The SUV phenom

SUVs are everywhere. They are particularly popular amongst those who live here in the Pacific Northwest, many of whom live fantasies that they are Ford Tough or Like a friggin Rock. This issue points to a theme that I will be iterating and building upon for some time. It is not okay to do what you want when you want. You should not be as rich as you can possible be. Your car cannot be as huge and inefficient as you want it to be. We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy (in theory), this is not a capitalist society, it is one with capitalistic tendencies. It should be obvious to anyone with any imagination or comprehension of history that unbridled capitalism cannot work.

Back to SUVs. They keep growing. Larger and larger, meaner and meaner, and more annoying to drive behind. Mileage has not improved one bit. The representatives have not stopped to consider that SUVs are not really 18-wheelers. How it came to pass that they only need to pass the emitions tests of semis is a mystery to me, and solid evidence that the people of the United States are not being represented by their representitives. Unacceptable. A lot of the newer ones should not even be allowed on the road, let alone mass-marketed to soccer moms and yuppie rebels.

It is amazing how superior some SUV drivers can become when accosted about driving the wasteful behemoths. It’s as if they’ve been brainwashed, with arguments about safety, free will, preference, and needing something for that annual family trip to BC. Never about power, commercialism, or fantasies, which are pretty obviously the real reasons. Vehicle size has become a very apparent status symbol.

Besides being blatantly inefficient in this time when our leaders are taking us to war over oil and the economy, they are simply not suitable for city driving. Parking spaces need to be smaller to accomodate larger populations, not larger. Roads are too narrow for the girth of those monsters to pass safely. The visibility lost to an SUV is a source of frustration and danger as well.

All kinds of people can be jerks while driving. However, I find that SUV drivers tend to be oblivious to the rights and needs of others far more frequently. They are less likely to allow you to merge while they jabber absently into their cell phones (note: I am not in favor of banning cell phone use while driving, but it’s pretty clear that some people can handle it and others can’t…know who you are) and change lanes with no signal.

I found this link to the EPA’s Green Vehicles Guide which is not very favorable to SUV’s. Check out matt’s angry little thoughts for where I got it.

Alright, so I’ve griped here quite a bit. Now it’s time to offer up some solutions.

  1. Define a set of standards appropriate for the SUV. Here in Oregon, integrate it into DEQ standards. It’s easy and fair.
  2. Enforce compact car parking. Make all street parking compact only. This is under the new compact definition of sedan-sized.
  3. Raise gas prices. Tax them. A lot.
  4. Require a commercial driver’s license. Even to test drive. If you’re going to drive a truck, learn how.
  5. Limit sales. Artificially create demand by reducing supply. Let them be a real status symbol.
  6. Ban private ownership of SUVs larger than a particular size, or with an economy worse than such and such. I believe they should still be available for rent.
  7. Charge a lot more for registration on them. They do cause more damage to roads after all.

There are many more solutions, but at least I feel like I’m part of the solution. I must add the caveat that I lity vehicles. Particularly if they actually get used for their purported purpose. No need for examples, but there are some decent ones out there.

  • Preston

    What!? I cant be as rich as I can possibly be! I thought this was America! Can you send me your money?

  • http://url Dan

    Insurance should be charged at the pump so that it is based on how much gas one uses and perhaps a multiplier based on driving record. Obviously the more miles one drives the greater the risk of an accident, and given the artificially stable gas prices, perhaps the only way to encourage people to actually drive less.

  • SPI Guy

    I’d like to invite everyone to visit my new Hummer (off roading) blog at and start posting your comments on Hummers or other off roading topics.