By on November 27, 2008

As gas is down, the behemoths roar back.

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39 Comments on “They’re Baaaaaaaaaaaack!...”


  • avatar
    Patrickj

    The contrarian in me thinks it’s nearing time to go out and buy a used Prius.

  • avatar

    Hey, he’s got two sons. TWO. How you gonna put them in a car?

  • avatar
    Demetri

    This is like in the comic books when you think the arch-villain is dead only to find out that he’s back and robbing the bank 6 issues later.

    If it isn’t my old nemesis…

  • avatar
    red5

    My mom was forced to cart my sister and I around in her brown early 80s Toyota Celica. How in the world did we ever survive? Oh, wait… we did.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    You have to be pretty dumb not to realize as soon as the economy recovers gas prices will go right back up again. But then again, you can never underestimate people’s stupidity.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Monster trucks aren’t likely to get back to their prior peak sales levels, but the reduced gas price and bargain pricing on the vehicles certainly foretells an uptick.

  • avatar
    n4571c

    Never got rid of my Yukon Denali, Yukon XL or Escalade! Get POed at the Prius and other under powered little crappos that can’t go up a hill, and the drivers that think it is their responsibility to maintain 65 in the #1 lane. If $7.50 gas will get THEM off the road then let’s go there! Oh, two drivers, four dogs.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Red5,

    Amazing isn’t it. We did 2 kids in Honda Civic 2 doors (mom and dad both had one). We made it just fine, thank you very much. And we lived 50 miles from the city. So we did our commutes, every day.

    For those who don’t already hate me (i.e. you don’t own a 911) this might pee on yer Wheaties…

    $129.9 Unleaded Regular. Yes, it is E10. But hey, fill up the YuSuburbaHo for under $40 – and the Porsche for under $25…

    Happy Thxgiving to all!

  • avatar
    John Williams

    Instead of relying on high gas prices to keep these things off the roads, try displacement taxes. When faced with paying $$$ yearly for driving a car over 2.0L, people will eventually modify their automotive choices. Eventually.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    red5, I can top that one: I’m one of FIVE kids, and my entire family – all seven of us – went on a 1,500 mile family vacation in ’66 Buick Skylark, which was not as roomy inside as you might think.

    And we lived to tell about it. And we’re still talking to each other.

  • avatar
    ptr2void

    Yes, but did every kid under X years old need to have a child seat, and every child over X years and under X feet tall need to sit in a booster seat? Overzealous regulation plays a little bit of a role in this; not all of it by *any* means, but some part of it.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Dick Morris (who I enjoy immensely even if I don’t agree with him all the time) said the oil price was mostly speculation. I think he’s right.
    It’s nice to see 1.49/gal again.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Fuel prices need to remain high to change behavior. However, congress finds it easier to mandate the auto company fleet mpg, and encourage the manufacturers to build expensive, fuel efficient cars without actually addressing the demand side of the equation.

    Gas taxes like the EU would do the trick, but no member of congress has the political will to take the high road and make that a reality.

    If gas prices stay low, used SUV’s will be in high demand mid 201X.

  • avatar
    MichaelJ

    And shame on any companies that might build what people want to buy.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    This just demonstrates that people like larger vehicles.

    I know many people who had the same “knee-jerk” reaction to high gas prices in May-July, and downgraded to smaller cars.

    The majority of them were already regretting their decision before gas prices dropped, and are really regretting it now.

    I personally own a Honda Civic EX and Ford Expedition. Nothing is more user friendly than a SUV. It has no compromises, and it very nice to drive.

    The only negatives are high gas prices. Obviously when gas prices drop, these vehicles will get snapped up again.

    “Knee-Jerk” reactions happen both ways.

  • avatar
    menno

    I think that speculation and the rich NY types playing games with the commodities markets had a lot to do with the spike to $4.25 a gallon that we saw – but the UNDERLYING issue is not going away, and that is that we really, truly did hit peak oil in 2007.

    Several things evaporated the price of gas, in my humble opinion.

    1 Demand dropped off a cliff face, pulling us back from the brink (temporarily) of actually having virtually NO cushion between supply/demand worldwide.

    2 The oil people are currently obviously under-pricing gasoline because they can afford to do so; after all they make TONS of money – more than any companies ever have in the history of humanity. But of course why might they do this?

    3 They might reduce prices in order to put good old fashioned complacency back in the market place, and cause the inherently higher priced “alternative fuels” market to drop dead, as it has in the past when oil prices cratered. This time, I suspect it is “planned” that way.

    4 Once the alternative fuels industry is decimated, the oil companies can start to slowly (or even quickly – being a monopoly) put prices back up in order to turn a decent profit again.

    5 Once (if?) the worldwide economy comes out of this current panic, demand will increase and obviously we’ll be back to square one with not enough oil production ongoing.

    I’m certainly not going to hazard any guesses about future oil prices. I’d have better luck trying to parse next week’s lottery numbers out of the ether.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    When my brother and I were teenagers, our parents used to cart us down to their boat every weekend in their ’77 Honda Civic hatch…..An hour drive each way, plus all our gear for the weekend and the family dog sitting between us. Got close to 40 MPG too.

    What a lame excuse for why the guy bought a Sequoia….. why doesn’t he just admit he bought it because he wanted it.

  • avatar
    Dr. Remulac

    menno:

    +1 from me.

    And the only way to avoid your #5 is to artificially raise fuel prices now to prepare for later, and like rwill said, no one has the political will to propose higher gas taxes.

  • avatar

    I get atrocious fuel economy in my old Q45 so the whole SUV attack ethos is somewhat lost on me. If I could get over 10 mpg in the city, I’d be thrilled (this winter I averaged around 7.5 US mpg in town, with minimal hotrod antics. Yes, you read that correctly, I’ve never cracked 10 in city driving). I don’t see any greenheads rushing up to throw paint at me, because I don’t drive a truck, thus I’m somehow exempt from the contempt. Funny how the symbol becomes more important than the reality (see real-world Prius fuel economy). There are lots of cars out there that shame SUVs for wanton thirst, mainly early 90s luxo barges with big V8s and V12s if we ignore American autos from pre- ’73.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Further proof that CAFE, as flawed as it may be, or some other minimum standard, is necessary to keep national consumption from being worse than it already is. I personally would prefer a MPG based registration surcharge/credit than a displacement tax because if a big motor can return the mileage, who cares what size it is?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    But CAFE is a free lunch! We just mandate better mileage, and we get it. Nothing bad will happen because of it. The financial failure of the domestic auto industry has NOTHING to do with CAFE. Giving the UAW legislative help to keep them dominant has only raised worker salaries, once again, a free lunch!

    You guys just don’t get it. You must be full of hate. That’s it, you want a gas tax because you hate poor people.

    sarcasm

    TINSTAAFL

  • avatar
    John Williams

    I get atrocious fuel economy in my old Q45 so the whole SUV attack ethos is somewhat lost on me. If I could get over 10 mpg in the city, I’d be thrilled (this winter I averaged around 7.5 US mpg in town, with minimal hotrod antics. Yes, you read that correctly, I’ve never cracked 10 in city driving).

    Something’s wrong with your Q45 then. I have a first-gen LS400 – same class, similar size, but only 250hp from the 4.0L V8. Lowest mpg I ever got was 15ish. Usually it gets 17mpg city and 23mpg highway without fail.

    The environmentalist types never say a word about big foreign luxobarges for this simple reason — they want to drive those cars, too. Prestige and all of that. SUVs are such a convenient target because they were largely borne from the American ethos…and anything that’s big and American is fair game for the environmentalist sect.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I agree. My neighbor drives a BMW M6 coupe. It gets 11 mpg city / 16 highway, and 13 mixed on premium gas.

    It gets a free pass from scrutiny because it’s sportscar, even though it seats 4 and has no other uses than putting a smile on the driver’s face.

    While that new Tahoe that gets 15 mpg on regular gas, seats 8, tows, etc. gets scorned for being a big SUV.

  • avatar
    Jared

    Further proof that CAFE, as flawed as it may be, or some other minimum standard, is necessary to keep national consumption from being worse than it already is.

    Sorry, your analysis is completely flawed. What the recent price spike has demonstrated is the price elasticity of the demand for gasoline. When gas prices rise, people buy more efficient cars.

    The problem with CAFE is that it tries to get people to buy cars they don’t want to buy. You can’t get someone to buy a Focus when they want an Expedition.

    You can, however, easily change what people want to buy, as was shown this summer. Simply increase fuel taxes. With higher fuel prices, people will want more fuel efficient cars and the automakers will build them. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    To the guy with the Q45 with 7.5 mpg in the city. Have your engine checked out. You should be getting around 15mpg. Don’t know if you maintain your car, but a stuck PVC valve might cause that sort of mileage. It’s a cheap repair if that’s the problem. Maybe needs a tuneup (plugs, distributor cap, wires). Change the fuel filter. Check your MAF as well.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The video is proof that the media hates the domestics. They look like they’re giving the guy crap for buying an SUV but not giving him crap for getting a Toyota.
    And yes, you can fit your kids and stuff into a sedan and you grew up with 9 siblings in a VW Rabbit but big SUVs and Minivans are a lot easier.
    People buying and driving large vehicles is only a problem if you let it be.

  • avatar

    I know one fuel injector is wonky on my car, that’s the likely culprit. I’ve already done plugs, filters, cleaned the throttle bodies, cleaned the MAF, religiously check tire pressure, and fixed an intake leak. I’ve even replaced the transmission control unit so I could get first gear starts (remember those dumb trannies that only did 2nd gear starts?)

    But the Q has always been known for horrifying city mileage, it’s a lot worse than the LS (chalk it up to a much more highly tuned V8 and a slushy auto with wide gears that work against you in the city). You have to remember driving in downtown Montreal is about as economical as punching a hole in your fuel tank. If there is bad traffic you won’t average more than 10 mph, sometimes less! It’s bad when it takes you over an hour to drive 3 or 4 miles. Throw in winter warm up and your mileage is in single digits on most anything with more than 4 cylinders. I typically get just under 30 (Imperial) on the highway, which is spot on for that model, and pretty acceptable for a two ton barge that goes like stink.

    Speaking of bad fuel economy, a group of us got hold of a V10 M5 one night and went through 60$ of premium in about 2 or 3 hours. Yowza.

  • avatar
    JOED

    Since when is buying a truck or SUV a crime? Should we stop building and buying trucks because Al Gore and the like don’t find them green enough?
    CAFE standards are foolish. The market itself will determine what sells and inturn what will be built. Washington has screwed everything else up and now we let them play with the car market?

  • avatar

    Al Gore doesn’t think SUVs are good, but he’s fine with petrol powered limos. Wonder if we should tell him what they get for fuel economy. He probably won’t hear over the screaming of the trees.

  • avatar
    AllStingNoBling

    One freaking month of lower gas, and already the trash is coming back out. You know what? I already miss $4.00/gallon gasoline. Don’t give me a sob story about, “My 1.5 kids, dog, and cat NEED the space!” F you. I hope you choke on your steering wheel.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I do get a perverse enjoyment knowing how much this is upsetting those smug people who just a few months ago were enjoying the pain of others when gas prices were thru the roof.

    Listen to how upset they are, so angry about what other people do and buy.

    People love telling other people what they should drive should mind their own business unless it applies to them.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    If people want to buy 3-ton barges and fling them around poorly, frankly welcome to a free country. Much as I don’t like those rides and a lot of what they culturally represent, I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they should be “banned” or some such bureaucraptastic nonsense. Best thing to reduce what annoys me on the road today would involve a much tougher regime (technical driving ability and automotive technology/mechanical literacy – tested thoroughly)to obtain and maintain a driver’s license. When I see how the government has botched everything else though, (see the tax code for reference) I realize this is wishful thinking.

    Uncle Sam has pumped trillions of “new” dollars into the economy over the past 90 days without the economic growth to match. Those dollars will turn up elsewhere in our society, inflation is definitely on the way. And then, gas prices go back up along with everything else.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    CarnotCycle,

    We are on the same radio station. Gas prices are low… For (the short) now.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Gas prices are more often low than high. No one in the US knows what high gas prices are.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    The financial failure of the domestic auto industry has NOTHING to do with CAFE.…

    Landcrusher, I couldn’t agree more with that statement. The only point that I was trying to convey is that “free market forces” alone are not sufficient to ensure that we have some control on national vehicular energy consumption. With the gestation period on new vehicle design being measured in years, a rapid change in buyer preference can’t be met quickly. Once could successfully argue that the big three would have even worse sales during this past gas price spike had there been no mileage requirements at all. It is too bad that Detroit seems to have no heart in the idea of a premium small car.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Further proof that CAFE, as flawed as it may be, or some other minimum standard, is necessary to keep national consumption from being worse than it already is.

    Sorry, your analysis is completely flawed. What the recent price spike has demonstrated is the price elasticity of the demand for gasoline. When gas prices rise, people buy more efficient cars.

    The problem with CAFE is that it tries to get people to buy cars they don’t want to buy. You can’t get someone to buy a Focus when they want an Expedition.

    You can, however, easily change what people want to buy, as was shown this summer. Simply increase fuel taxes. With higher fuel prices, people will want more fuel efficient cars and the automakers will build them. Problem solved.…

    Actually, Jared, my logic is not at all flawed. I am trying to demonstrate that unless there is a minimum standard to meet, there is no incentive to build in efficiency, no matter what type of vehicle it is. A full size SUV can be relatively efficient for its class. Or not. Design does matter. It is not a case of eliminating larger vehicles at all. It is a matter of building them to be as efficient as possible. Yes, a gas tax will result in increased conservation but it is regressive, and it is not really fair because America, for better or worse, has invested in the infrastructure to support private cars. As such, most do not have a choice about driving. Excess taxes punish those who have no choice but to drive. More innovative than CAFE, and certainly more fair than a high tax would be a MPG derived registration surcharge because while you may have no choice when it comes to driving, you have full control on what to drive.

  • avatar
    RobbieWilliams

    @n4571c :
    Never got rid of my Yukon Denali, Yukon XL or Escalade! Get POed at the Prius and other under powered little crappos that can’t go up a hill,

    I drive a Jetta 1.8T that goes up hill just fine, and can corner/handle.

    Oh, two drivers, four dogs.
    – is this really justification for three massive SUVs? As my sister quips regarding Suvs and the Brady Bunch – Carol Brady did it with one husband, six kids, a maid, and a dog all in one station wagon.

    People should be free to choose their vehicle (both SUV and compact) provided they are safe (the head of the Dept. of Transportation once said he would not put his daughters in an SUV if it were the last vehicle on earth due to roll over issues), and fuel efficient (and yes, this can include large vehicles).

    We have finite resources and with the growing Chinese and Indian markets we need to make certain we have the foresight to make vehicles that meet our needs and minimise their impact on the environment (this will most likely have to come about through a mixture of governmental and market forces).

    @ SD 328I :
    November 27th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    This just demonstrates that people like larger vehicles.

    – Some people, not all

    The majority of them were already regretting their decision before gas prices dropped, and are really regretting it now.

    – The majority? Where are the studies on this published? Is this merely anecdotal?

    I personally own a Honda Civic EX and Ford Expedition. Nothing is more user friendly than a SUV. It has no compromises, and it very nice to drive.
    The only negatives are high gas prices.

    Nothing is more user friendly? Wow, there are plenty of vehicles out there other than SUVs that are incredibly user friendly (both in handling, gas mileage, storage, an reliability). As for SUV negatives – poor handling, poor line of sight, prone to roll overs, poor fuel efficiency, et cetera.

    As long as there are people with differing opinions, there will be different cars/vehicles on the road. The trick is for people to co-exist, and manufacturers to think long term and make efficient, safe, sustainable vehicles (and making them fun would not hurt either).

  • avatar

    Whatever happened to letting sleeping dogs lie? Some people like SUVs, there is no need to chastize them for it and try to prove them wrong. I like cognac, but I know at least five people who will argue with me all day about why cognac is terrible, overpriced, and a ridiculous product that gets undeserved praise. Let it go. It’s a free market and a free country. Otherwise you get dangerously close to the greenhead attitude of “my (green) way or you can die in a cloud of carbon emissions”.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Finite resources!?

    What kind of argument is this? What resource do we have that is NOT finite? There is a straight line from these arguments right to controlling the way others live because you think their choices are foolish. Well, sorry, but your line of thinking leads us all straight to misery.

    Once again, the reasons for SUV hate are legion, and almost all of them are lame, and mostly hypocritical. If you are a multi-millionaire minimalist, then perhaps you have grounds to stand on, but then the very same SUV haters have lots of things to hate about you as well.

    We have had SUV’s almost as long as we have had cars. CAFE is one of the prime reasons for the growth of SUV’s. One of the others is hate for large luxury cars which we had thirty years ago when the cadillac driver was a fat cat, but the guy in the suburban was given a pass because it was believed he needed the truck or he would not have bought it.

    Go ahead and bitch, next round will only get worse.

    Furthermore, how many tries at being smarter than the market do you want to have before you gas savers give up and go for the gas tax (you know, the one thing we know WILL work)?

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