Saturday, August 14, 2004

Suv's, Gas Rate Hikes, and Soccer Moms

There has been a drastic change over the past 9-10 years in the automobile industry, due to customer demand. Once, there was a day that we all had cars. Utensils of life to get us from point A, to point B, and back. Now, everybody has to have a, "my car is bigger then your car", Napoleon complex about their vehicles. SUV's have become the prominent vehicle of choice. I have seen mom's with their newborns, elderly people and 100 pound women steering a light truck that weighs over 8000 pounds. This is a problem because the majority of these people have never driven a truck in their lives, and believe me it is a different driving experience. The distance it takes to stop is increased, the wideness of the turn you are making is increased, and other differences that make driving an SUV a tall task for some.
My concern is not only the safety of having so many SUV's on the road, or the concern of who is driving them, but the gas mileage these trucks get, as well as the incredible perks you can get from driving an SUV. You see, the average person does not go to buy a vehicle with the environment in mind, but "Hey what's so-and-so gonna think of my new ride." The vanity of the American public ceases to amaze me, once again. This is not all people, but it is the majority of people.
The perks, I previously talked about, that you get are absolutely amazing. Under IRS tax code, Section 179 deduction, you can essentially write off 100% of your SUV if you: 1) Buy an SUV over 6000 lbs 2) Claim and prove you use it for business purposes at least 50% of the time and 3) Set up a second office in your home so you can write off your business miles. Effectively, you can have up to a $100,000 tax deduction. You can buy and write-off a Hummer H2 in full, the year you purchase it. This is not possible for a car under 6000 lbs. For a list of qualifying vehicles go to
Another perk of buying an SUV is that, if your SUV weighs over 5100 lbs and is classified as a light truck you do not need an emissions check yearly. You save the $30 in my state of NC. Pretty crappy if you think about it. SUV's are allowed, by the government, to waste 1/3 more fuel then a car. The emissions are not inspected and are very high in comparison to a car. reports the following on it's website:
Because the government classifies SUVs as "light trucks" rather than cars, SUVs have a license to guzzle more gas and pollute more than cars. In 1975, when fuel-economy standards were first adopted, "light truck" referred to a vehicle used to haul hay on the farm or gravel at a construction site. At that time, light trucks comprised only 20 percent of the vehicle market. Today, SUVs, mini-vans and other light trucks make up nearly half of new vehicles sold. They are far more likely to haul lattés home from Starbucks than lumber from the yard. Even though Detroit has technology that could make them both cleaner and safer, SUVs and other light trucks are still held to low environmental standards, roll over more than cars and pose greater danger to other vehicles than cars do.
To read in full the Sierra Clubs SUV and GlobalWarming Report go to:

Here also is a short list I have compiled of the best and worst gas mileage for SUV's and the size of their gas tanks.
Scion XB- 31mpg city/ 34-35mpg highway- 11.9 gallon fuel tank
Toyota Rav4- 21-24mpg city/ 26-30mpg highway- 14.8 gallon fuel tank
Ford Escape- 22mpg city/ 25mpg highway- 16.5 gallon fuel tank
Honda CR-V- 21-23mpg city/25-29mpg highway- 15.3 gallon fuel tank
Honda Element- 21-22mpg city/ 24-26mpg highway- 15.9 gallon fuel tank
Land Rover Discovery- 12mpg city/ 16mpg highway- 24.6 gallon fuel tank
Mercedes G500 SUV- 13mpg city/ 14mpg highway- 21.1 gallon fuel tank and 2.5 gallon reserve Toyota Land Cruiser- 13mpg city/ 16mpg highway- 25.4 gallon fuel tank
GMC Yukon Denali- 13mpg city/ 17 mpg highway- 26 gallon fuel tank
GMC Yukon Denali XL- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Cadillac Escolade ESV- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Cadillac Escolade EXT- 13mpg city/ 17mpg highway- 31 gallon fuel tank
Lincoln Aviator- 13mpg city/ 18mpg highway- 22.5 gallon fuel tank
Lincoln Navigator- 13mpg city/ 18mpg highway- 28 gallon fuel tank
As well as Cadillac's Escolade, GMC's Yukon Denali and Lincoln's Navigator, the following are the most popular SUV's on the road:
Ford Explorer- 17mpg city/ 21mpg highway- 22.5 gallon fuel tank
Chevy Tahoe- 14-16mpg city/ 18-19mpg highway- 26 gallon fuel tank
Chevy Suburban 5300 - 14-18mpg city/ 15-20mpg highway(6000 and 8100 N/A)- 31 gallon fuel tank
Hummer H2- EPA data N/A because it weighs over 8600lbs- 32 gallon fuel tank

All of this data was collected on each car companies website. I must tell you, unless you know where to look or spend a considerable amount of time doing so, this information is well hidden. These car companies don't want you to know. I spoke to a salesman at Mercedes Benz of Greensboro, to find out how big fuel tanks were in their SUV's. The information was nowhere on there website. It took him a minute and he gave me the info. He also expressed that, "Unfortunately, it was as I suspected. I wish they had bigger tanks or better fuel mileage, but they don't." Even he knew what the deal was.
As you can tell I have a beef with the auto industry on this issue. They are solely responsible for making vehicles of mass destruction. I guess if I was President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld, I'd just bomb them(Like Iraq or Afghanistan). Obviously, that is not the solution here either.
France found a solution in Paris. They have banned the use of SUV's within the city limits. Finally the French have done something good besides give us a statue that we have lost the meaning to.
What can you do about this? Write your local and state Congressmen and representatives and tell them how bad SUVs' are for the environment and people in general. Encourage them to make SUV's just as responsible as cars. If they are classified as light trucks and are being used for business purposes, then don't you think it would make sense to be required to have a commercial license and license plate?
You can also be a responsible individual and buy something with better gas mileage and cleaner emissions. Yes, I said, be a responsible individual. Over the past few years our government has run anti-drug ads, stating that if you buy drugs like marijuana, you are funding terrorism. I feel that if you buy gas guzzling SUV's, you are funding terrorism. That's right, I feel you are funding terrorism, by supporting the oil producing countries that harbor and fund terrorism and terrorist activities. Get cars! Let me say that again, GET CARS! They would still use gas, less gas, but that is a whole other rant for me to go on. Write the auto makers. Encourage them to make more efficient vehicles. If we don't buy the crap, they won't sell the crap! Do the Earth a favor, next time you go car shopping, think about what you are doing. Get a vehicle that gets good gas mileage and has low emissions. Be kind to your planet and think about your children's future. Boycott SUV's.

Here are some links to check out: , , , , and (NHTSA- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
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