Monday, June 26, 2006

Americans still buy SUV's because ...... ?

With the cost of gasoline not getting any cheaper, us Americans may finally begin to see that we don't actually NEED a six-thousand pound modified truck with four-wheel-drive to pull out of our paved, twenty-foot drive ways to take our children to school and head off to work.

I'm usually a very conservative person, but the SUV craze is something that has blown my mind from the start. Most people say something along the lines of the following three things: 1.) "I need the room for everyone to be comfortable", 2.) "SUV's are a luxury because you can see over everyone else" or 3.) "I need it to haul stuff".

Okay, in theory, some of those make sense. However, the next time you're out, take a look around. Look into some of the SUV's commuting around you. I'll bet 90% of them are a single driver (most likely a 5'6" soccer mom talking on her cell phone) with no passengers in the car. I would also be willing to bet that 99.9% of those aren't hauling anything, aren't filled with anything, and have never seen a day on a dirt road, much less true off-roading, in their lives.

Next comes the issue of seeing for ages and feeling powerful. Let's use some simple logic here. If you want to see over everything and feel like you're greater than every car on the road, what do people do anymore? Buy an SUV. But now everyone has an SUV, and you need an SUV just to see around the swarm of SUV's. So if no one ever bought the SUV in the first place, the problem wouldn't exist.

Of course, safety is a big issue for any parent who cares about their children - or any individual for that matter. Who would willingly choose to own a vehicle that takes ages to stop, can't get out of it's own way, can't handle well and has a tenancy to roll over? Well, anyone who buys a full sized SUV for no reason. 6,000 lbs takes a whole lot longer to stop than 2,800 lbs, putting you at a greater risk for getting into an accident. SUV's are also very top heavy, making them far more likely to tumble head-over-heals than an average 4 door sedan.

Gas prices are the obvious issue here that shouldn't be over looked. Why would you choose to get 18-20 MPG when you could get 30 or 40?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should run out and buy yourself a new Prius or anything. I, myself, drive a modded late-model Camaro which gets 16 miles to the gallon – but there's a difference here. At least I am getting something for the gasoline that it's using. With an SUV you're getting, what..? The ability to say that you're driving a full sized SUV when a Camry would have suited your wants and needs just fine?

Buying a Jeep to take out into the woods and run over stuff is great. If you want to buy it as a toy to actually use it how it was designed, then why not? At least you'll get some great fun out of it. It's a free world, and no one can stop you from buying what you want, but why would a person choose to own a monster of a vehicle for no reason other than to be like everyone else?

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