By on February 4, 2020

An article from a reputable news website made the rounds yesterday, one which, as expected, raised an eyebrow of yours truly, to say nothing of other members of the TTAC crew.

It’s not without a strong argument, packaged though it is in the language of a sanctimonious scold eager to tick all the boxes required to draw viewers. The Great Circa 2014 Digital Media Template dies hard, at least in Twitterland. The piece itself is a little more tame. But beneath the broad brush strokes lies a question.

The article, I should mention, appeared in Vice, a publication which employed a Canadian editor recently sent to prison for turning his underpaid staff into drug mules. Coke’s a hell of a drug, man.

But I digress. The article, which doesn’t take as much delight — or somber glee, if such a thing exists — in calling more than half of the vehicle-driving population “assholes” as the social media sales pitch does, is all about our “culture of conspicuous overconsumption.”

In order to label the bulk of motorists as selfish pricks, the writer targets the original Hummer H1 and the reborn, yet-to-be-built GMC Hummer EV — a massive electric pickup possessing scads of power and, no doubt, a majorly hefty battery pack. Both vehicles are a symptom of our society’s affliction, the writer posits.

And he’s right. The H1 and even the emissions-free Hummer EV are indeed great wasters of resources. Of steel and aluminum, of energy through manufacturing processes, of fuel — be it diesel, gasoline, or the vast quantity of electrons needed to fill a battery pack capable of moving a hulking EV a distance palatable to U.S. consumers. The materials in that battery pack are finite. They must be mined, and three battery packs powering three smaller vehicles would be a better use of those resources, both from a conservation and a climate change standpoint.

Why the ire at the article, though? It’s not so much the article itself, as it is the reaction from commenters who neglected to read the word “big” in the headline, or just didn’t care. To some, drivers of almost-empty Suburbans and Hummers are just as guilty as those who drive any vehicle powered by fossil fuels. Look around the next time you’re behind the wheel, they say — you’ll likely see plenty of empty seats. At this moment, there’s too much capacity. You’re using more than you absolutely need.

When you ride alone, you ride with… well, you know.

Of course, SUVs are not all Hummer H1s. Most utility vehicles on the road these days are car-based crossovers with the same footprint as their parent sedan and, often, the same powertrain. A Mazda CX-3 and a Hyundai Venue are not SUVs by any stretch of the imagination, and topping 30 mpg on the combined cycle is no longer a jaw-dropping feat in this market. Yet many hear the term “SUV” and jump to conclusions about your vehicle, and with it your lifestyle and mindset.

“The electrification of the Hummer is not a signal of climate progress. It is a declaration that it’s still OK to be an asshole,” the author writes.

The thinking being that the mindset that created such demand for the original Hummers — wanting to be on top (of other cars, if necessary), antisocial, insulated from the world, superior — is still at play with the reborn Hummer EV, and that’s what’s holding back necessary change. It’s what’s keeping things big.

Disagree if you like. I’ll admit to getting my back up upon glancing at the Twitter Cole’s Notes, but I find it hard to argue that the desire to feel secure is a key driver of the light truck surge. Choice affords us the opportunity to drive what we want, income allowing, and the public has decided it likes a higher seating position and additional cargo space.

Are all of these drivers wrong, or just some? Should we all be in teardrop-shaped postwar bubble cars outfitted with electric motors and pedal generators, like some online eco-authoritarians want? Does it ever cross your mind that the capacity and capability of your vehicle, for the most part, exceeds the tasks it’s asked to perform?

[Images: General Motors]

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87 Comments on “QOTD: Concerned About Consumption?...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    ” Choice allows us to drive what we want”

    That’s it in a nutshell, one of the few freedoms left, but it’s constantly being chipped away at. Until elitists on both sides of the isle give up there private planes, don’t try and shame people for driving a pick-up or SUV.

    Here’s another thing, just because you see a single person driving a truck or SUV doesn’t mean they’re not hauling, carrying or towing something when you don’t see them. Drive what you need/want/can afford and screw the virtue signalling shamers. Enjoy your last remaining freedom before it’s gone

    BTW, I’m a liberal Democrat, with limits

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Those private planes keep people employed as pilots, mechanics and other ancillary jobs that provide employment to many people. And 90% of the time, those planes are flown for business purposes. If you could afford to go from a small airport near your house to an airport closer to you destination, wouldn’t you? Business aircraft are a time saver and a money saver for the businesses that can afford them.

      Real change would involving fixing the tax system that allow most wealthy folks to pay less tax than us working stiffs. I’m not talking about taxing the wealthy into oblivion, but fair share that doesn’t require a CPA to pull off.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Commercial planes employ far more people. Would I take a private plane somewhere if I could? Sure, but I wouldn’t condemn others for their personal transportation choices

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Sure commercial air carriers employ more, but there’s other facets to aviation besides the airlines. Corporate travel pays working peoples bills too.

          And if you aren’t condemning others for their transportation choices, why single out private jets? Why not yachts or boats in general? Marine engines are pretty dirty too.

          I get your point that the well-to-do make hypocrites of themselves by deriding traditional non hybrid or ICE vehicles and then jet off in a plane just for them. But don’t be as out of touch as they are.

          Some of us plebes have jobs catering to the wealthy. Not me personally, but I’ve flown private aviation in my past and have friends who do.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I generally agree with the sentiment of the article. I strongly believe that most people who drive the largest vehicles are doing so simply because they want to be a$$holes, they want to strut their douchebaggery and the more people like me who pile on and the more negative reinforcement they get, the more likely they are to buy something even larger the next time because their sociopathic tendencies feed on it. Sorry if you happen to drive such a vehicle but I think most people understand that is the case whether they admit it or not. I guess take solace in the fact that there are worse personality flaws.

      Sure people tow and haul, but that hardly makes up the majority of those who buy the largest, most obnoxious vehicles that the market offers.

      That being said, I am well aware that taking this argument to the logical end means that we are all driving mopeds or a Geewiz for the common good. I don’t particularly like that idea either. In the end, I just find it so unfortunate that the massive scale of the largest pickups and full sized SUV’s means that the rest of us have to suffer so they can drive what they like. It wouldn’t be so bad if I thought they actually needed such a vehicle. After all, we all tolerate semis and other large trucks because we participate in commerce, enjoy the transportation and availability of goods. But I truly feel the clownish proportions of current full sized trucks/SUV’s serve the primary purpose of offending others, intimidating others and generally showcasing the owner’s indifference toward others. Not really a great thing in any society.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Or you know maybe we just don’t like driving in small cars.

        My SS is classed as full-size but it (and essentially all modern cars under $100k) feels much smaller in the driver seat. I can only drive it for so long before the pitch of the windshield and the proximity to the A-pillar start to bother me among other things – and frankly I don’t consider it near the worst offender by any stretch. If someone could build actual full-size BOF cars again then I would be all ears. But I can only take modern cars for so long before I need to get back in an American sized full-size, which means full-size BOF truck/SUV with a nice airy cabin.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Hummer, I agree with you regarding pick-ups being the only domestic alternative to traditional domestic full size sedans.

          However I do find your ‘handle’ ironic. A close friend of mine had to replace his Astro Van when it was written off. Due to the shock inflicted by the accident, he went with bigger is better and purchased a Hummer. After he recovered emotionally he realized his error. The Hummer’s massive exterior seems to be overcompensating for a truly tiny interior. An interior so small that it cannot satisfactorily perform its intended function. So small that his wife commented on its lack of size.The windshield is small, vertical and too close. Like a Type I VW. The roofline is too low. The console compromises front seat room. The back seat is smaller than in many subcompacts. And the rear ‘hatch’ doesn’t have enough vertical space and is compromised by the intrusion from the wheel wells. As for as size, it promises far more than it delivers.

          After a while, my friend started thinking logically regarding what he uses a vehicle for, and replaced the Hummer with a VW Sportwagen. A vehicle that so far, delivers what it promises.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’m not sure what he expected as far as cargo, it’s not a cargo van it’s an off-road vehicle meant to tuck the wheels up high. As far as personal space I have tons of room for my 6’2” frame. My heads not close to the ceiling, the windshield is an appropriate distance from my body, I don’t have an A-pillar sitting on my face. Plenty of space between me and the door panels but also plenty of space between me and the outside truck.

            Roomier then a Jeep while still performing exceptionally well at what it was designed to do – its intended function to borrow your phrase.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Well, since the roads are now full of giant vehicles, the attraction of driving smaller vehicles has been reduced. I would really rather drive a sedan than a CUV, but the resulting vision disadvantage Is a major factor in the choice of our next vehicle.

          I can’t imagine driving the Triumph GT6+ that I used to own on today’s roads. The average lifted 4×4 might never even see me.

          Freedom of choice is not as simple as it seems.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Driving my ’95 Acura Legend in today’s traffic feels almost like driving a Miata did in 1995.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Oh stop. I drive a darned Fiesta almost daily and never give it a second thought. Maybe freedom of choice isn’t so simple, but in this case your utterly irrational fears should not be allowed to keep me from driving my truck on days I don’t want to rock the Fiesta.

            Additionally, your 95 Legend meets safety standards of a 1/4 century ago as well as similarly arcane emissions standards. Maybe it is Your ride that needs to get legislated to the crusher “for the good of the many”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Your Fiesta, like most cars engineered recently, has a hip point probably 4″ or 5″ higher than my Legend. I have a Bolt which has similar dimensions to your Fiesta and feels like a normal car in today’s traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Excellent comment, I agree completely. This is the SUV in weaponized form.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I strongly believe the biggest douchebag A$$holes need to judge people based on gross assumptions. The ratio of needless over-consumers is no doubt a lot smaller than you perceive, except they make the most noise and command the most attention, which obviously (and thankfully) works as planned on you.

        Also the midsize sector (cars/SUVs/pickups) offers little if any advantage, other than size, but even that’s minimal.

        Plus you desire be to p!ssed all the time. But more than likely those over-consumers (on the road) have far fewer vehicles than you, a much smaller house, and far less kids, dogs, shoes, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        If I am brutally honest with myself, I drive way more like an A-Hole in my Fiesta ST than my F150. I like to wind the Fiesta out and am way more likely to be exceeding the speed limit or otherwise hooning in it. The truck is either doing truck stuff, hauling my family because my kids are like 6’2″ now, or hauling me around when my back isn’t up to the Fiesta’s suspension and the truck is pulling Brougham duty. They are actually quite versatile vehicles among the non-pigheaded.

      • 0 avatar
        Yankee

        I’m in agreement with you thegamper, although sometimes people just really don’t consider their choices. I work on my buddy’s family’s cars, and his wife used to drive an old Nissan Armada. It was a truly terrible vehicle that was always breaking and cost her a fortune in gas and tires using it for her cleaning business and domestic errands, not to mention all the repairs. (Over the years both manifold catalytic converters failed, both front springs broke, the power steering rack went out, brakes wore out yearly, hatch hinges snapped, and it had too many seals, gaskets, and lines replaced for leaks than I could count.) When she complained about mileage and repairs I asked her why she drove such a big vehicle, and she said because she has 4 kids. When I asked her, given the fact that her oldest two were college age, when the last time they went anywhere together in the same vehicle was, she thought for a minute and said when they go on vacation. I asked her if it wouldn’t be cheaper to rent a big vehicle once a year for vacation rather than slogging this thing around the rest of the year. Her eyes got big and she said she never thought of it that way. To my amazement, she sold the pile of crap, bought a lightly used Prius V (wagon version), and now all I’ve done for the past few years is oil changes, tire rotations, and a couple of air/cabin filters. I always tell her I should have kept my mouth shut because I have one more kid to put through college!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    ‘Coles Notes’, will the non-Canadian readers get this reference?

    As for SUV’s being resource wasters. Well compare them to the sedans/coupes/wagons of for instance the Brougham/Malaise era.

    I would guess that much of the rest of what we consume/society has not demonstrated comparable gains in efficiency.

    For example the fuel expended in transporting/shipping all those cheap disposable goods manufactured in China, and individually packaged in plastic.

    Our SUV is averaging over 30 mpg overall. I would expect that some of the smaller ones get even more impressive mileage.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The manlet got a job at Vice, he’s desperate for clicks, no real reason to read into his self serving article any further than that.

    Fittingly I’m driving my H1 HMCO this morning.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I was thinking of you throughout this article. Drive your Hummer and enjoy it :)

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        She gets about 15-16MPG on the old 6.5TD depending on the speeds I’m traveling, but then it’s been tuned a little. Not a puff of smoke outside of cold startups.Not that this will change anyone’s mind that already formed an opinion based off of??

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          My last Grand Cherokee only got 12-13mpg

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            My H2 went up from about 10.5 to 12 after my gear swap. I never checked my Scouts MPG when it was carbeurated but doing the fuel injection swap made a huge difference in how long a tank lasts and It’s actually in the double digits now.

  • avatar
    Mnemic

    Just a broke 30-something that never got a drivers license and gets splashed by cars as he sits in a -20 bus shelter waiting for the bus while thinking up new articles to write. Its nothing but envy disguised as environmentalism.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Nobody is ever actually jealous of anyone who thinks everyone is jealous of him.

      • 0 avatar
        Mnemic

        Facts dictate otherwise. Who is buying all the SUVs?

        Millenials.

        The same ones that were crying this crap a few years ago. No different then when some left wing nut gets voted into politics to “fix” everything, only to end up convicted on corruption charges a few years later, being even worse than the people they said they hated.

        Trust me, any kid writing for vice is envious and would buy that hummer EV in about 2 seconds if he wasn’t a broke loser.

        And let me be clear, those types aren’t just envious of people driving nice cars, they are literally envious of anyone with a real job, a car and roof over their head (that isn’t their mothers basement or a boarding house)

        Its what makes up the left today, broke kids and old people that didn’t save for retirement

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          “Its what makes up the left today, broke kids and old people that didn’t save for retirement”

          Oh there’s also lotsa people in between who want free shyt, too :)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            oh, there’s plenty of Trump-voting Boomers who would like everyone to keep their filthy socialist hands off of their Medicare and SSI. Because they didn’t save for retirement either.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I don’t know Jim…Those seem like bad examples. Once you retire, unless you did Military or union, where else is one supposed to go for health care after they retire. Kind or a consequence of linking it to your employment I think.

            As to social security proper, I mean they paid into it their entire working lives and even if they did plan for retirement those plans likely involved Social Security since it isn’t like they could opt out and they saw thrir parents, who likely didn’t pay in their entire lives getting paid.

            It wasn’t until those of us cynics from Gen X saw the writing on the wall that some of us began to make plans that didn’t involve Social Security for retirement. If I do get it it’ll be a nice boat.

            And there are plenty of jackwagens on both sides of the aisle that don’t ever plan to not work and wake up shocked that they are in fact old one morning.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If anything, the electrified Hummer should convince the EV haters that “going electric” isn’t about getting stuffed into a self-driving pod – it’s about giving people what they want in a way that’s appropriate for the world we live in. This is a progression, not a threat.

    There’s no way in hell I’d buy one of these – I’ll just be polite and say it’s “not me” – but if it’s your thing, then go with God. Just don’t tailgate me.

    I applaud it.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    It’s not just about size.

    My Viper is small, fairly light, seats only 2 (maximum of one wasted seat!!) and gets better mileage than most trucks or large SUVs but certainly isn’t spared the scorn from this type of writer.

    Nor would it occur to him to bash a Tesla for having 3-4x the horsepower needed for a daily commute.

    Luckily I could care less. Drive what you want and quit complaining about what I drive. I’ll extend you the same courtesy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Subject matter aside, it isn’t a very well-written article. Most of his source material is from 15 or more years ago, and although he frames things from an environmental stance his problem is really with the projected “attitude” or “image” of SUV buyers not their fuel consumption or physical size (for example he is minivan-positive even though those get 21mpg and are 204×79 these days). He also ignores that “SUV” is a very broad term in the current market. A Traverse could be an “SUV” but it is functionally a minivan and I hope Encore buyers aren’t looking to intimidate other drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m willing to bet most of “his” opinions originate from similar articles from similar sensationalist(tabloid) websites he read in his youth as ‘fact’ on this subject. Unfortunately for him 2003 was 17 years ago.

      15 Reasons why SUVs are bad! Number 5 will shock you!!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Unsurprisingly this author also wrote (writes?) for Jalopnik, where his job is basically to write scolding ragebait. Cars are bad, Tesla is bad, Uber is bad, Mazda is bad, E-Scooters are bad, roads are bad, subways are bad, flying is bad, everything is bad. He seems to have a *slight* affinity for AVs and buses but even with those the proposed implementation of them is bad because no one is smart like him.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Am I not doing more to support the economy when driving my Tahoe alone than when driving my Volt or Miata alone??

    You’re welcome :)

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    If it were just a high seating position and cargo space, everyone would drive a minivan. CUVs are popular because they are the current trendy popular vehicle.

    Also, any car based CUV will use more resources than the car it was based on or even a wagon with similar cargo specs.

    These are no different than smoking was in the 50s and 60s, or conversion vans in the 70s, or Starbucks today.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Do you know what consumes more resources then anything? Feeding too many people. Until we control unbridled population growth none of this other stuff matters. If we don’t learn to control our reproduction it may take a pandemic or two to do it for us

    I’m not giving up my ICE car until people give up unprotected fuc…. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Or feeding people too long. You could support dozens of children on the resources used to keep some people alive who have zero quality of life remaining.

      Hard to take anybody who claims to care about this stuff seriously until they address that.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Since we generally live longer. And age slower. And therefore are in better shape when older than previous generations.

        And since much of warfare has been ‘taken over’ by technology. I propose the following.

        A universal draft. Of people 55 and over.
        No allowing ‘young’ people into the military except in specific fields that require additional fitness.

        Let us oldsters become the ‘cannon fodder’. After all, our lives are nearly over, so we are much more expendable.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Domesticated non working dogs consume resources as do cats and other non working animals. Kill em off…for the good of the planet.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        It’s time to stop pussyfooting around this issue. We’re not going to make any difference through incremental changes. Driving turbo-4 CUVs instead of V6 sedans isn’t going to cut it, nor is driving $100,000 high performance electric cars, or burning natural gas for power instead of coal.

        We need to live in poverty; all of us. It is the only realistic way to significantly cut resource consumption in this critical time of rising CO2 levels. The world needs a leader willing to make the tough decisions to save us from ourselves. It sounds like you are that leader. The surplus cat food will keep us alive!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    “Should we all be in teardrop-shaped postwar bubble cars” ? .

    OH GOD NO ! PLEASE NOT THAT NONONONONO…..

    And remember, I like little cars and my new tucklet is a little Ford Ranger .

    Don’t force us to drive crap because you’re insecure .

    Everyone who wants to outlaw Hummers and those silly huge bro – trucks, should be forced to ride a MoPed to prove they’re serious .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      Back in the day I was a volunteer FF/EMT at our rural fire dept. On a nice summer afternoon we ran an EMS call to transport a bicyclist who heat-stroked and passed out while riding. She was on the last leg of a cross-country group ride that ended in Washington D.C. As is often the case they had an axe to grind and wanted everyone to know their agenda so…..off to D.C.!

      Anyhow, the patient was an early 20-something who was an absolute athlete; she just rode hundreds of miles. Another woman who claimed to be a minister rode along in the ambo. While on the run this all-knowing oracle regaled us with “we simply must get out of our cars” “we simply must live where we work” “we simply must ride bicycles or use public transport” “we simply must” “we simply must” “we simply must…..”.

      We didn’t ask how that would work for us in the sticks. For the farmers that produced the food she ate. That had to go to work where it was available and not where we wished it was. It was her way or the highway, preferably on a bus if we would only just ask.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    See, here’s the deal. This guy didn’t write this article to convince anyone, especially not an enthusiast.

    He wrote it to reinforce his bonefides with the Twitterati cocktail set. He’s simply angling for his next job and a bigger expense account.

  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    I am sorry that you are a democrat but I agree with your statement.
    Does that make this a bi-partisan agreement?

  • avatar
    Yankee

    I think many of the comments here are missing the point of the article. It’s not about legislating any kind of choice restrictions, or shaming SUV/truck owners. It’s about how the American auto industry has preyed upon the deep-seated insecurities of consumers to sell them vehicles they don’t need that are cheap to make and can be sold at a high margin. I would never advocate any restrictions on consumer choice in vehicles. Anyone who has a need for a truck should be able to buy one. But way back when (e.g., 1970s) your average truck cost thousands less than your average car. The stratospheric prices of today’s trucks (never forget seeing a window sticker showing over $30k for a base regular cab 2WD silverado with rubber floor mats, steel wheels, and crank windows) have forced tradespeople who actually use the bed to pay a premium because of all the demand from people seeking an image rather than a tool. Instead of buying what we need, we’re being sold what automakers want to maximize their profits. How many people have you heard say they “need” 4WD who live on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood and never drive anywhere off-road? My father was a sales rep whose territory included everything from Buffalo NY to rural West Virginia. Never had anything but a generic front-wheel-drive company car with snow tires on it. Never got stuck, never had an accident. I can’t count how many seals I replaced and hubs I’ve had to free up on trucks because they dried out from never being put into 4WD. The point is not to restrict anyone’s choice, but to urge people not to be a pawn to automakers and a slave to their fears.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If that was truly his point then he could have gone after the $40k 4 cylinder cars coming out of Europe, that’s the biggest up sell in history. Another perfect example of what you say would be Subaru who sell their cars on the thinly disguised argument that AWD (and a not very good one at that) makes you and your fellow dog fetish enthusiasts safer.

    • 0 avatar
      lstanley

      “I think many of the comments here are missing the point of the article. It’s not about legislating any kind of choice restrictions, or shaming SUV/truck owners.”

      Given the chance there are many (almost certainly including the author) who would gleefully support legislation restricting what someone can purchase. Current progressives aiming for office are absolutely looking to put legislation in place to stop certain activities. Heck, it’s right on their websites!

      And under no uncertain terms should anyone discount that a big portion of articles like this are written expressly to shame SUV and truck owners. When the author writes “It is a declaration that it’s still OK to be an a**hole” it’s a pretty clear indicator that he’s trying to shame owners.

      Good news is that articles like this are a dime a dozen, and have probably influenced fewer………

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        But, but ~

        Scared Citizens are easier to control and fleece…….

        No wonder so many want to go live off the grid .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Nate, Of course scared citizens are easier to control. Which is why right wing politicians and commentators spend so much time scaring their constituents with stories about foreign terrorists, immigrants, racial crimes, and conspiracy theories.

          Americans have given up many of their freedoms because they are so scared of these largely non-existent threats.

          Research into 9-11. There was zero Afghan involvement, yet the US invaded them on this pretext. The Taliban were the very same people the US trained and equipped as ‘freedom fighters’ against the Soviets.

          Research Iraq. Hussein was an American ally. Went to war with Iran. Believed he had American permission to invade Kuwait. And the Weapons of Mass Destruction was a lie.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Kind of like all those conservatives who gleefully want to ban abortion, gay marriage, gambling, marijuana, etc?

        Restricting freedoms of choice isn’t good, no matter what side you sit on.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Exactly, jack4x, you get it :)

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Gay Marriage, Gambling, Drugs…I know they are out there, but there are as many conservatives that support those and take the “keep the government out and let the locals decide” stance as otherwise.

          Abortion isn’t so black and white however as many feel that it is a child and as such they should get a choice in the matter and killing it doesn’t respect the child`s freedoms.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          “Kind of like all those conservatives who gleefully want to ban abortion, gay marriage, gambling, marijuana, etc?”

          Riddle me………”me”, then, a conservative who doesn’t give a rip about any of that stuff, and am all in favor of personal choice. As long as it goes hand in hand with personal responsibility.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “The stratospheric prices of today’s trucks (never forget seeing a window sticker showing over $30k for a base regular cab 2WD silverado with rubber floor mats, steel wheels, and crank windows) have forced tradespeople who actually use the bed to pay a premium because of all the demand from people seeking an image rather than a tool.”

      That’s pretty well exactly wrong on every count.

      First, those 30K sticker work trucks aren’t 30K because of luxury image, they’re 30K because of the massive across the board inflation that’s going on everywhere.

      Second, any cost premium for trickle down luxury content is more than made up for by the economy of scale of building two more retail copies for every work truck.

      Third, that trickle down luxury content has given us vinyl seat, crank window work trucks that ride like Cadillacs and pass like muscle cars for 24K + TTL.

      Work truck buyers aren’t the losers here. They’re the hands down winners.

      • 0 avatar
        Yankee

        That’s your opinion Dan, not fact. Trucks are cheaper to make and massively overpriced. So many analyses have been done on this subject since the Truck/SUV market first exploded in the 90s. The manufacturers push trucks/SUVs because they make massively more profit margin on them than they can on a passenger car. The quality of today’s trucks is vastly improved as you note, and the safety items do add to the price, but the margins are still inflated compared to other vehicles.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The freedom to be ignorant is the biggest compromise our founding fathers had to make.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Having just spent two weeks in Japan and seeing their mostly very small vehicles with few SUVs and no pickups, I cannot fathom how those people survive. They undoubtedly live highly restricted lives. They cannot go anywhere, they can’t haul anything and their only means of copping with winter conditions is winter tires. They live lives of quiet desperation. Unlike the Japanese, Americans have real freedom of expression.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      And the North American-style suburban sprawl that’s required to accommodate everyone driving massive vehicles makes me want to slit my wrists. Not everyone has the same standards for happiness as you.

      Also, been driving 2WD vehicles in winter my entire life, and that’s never been a restriction.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Once upon a time the left used to care about liberty and freedom of choice. Now they only want to approve of things that they advance and the other choices are simply not acceptable. Thanks to this generation of leftists, I have become a Libertarian. And the left is an enemy of a free people.

    • 0 avatar
      Yankee

      I don’t disagree cprescott. All too often these days an agenda lies at the bottom of policies that are supposedly for the “common good.” But I think we have reached a point where some people’s choices are hurting others, which also isn’t fair. Unlike those on the far left, I don’t think you can legislate your way into a solution. But unlike those on the far right, I don’t think you can just keep saying freedom of choice is paramount above anything else. I think the solution is to have a conversation (like we do here) and think about how we’re being manipulated into buying what we don’t need, and what the consequences of those choices are for ourself and others. I have always been a gearhead, and I had lots of performance cars back in my youth. I now own a 19-year-old RWD manual pickup for hauling duties when I need it, and my daily driver for my 64-mile round-trip commute is a 2006 Scion xB. It gets 30 mpg regardless of how I drive it, and in 187K miles I have replaced one oxygen sensor and the exhaust, aside from normal maintenance and tires and brakes. Like Hummer, I also can’t stand feeling cramped and having a windshield slanted right up against my face. But I’ve long since ceased to care about what anyone thinks of what I drive. I got off the treadmill of always wanting more or the next shiny new thing, and now I just sit back and make money off of those who do.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      where in Russia do you spend your time posting this crap, tovarisch?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I am honestly glad that there are people on the left that are as dismayed about what the left has become as some of us on the right are about where our side has ended up.

      • 0 avatar
        Yankee

        Art, I think there are many, many people in the middle of most issues, who are conflicted by valid arguments from both sides. But no one is shouting for attention while they are considering the nuances of an argument and creating an informed opinion. But that doesn’t drive clicks, sell ads, etc. So all we see are the extremists on both sides in the media, but I honestly believe they are far from the majority. The problem is that once you express an idea that someone at the extremes doesn’t like, they label you as belonging to the opposing side and the discussion stops. I like a lot of the discussions here because there are a lot of thoughtful and knowledgeable people here who make me think about aspects of an issue I wouldn’t have by myself. Some do it more tactfully than others, of course.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Of all of the vulgar consumption going on in the world cars are an awfully small part. Within that small part, size of car is an awfully wrong way to measure it.

    Why am I supposed to glare at a 50K truck while smiling at a 100K Tesla?

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      Nikola Tesla’s greatest vision was free electricity available to everyone. How that vision translates into electric cars for the wealthy, subsidized by taxes paid by mostly not the wealthy is a somewhat hilarious bastardization of the whole concept.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The Vice article brought to mind this comment by Robert Heinlein:

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as bad luck.”

    I disagree with Heinlein’s final sentence. It’s not bad luck; it’s intentional. The Vice author’s definition of hell is a world in which robots provide the basics for life leaving humans free to pursue their avocations or do nothing at all.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The author is ignorant, but the point about vehicular conspicuous consumption is not wrong.

    In many parts of America, a man’s masculinity is called into question if he doesn’t drive a 3- to 4-ton, 230″ long truck (ideally with a lift and wider wheels), regardless of whether he actually uses the slightest bit of hauling capability. Similarly, the most important status symbol for moms is a three-ton SUV. People shouldn’t feel like everyone will judge them for driving a smaller or less expensive vehicle, but, today, they do.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Don’t you think it’s possible that people simply enjoy these vehicles? The full-size BOF Impalas sold over a million copies a year once per a time. These are nothing more than an extension of that love.

      If CAFE hadn’t priced theee out of the reach of so many I’m sure they would sell quite a bit more than they do now.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      So what is it about Dal? Because I thought it was about reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses to save the planet. I would figure you’d be happy that a segment of the industry that is seen as one of the biggest contributors is embracing cleaner technology.

      Or is it that they aren’t doing what you want to do. So is it about clearner technology for vehicles or about people like you getting to tell people like Hummer what to do? I have my suspicions.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      And are you reallllly arguing that we should limit people’s choices so nobody calls you a Girly Man? Even if they do, why do you care…anyone that would do such a thing is clearly showing their own stupidity. Grow up and drive on…this isn’t high school anymore.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Ugh. Why can’t someone just be allowed to drive what they want?

    I have a Suburban and love it. Do I always have it loaded to the gills? No. But several times a year, I have it loaded and use it for the its intended purpose of carrying people and stuff. My spouse currently has been using it daily, for he uber long 1 mile commute; round trip. So, we could have another car for her to drive which we did and finally sold as it was more costly to have another car.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I think that there is a small segment of population that is honest to God angry that technology is going to save us again. I am not going to generalize “The Left” or “Environmentalists” here…it is a small minority of autocrats that do see the freedom of movement that the automobile has given us as counter productive to their goals of what society should be.

    No matter what you think of climate change, there are those that sought to weaponize it and use it for their goals. The problem is that technology has reared its head. Cars didn’t die according to their script…You got trucks that use less gas than slushbox equipped sedans a few years ago and when that wasn’t enough in their minds, you get trucks that use no gas at all and one of them even wears the Hummer badge which is the embodiment of all things evil in their mind. And it ticks them off. Screw em.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If you read my post with the most elementary reading comprehension, you would understand that I am wishing that some people would stop telling others what to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Yankee

      dal20402 If you’re looking for nuanced discussion and thoughtful consideration of an idea, you have little hope of finding it online. People hide behind the anonymity of their screens and rage against anyone who disagrees with them. There are a lot of great users on this site who I’ve learned a lot from, but there are also a lot of neanderthal mouth-breathers whose views on cars are a manifestation of their own insecurity rather than being actually informed. In other words, the very people you talk about who love to make fun of people for driving something that doesn’t live up to their simplistic view of masculinity. I’ve found it’s best to say your piece, read the thoughtful replies, and don’t bother responding to the knuckle-dragging retrogrades, because you can’t change their views and you will only end up giving them a platform to rant. Peace.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Waitaminnit there ! .

        Just because I like to drive small, old, noisy and slow death traps now you’re telling me I can’t force everyone else to go buy a Motocycle ?.

        That’s absurd no matter how many miles I logged in a pair of 1963 / 1964 Chevy K/10 4X4 Suburbans like the one in the header photo……

        Those things were GREAT ! . yes they were only three or four years old and rattled like tambourines but they always started and ran no matter how cold or hot it got and we even drove one to Canada where that wily Canuckian drove it right into a ditch, destroying it and breaking John’s leg….

        How dare you suggest I can’t tell others what to drive ! =8-^ .

        -Nate

  • avatar

    When I came to US I was afraid to buy any big (read midsize) car with V6 because gas mileage was unusually low, much lower to what I used to in my country (like 7.0L/100km as an average). Also in US everything was disposable, people behaved as if they have access to unlimited resources.

    To come to term with all that I came up with a theory that America is a special country and normal rules do not apply to it. Call it the manifest destiny for US to lead the rest of the world to the future and to do that US is allowed to spend as much resources as it needs to facilitate progress for rest of mankind.

  • avatar

    Did I by accident go to streetsblog or one of the transportation alternatives nonsense sites ? They get SO worked up at SUV….it’s fun to read sometimes.

    Best sized car depends on your world. Euros have tiny streets, shorter distances and expensive fuel. If you live in the Midwest, you have a graph paper road system with no curves and cheap gas.

    Living in a city/suburban area, and running a travelling salesman route for a long, long time, I found an SUV/full sized car a bit much for parking and travel in tight places. Going the other way to a Golf sized car…was a bit too small, for those long slogs on interstates.

    At the end, I found what euros consider a “large car”, or we call a 3 series, C class sized car, was “just right”. A touch more than an FWD box, but not so much as an SUV.

    There are always folks who will buy to annoy others…coal rolling anyone ? I see Bro-Dozers all the time that cost more than my sporty German car….

    Oh, and I fully intend to get on every airplane I can, while I can. I’m not letting a few kids in Brooklyn tell me what I can and cannot do. They’ve already destroyed traffic flow in NYC with bike nonsense, signal changes, and parking removal…

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