start puking if I sit in a car for more than an hour. The only vehicle in which I don't get carsick in is my fiane's SUV.


I don't like the fact that we actually need an SUV, but I don't know what to do without it.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:25 PM
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This annoys me so much, my mum has a normal sized car in the UK and it was fine for driving the family around in even when we were kids!

Why would anyone even want to have an SUV when gas is this expensive, some SUVs get as little as 12mpg compared to cars at an average of 25mpg... because you want to pay double for the gas to make the same trip?

It really annoys me when I am sitting in traffic with probably only 10% of the vehicles being 'normal' cars and its the smaller cars that have 2+ people in them - not the SUVs.

Fair enough if you actually do have a family big enough that you need more space... but families that have 2 SUVs when they could have a smaller car for the person not taking the kids?


Shengmei, there is a lot of evidence that proves that SUVs are not safer to be in during an accident, and actually cause more deaths than cars in accidents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The propensity of sport utility vehicles to roll over is major safety concern. Sport utility vehicles are more than three times more likely to roll over in crash than normal passenger cars. The higher roll-over propensity may also lead to higher fatalities.

SUVs are heavier and ride higher than regular cars. The high ride contributes to a propensity of SUVs to roll over in accidents. According to NHTSA, SUVs rollover in 37 percent of fatal crashes, compared to a 15 percent rollover rate for passenger cars. Rollover crashes accounted for 53 percent of all SUV occupant deaths in single vehicle crashes in 1996. Only 19 percent of occupant fatalities in passenger cars occurred in similar crashes

Smaller SUVs - with a wheelbase of less than 100 inches - had a disproportionately high incidence of fatal rollover crashes. Small SUVs were involved in rollover crashes more than four times as often as the average passenger car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gillis, Jack. [u
The truck, van and 4x4 book[/u].]SUVs do not have to meet the same safety standards as passenger cars. The double standard exists due to arcane federal rules classifying SUVs as light trucks. Less rigid rules mean occupants of SUVs are not protected by the side-impact crash safety standards or strength requirements for bumpers required on standard passenger cars.
There is also plenty of information on the environmental impact of SUV's here: http://www.suv.org/environ.html


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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:33 PM
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Re: Less Oil and Bigger Vehicles...an SUV rant

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Originally Posted by lolakitty23
So, my question and concern is this: why are vehicles getting bigger and bigger if we need to start thinking about conserving oil?
Stupidity? Class status? Decadent and conspicuous 1st world consumerism? Lack of education and sensitivity about our environment and dependence upon fossil fuel sources?

Our car is slightly over 3 years old and we have less than 16K miles on it. We walk, carpool, use public transportation, or rent more economical vehicles for lengthy road trips. When we need to run errands and visit our local grocer, we plan it out in advance so we can get most (if not all) of it done in one trip instead of running several solo trips.

This isn't the first time the USA has dealt with a supposed oil shortage and its respective outrageous oil pricing. It happened in the late 1970s...considering the value of the dollar then and now, the prices were higher then than they are now. Gas was rationed and sold on odd or even days (last digit of plate; vanity plates were one or the other, but not both)...there were long lines of cars waiting to buy half a tank, if that. I lived in Los Angeles at the time and Los Angeles county (back then) was a single-person commuter culture by virtue of how the area developed.

In response, the auto industry focused on fuel-efficient models and designs. Today, trucks and luxury SUVs are excessivly large, as you so aptly point out. GMAC has been running that employee discount sale to include all consumers...hmmm...imagine that. I noticed Saab has followed their lead. I wonder who is next? These are telling times that inform observers of one's priorities.

We're waiting for a hybrid CUV that won't break our bank...I hope it comes our sooner than later!
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:47 PM
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The dirty secret is that the automakers COULD make internal combustion engines considerably more fuel efficient...even the large higher-horsepower ones. They just don't want to invest the resources needed to make it happen unless they're forced to do so by regulation.

I'd prefer to drive a pickup truck....I just can't justify the higher purchase expense and depreciation of the vehicle combined with the higher operating costs. The reasons I'd prefer to drive one are strictly utilitarian. Ego has nothing to do with it.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:48 PM
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Re: Less Oil and Bigger Vehicles...an SUV rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by xilt
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolakitty23
So, my question and concern is this: why are vehicles getting bigger and bigger if we need to start thinking about conserving oil?
Stupidity? Class status? Decadent and conspicuous 1st world consumerism? Lack of education and sensitivity about our environment and dependence upon fossil fuel sources?
Brilliant post, xilt. Up until last December, we had a 1990 Geo Metro. We drove it from Ohio to Minnesota and back several times, and each time it carried all three of us and a whole carload of stuff. Once, it also held my cello. (It rode in the back seat next to the kiddo, like another person. )

Quite frankly, I think it's all about arrogance and a ridiculous sense of self-entitlement. Sadly, I think it's an American epidemic - and I say this as a lifelong American and patriot. We are, as a nation, environmental idiots who have trouble seeing past next year. Thank goodness that foreign manufacturers, such as Toyota and Mercedes, are taking such an active role in producing more efficient vehicles, because we certainly couldn't lead the charge.

I'm eternally annoyed by the fact that some efficient vehicles have a hard time getting introduced in America. Europe and Canada have had the Mercedes SmartCar 'fortwo' for years. It's a brilliant vehicle, tiny and tough as a much larger sedan. It gets better mileage than a Metro and looks a far sight cuter. It also runs on diesel, which bodes well, as biodiesel is attempting to make a comeback. This vehicle has not yet been introduced in America, and it is an illegal import. They are planning to bring the SmartCar over... but only the 'fortwo's bigger counterpart, the 'forfour'. This American version of the 'forfour' gets worse mileage, is twice as large, and runs on unleaded. How interesting. (she says, eyes rolling.)

I'm hitting my stride now. Time to step away from the keyboard.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:48 PM
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And here's another dirty secret about high oil prices: the government continues to purchase more oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Why couldn't they just cease buying until prices come down? Typical government....buying something they need regardless of the cost. This is something they could do anytime...they don't need to do it right now.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 05:54 PM
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Yet one more dirty secret about high gas prices. There's plenty of crude oil. The problem is refinery capacity. There hasn't been any new refinery built in this country in 40 years. And between NIMBY and government restrictions, paperwork, environmental impacts, etc, etc, it takes 20 - 30 years to built a new one. So, folks, this problem is only going to

get worse before it gets better
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 06:12 PM
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Let's not forget the other culprits, commuters!
I'm guilty of it. I live 30 miles from work.
If we didn't have so many bedroom communities, you'd also have people driving less.
Regardless of the size of the car, it's still the amount of driving that is a problem.
With my car, I get decent gas milage, but I still probably use more gas than someone in an SUV that only has a 5 minute drive to work.
Plus, lets face it, we've become a driving society-especially in the US. How many people here live within walking distance to places that they drive to for convenience?

And Tim has a good point. We've got lots of oil resources all around us that are not being used. Granted, I'm not for drilling in most of these new places, and I definately don't want a refinery in MY backyard. But, it is as much the fault of people like me that choose to live where I have a long commute, or choose to drive to the grocery store instead of walk.

I had a friend visit Austria a few months ago, and she has a college friend who lives there. That was the one thing that they noticed right away is that people there walk EVERYWHERE.

Jennifer

Jennifer and the monsters
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Do any of you live in areas where bio-fuels are being marketed? I saw this on the news the other day...mixing fuel with chicken fat to make more efficient, cost-effective and cleaner fuel.
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