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Pro-bike anti-SUV from ESPN(98 posts)

Pro-bike anti-SUV from ESPNhusker
Dec 3, 2002 6:28 AM
Interesting, but perhaps nothing new. But it does come from an unlikely source.

I liked it.
Dec 3, 2002 6:38 AM
I was starting to think this had nothing to do with bicycling, until the end.
Great Article!wonderdog
Dec 3, 2002 7:48 AM
Maybe, just maybe, with the Dubya's threats of war and all, the American public will start to see more articles and news bits like this one. I, for one, hope that the price of gas goes up to $8/gallon so that I can watch all the SUV drivers cry about how light their wallets are as they drive to Starbucks for a latte'.

Dec 3, 2002 7:52 AM
People seem to love perpetuating the stereotype of the evil SUV driver. Yawn...
not evil...just ignorant (nm)Frith
Dec 3, 2002 8:04 AM
I'm a bad, ignorant person. Anybody else? (nm)TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 8:06 AM
We're double evil, we have two (nm)Dave Hickey
Dec 3, 2002 8:22 AM
I'm ignorant and dumb - I live in NYC and park on the streetUprwstsdr
Dec 3, 2002 8:33 AM
I wanna be ignorant, evil and naughty...No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 8:25 AM
I want a darn Navigator. Just drive old Detroit super fast metal now. Lots of my teammates are ignorant too!
RE: whatevvawonderdog
Dec 3, 2002 8:06 AM
The "yawn" was a nice touch. Must be nice to be bored with the issue of our environment.

Environmental issuesColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 9:22 AM
Do you really think SUVs are a major factor in causing environmental pollution? Maybe all gas-powered transportation in general, but hardly just SUVs.
Environmental issuesFez
Dec 3, 2002 10:01 AM
Do you really think SUVs are a major factor in causing environmental pollution? Maybe all gas-powered transportation in general, but hardly just SUVs.

Yes. It all adds up. If an suv consumes 25-40% more fuel (conservative estimate) to cover the same distance as a medium to large size car, and you multiply this by the several hundred thousand suvs that are chosen over passenger cars every year, then of course it contributes.

More fuel burnt = more emissions.
do you really think it DOESNT ?Steve_0
Dec 3, 2002 10:21 AM
Considering 1 in 4 new vehicles sold is an SUV, each of which gets less than 50 percent the mileage of the average car ?

Interesting reading:

"According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the most important things you can do to reduce global warming pollution is to buy a vehicle with higher fuel economy. This is because every gallon of gasoline your vehicle burns puts 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that the rapid buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is raising the earth's temperature and changing the earth's climate with potentially serious consequences. Choosing a vehicle that gets 25 rather than 20 miles per gallon will prevent 10 tons of CO2 from being released over the lifetime of your vehicle. Passenger cars and trucks account for about 20 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions.

Today a car that gets approximately 27.5 mpg, like a Volkswagen New Beetle, will emit 54 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of gasoline over its lifetime. An SUV that gets 14 mpg, like a Lincoln Navigator, will emit over 100 tons of CO2 over its lifetime. A Harper's Magazine writer took the massive Ford Excursion, the biggest of all SUVs for a test drive. During a drive around a city, the mighty Excursion was only getting 3.7 miles per gallon. It is estimated the Excursion will produce 134 tons of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that if fuel economy had not been improved in the late 1970s, U.S. fuel consumption would be about 2.8 million barrels of oil per day higher than it is. This is about 14 percent of today's oil consumption. However, all of the major fleet-wide improvements in vehicle fuel economy occurred from the middle 1970s through the late 1980s, but it has been consistently falling since then. In fact, average new vehicle fuel economy fell in 2000 to 24 mpg, its lowest level 20 years. The increasing market share of light trucks and SUVs accounts for much of the decline in fuel economy of the overall new light vehicle fleet. "
average car where? Here is the real world.No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 10:36 AM
Average car? Where? Is average new? Not around here. Perhaps in Bel Air, but most people don't live in Bel Air. Perhaps in Manhattan it's really easy to believe that the masses don't really live in between LA and Manhattan in places like Kansas and Tennessee.

I don't know where you're living, however, the average car here isn't brand new and isn't a Beetle. The average car around here is probably 15 years old, running terribly and creating nice smokey emissions and getting in all liklihood worse mileage than a nice new SUV running well. They're payin' off mechanics to give them good smog checks rather than fork out the bucks their farming families can't afford to fix all the whacky anti-emissions parts on their cars.

Limiting your analysis to new vehicles and implying that's the majority is making an inaccurate assumption invalidating your entire hypothesis.
my badSteve_0
Dec 3, 2002 10:52 AM
I err'd, shoulve said the 'average new car'.

BTW - You too are limiting your 'analysis' by assuming your local demos represent national figures. You need to get out of town more often if youre trying to imply the 15 year old cars more accurately represent the national average than new.
my "town" has about 11 million metro area residents-LA nm.No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 11:00 AM
and an awful public transportation system as well (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 11:04 AM
indeed, however better than many big cities I've been to...No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 11:17 AM
and I drive less than the national average. About half that in fact. Many large cities, most off the Eastern seaboard don't have rail or subways, of which LA has both.
"$8 gas..."miguel33
Dec 3, 2002 9:58 AM
Imagine if everyone was demanding the latest fuel efficient technology be installed and cars & trucks & SUVs would be getting 50-100 mpg. The technology is there. It could happen if it became as embarassing to be driving a car getting 12-18 mpg (SUV or not) as it has become to wear a fur coat (which were so popular what--10 years ago?).

maybe we wouldn't have to send the boys to Iraq, or drill Alaska, or worry that Venezuela's current "president" is siphoning the profits from our oil sales into Swiss banks.
In Europe gas is more than $8/galNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 10:24 AM
I think some places it's about $5/litre. That hasn't persuaded Lamborghini and others to stop producing v10s+, stop racing F1s that get approximately 2 miles/gal all over Europe, stop BMW and Benz from producing their large sedans with 8cyls, etc. Those things aint getting much better gas mileage than an Xterra. My sports car gets worse mileage than most SUVs. I simply don't drive very much. 7000 miles/year approximately.
Do most Euros drive everywhere they go? (nm)wonderdog
Dec 3, 2002 10:27 AM
How many Europeans drive Lamborghini's?czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 11:38 AM
How many even drive large 8 cylinder sedans? Maybe my experience is not representative, but the last year in London I don't think saw a car larger that a Ford Focus. There were a lot of tiny cars (many made by Mercedes and BMW) that sure looked like they got about 40 miles a gallon.
You're right, it's not representative of the wholeNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 11:49 AM
In town in London is not representative of Europe. Furthermore, I wasn't writing law, just an opposing view to some ideas that SUVs are the air quality satan. They're simply not.

Here in LA, smog was much worse before the invasion of SUVs. Air quality has undoubtedly improved here in the land of cars over the past years.
Ah, but has it improved as much as it could w/o SUVs? (nm)czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 12:31 PM
I'd guess industrial pollution is right up there tooColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 1:01 PM
After all the electricity that powers your house has to come from somewhere. A lot is generated by coal fired generators which are not all that great for the environment. You can probably put some of the blame on air pollution on your computer and TV as well.
Your dodging the issue.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 1:21 PM
Yes, electricity is generated largely by coal. Yes, TVs and computers use energy too, and thus contribute their share of smog. The first thing to consider is the share. I don't know about TVs, but computers use a very small amount of energy relative to the energy they save. If you factor in the mechanical labor that they save, I suspect that they reduce smog. Just think of the emmisions saved by mail sent over phone lines instead of on USPS Jets and 18 wheelers.

That other machines use energy does not excuse SUVs for needlessly wasting energy.
I have seen more Ferraris in London than anywhere else..TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 12:00 PM
But that's just anecdotal. I have a Peugeot in France that gets about the same gas milage as my Nissan SUV. It's about the size of a Honda Accord. Americans like to think that Europeans are all about small cars because they like the environmental friendliness (and Europeans don't complain about being branded "green"). But the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of tiny cars in Europe because there are a lot of tiny streets in Europe. Europeans have been driving tiny cars since they have been driving cars- think of the Citroen 2CV. A Lincoln Navigator is not impractical in Europe because of gas milage, it's impractical because it wouldn't fit down 50% of the streets of Provence. I can't even imagine trying to park a Suburban anywhere on the Continent.

In my own neighborhood, which is the oldest in Boston, there are a handful of streets that my SUV won't fit into- but thankfully I can manage without those streets. A lot of European cars are small- but there are other considerations than gas milage that went into their purchase.
Point taken. But regardless of the primary motivation. . .czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 12:30 PM
Europeans seem to get by with smaller cars, which makes it far more likely that as those cars are replaced, they will increaseingly reap the personal and public benefits of optimal mileage. I say "optimal" because while certain SUVs get "good" mileage compared to older cars, compared to contemporary cars that for most users could serve the same purposes, they are inexcusable inefficient.

And, how is it Europeans manage with those smaller cars? Do they have smaller families or fewer groceries? What is with the enduring American mania for giant gas guzzlers? If Europes car preferences can be attributed to city planning, conspicuous consumption seems to be at the root of American tastes. Then again, owining a car wher gas costs $8 a gallon is its own kind of conspicuous consumption.
something's wrong with your peugeot..dotkaye
Dec 4, 2002 10:01 AM
if it gets the same mileage under the same conditions as the SUV.. I've owned the 404, 305, and driven the 506, never had worse than 25mpg/city from any of them. I doubt the Nissan can get that on the freeway in Kansas..
yes - have you been to Europe ?dotkaye
Dec 4, 2002 9:55 AM
they mostly drive cars smaller than the back seat of a Ford Exxon Valdez or Chevy Subdivision.. Renault Twingo, tiny Opels, Peugeots, etc. Straw men are easy to knock over..
In Europe the SUV is the "Station Wagon"niteschaos
Dec 3, 2002 8:16 AM
I don't understand how people think modern station wagons are lame. The ones from germany (with the right engine option) can wail on most sports cars from 10 years ago and still get great gas mileage and handle as well as their sedan sisters. They have space, speed, and cargo capacity that you'd think a real "Sport Utility Vehicle" would imbody. What does the label say on the inside door panel of my 1990 Chevy Suburban, "Cargo Utility Vehicle". And that was before the craze started by marketing. I don't care what you call a Hummer or an Esclade, they are not sporty (speaking from personal expereince, the hummer requires 17 seconds to reach 60mph, a feat I've matched on bike more than once).

However, I come from a family of SUV owners. When you live 3 miles from the nearest paved road and you live in the south (aka the Thunderstorm belt), having 10 inches of ground clearance and 4 wheel drive helps when the roads are only graveled once a year.

But on top of it all, my vehicle of choice? My Felt F75. I choose it over anything except a well powered motorcycle. But even the best motorcycles don't give you the feel a bike does.
"Great gas mileage"??Eager Beagle
Dec 3, 2002 8:46 AM
Which ones have you been looking at?
Dec 3, 2002 9:25 AM
what's lame is people buying overpriced minivans marketed as "SUV's", all the while thinking theyre being more hip than their father was with the family wagon in the 70s.
I know what you mean.fracisco
Dec 3, 2002 10:07 AM
I race a 24-foot sailboat, that all-up on the trailer ready for travel is just under 4000 lbs. The same type of boat is also raced in Europe, and I asked a Dutch fellow how he moves his boat around (since there aren't Suburbans and F150's everywhere). He told me he uses his Volvo V70! That's right, a non V8-powered station wagon to pull his ~4000 lb. sailboat. Granted he's probably not doing 80 mph down the highway, but he's getting from Holland to Italy once or twice a year to race.
of course...Steve_0
Dec 3, 2002 10:28 AM
MOST people who buy an SUV to 'haul stuff' are merely providing self justification. Most people I've heard say this dont even own boats, horses, etc.... they 'need' it in case they pick up that new refridgerator in 2004. Or firewood once per year. nevermind the fact the renting a truck for the day would save them thousands annually.

Indicates lack of creative problem solving, IMO.
nicely stated. (nm)wonderdog
Dec 3, 2002 10:30 AM
probably hell on the brakes and tranny thoughColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 10:50 AM
and god forbid you had to drive anywhere hilly with that setup.
LOL Got that rightNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 11:06 AM
Try rollin' a 28 foot Magic or Eliminator pickle fork or maybe a 34 foot Fountain over the El Cajon pass with that setup. Heck, those things wouldn't have pulled my 24 Hallett up the San Bernardino mountains.

New car is right, a new mini station wagon would be needed after each way of each trip.
Now, you're talking wasteful, your boat burns what? 5gpm? (nm)NJRoad
Dec 3, 2002 2:15 PM
and probably little to no emissions standardsColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 2:29 PM
better ban all boats too.
Zero emissions controlsNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 2:38 PM
and they sure run great and really surprisingly clean. Funny how Havasu and Clear Lake weren't smoggy last I checked.

Should we ban all emitting motors (vehicle and non-vehicle) only in areas of smog or should we force the ban on all emitting engines on everyone, everywhere?
Lawnmowers are supposed to be really badColnagoFE
Dec 4, 2002 7:38 AM
Better dictate that everyone uses a push reel manual mower. They need the exercise anyway.
Not allowedEager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 1:20 AM
You would only be permitted 50 mph (actually 80kph) with that load anyway.
Have SUVs made Moscow one of the worst citiesNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 11:51 AM
on the planet in terms of air quality? No.
No, but selfish indifference to the environment did. nm.Steve_0
Dec 3, 2002 12:04 PM
Agreed, and that's a whole different can.No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 12:19 PM
My apologies to all for being a bit argumentative earlier.

Funny how if the LA basin as well as other smoggy places were topographically and atmospherically different, the air quality would be entirely different as well.
No offense, but better you should choke on your own smog. (nm)czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 12:32 PM
it's the same can.Frith
Dec 3, 2002 1:29 PM
Although SUV's didn't cause the Moscow pollution problems, "selfish indifference to the environment" did. Unnecessarily driving an SUV is, in my opinion, "selfish indifference to the environment". I believe that this is the point Steve-O was trying to make.
terrible logicmohair_chair
Dec 3, 2002 12:15 PM
Perhaps the air quality isn't bad because the crap coming out the tailpipe doesn't stick around like it does in other cities. Moscow is very far to the north, so it is generally colder year round. Unless weather conditions create an inversion layer, the hot gases won't be trapped in the air. If they aren't trapped in the air, nobody notices them, but they are still produced.

One of the reasons Los Angeles has a reputation for smog (acquired long before cars) is because inversion layers are very common.
Logical follow up,TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 12:18 PM
The question is raised above, but why then, in the era of the SUV, is there less smog in L.A. than there used to be? Shouldn't smog have gotten worse throughout the 1990s, according to the evil SUV theory?
Dec 3, 2002 12:26 PM
There's no logic pattern to follow that produced my statement. It's simply not the SUVs like some here believe. As some have mentioned, it's more weather related than output into the air related.

The evil SUV theory does fail. As stated above, LA undoubtedly has better air quality than 2 decades ago before the evil half trucks invaded. Shoot, I probably see more full size trucks each day than SUVs.

Sorry to have been a bit argumentative.
Not according to Mr Nosprint,Steve_0
Dec 3, 2002 12:26 PM
the average age of a car in the LA area is 15 years. They dont even HAVE SUVs in LA yet.

Seriously, though, the SUV is a relative newcomer to playing field. As stated earlier, one in four new cars today is an SUV. After these cars are on the road awhile, i guess we'll be able to better gauge the impact to the environment.
even worse logicmohair_chair
Dec 3, 2002 12:50 PM
You are usually more a lot more thoughtful than that. If smog had a single cause, and that cause was the evil SUV, then the evil SUV theory would fail. It doesn't.

The reason Los Angeles has less smog now is because it has cracked down on refineries and factories and other large producers of smoke. Fines and forced shutdowns have a strong effect.

It's also because cars were forced by law to produce less emissions in California. SUVs are classified as trucks, and therefore exempt from many emissions laws. Despite SUV sales, lots and lots of low emission cars were sold at the same time. It's a net gain, even if the gain is somewhat offset.

California also had a buy back program for old heavy polluting cars to get them off the road and into the junkyard.

The LA area was making major improvements, then SUVs came along. The decline of smog levels is coincidental to the appearence of SUVs on a grand scale. Only a naive fool would make a connection between the two. Without all those SUVs, smog levels would definitely be lower.

Read all about it:
Slippery SlopeColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 1:07 PM
Sure the air quality would improve if you got rid of all SUVs, but it would improve more if you got rid of all cars and trucks. Heck...let's get rid of electricity that isn't solar or wind powered. Where does it end?
Dec 3, 2002 1:20 PM
It is my opinion that at least here, for example, large industry and especially the trucking and hauling industry, who are tucked nicely in bed with a largely liberal state government, has more impact than large cars and half trucks, especially if they're new and running well.

I'd bet Pittsburgh, New York City and South Chicago would look really smoggy with a different topography and atmosphere.

Done, thanks for the yaks.
Slippery Slopemohair_chair
Dec 3, 2002 1:23 PM
A pretty good end is when it stops being unhealthy. Smog is a fact of life in certain places and cannot be eliminated unless draconian measures are taken, like eliminating any combustion that produces hydrocarbons. Not likely.

Smog can be reduced and minimized. Compare today with 1980 and you'll see a big reduction in the number of smog "alerts," which are days where people with respitory problems are supposed to stay inside. There are cleaner ways of doing things and those things need to be done. SUVs are exempt from the rules, that's why they suck.
Let's check the logic of it allTJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 1:20 PM
The logic, as I understood it, was that SUVs contribute overwhelmingly to air pollution and smog. Yet, corresponding with the increase in the number of SUVs sold, there is a decrease in L.A. smog levels, according to the AGMD (which I checked before posing the question initially). There are relatively few conclusions that can be drawn from this data:

1. SUVs are better for the environment than older cars, as automobiles contribute most of the pollution. (you would have to be an idiot to believe this).

2. Automobiles, regardless of efficiency, have a much smaller impact on smog than other factors. So, yes, SUVs contribute more to smog than hybrids, but the impact is not necessarily noticable.

I also contest that "lots and lots" of low emission cars were sold- it depends on your definition of low emission, but the Toyata Prius has not sold nearly as many units as the 4Runner.
How about some <i>non</i>-Strawman logic.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 1:26 PM
SUVs contribute more to smog than other vehicles which can serve the exact same purposes. As such, they are wasteful and disproportionately harmful to air quality.
Even more disproportionately harmfulNo_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 1:30 PM
The large industry and trucking and hauling industries firmly entrenched with the mainly liberal state government.
Another dodge of the SUV issue. Any germane defenses? (nm)czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 2:30 PM
Who decides what purposes my vehicle needs to serve?TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 1:37 PM
I agree with you 100%, except that you don't propose a solution. Do we ban SUVs, making the claim that nobody needs them? Do we evaluate what people need their cars for, and say: you, rancher, can have an SUV; you, soccer mom, must drive a minivan? I purchased an SUV specifically because I wanted a vehicle that I could put more than one bicycle in without removing wheels. If they made an SUV that got 100 miles to the gallon, I would have bought that one.

And what are we going to say when the hybrid Explorer hits the market next year? Will SUVs still be evil, or can we point the target at the right group: high emission vehicles. Why do people yell at me for driving an SUV that gets 19mpg, and when the same people see me in my Porsche (which gets <6 mpg), they say: "great car, dude"?
You decide.Frith
Dec 3, 2002 1:52 PM
And if you're concious of the environment, then you likely don't choose an SUV.
I'm concious of the environment, I just don't care about it (nm)TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 1:54 PM
You decide.No_sprint
Dec 3, 2002 2:11 PM
What? Then maybe a S600 v12? Maybe a dually with a Cummins diesel? Maybe I'll go for an old fixer with a Hemi bored out twice over. How about a Vette? Maybe a Camaro SS SLP or Saleen Cobra. Maybe not even a dually, just a 4 wheel with a Triton?

I guess these are environmentally conscious?

I know, the F50, that's not an SUV, that's gotta be environmentally conscious right? LOL
how about an intelligent coversation.Frith
Dec 3, 2002 2:25 PM
Those are just as horrible alternatives. When I said "not an SUV" I forgot to list all the other high emmision vehicles. My apologies.
Yes, how about it,TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 2:48 PM
How about an intelligent conversation. How about the anti-SUV crowd stops harping about SUVs, and starts realizing that the worst gas mileage comes from sports cars and luxury cars.

According to the EPA, which car gets the worst gas mileage?

Is it a Lincoln Navigator?
A Ford Expedition?

Nope - a Ferrari, at 8mpg.

2nd worst?

A Bentley, at 10mpg.

3rd worst?

An Aston Martin, at 11mpg.

At the same time, a Chevy Impala gets worse gas mileage than a Chevy S10 pick-up. A Mazda truck gets the same gas mileage as a Honda Accord.

It's time to stop generalizing, and calling SUVs evil because they pollute, and time to start looking at the facts. SUVs don't necessarily get bad gas mileage, and cars don't necessarily get good gas mileage. This arguement should be amount emissions, not body styles.
Dec 3, 2002 2:51 PM
Ferraris, Bentlys and Aston Martins are statistically insignificant portions of cars on the road.

Neither the Chevy S10 nor the Mazda are SUVs.

Talk about generalizing.
I apologizeTJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 3:21 PM
Does this make it cool for me to drive a Ferrari, because I'm statistically insignificant? After all, what harm can one car cause?

I purposely chose larger vehicles to compare as SUVs, as opposed to smaller ones. But a RAV4 gets better gas mileage than a Honda Accord (or Chevy Impala, for that matter); and the RAV4 is now offered as an electric vehicle, its emissions are 0. A Mercury Grand Marquis gets the same gas mileage as a Blazer; worse than a Jeep Cherokee.

Why should the argument be about body style instead of actual emissions? Is it because people are truly concerned about the emissions, or they just want to look down at people who drive SUVs?
That's not what the argument is about.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 3:42 PM
I guess there is a third part to the cannon of SUV rationalization: since there are a few small SUVs that are better than the tuna boats the SUV detractors were protesting 20 years ago, the SUV designation is moot.

Of course, I don't hear anyone arguing that you should get out of your SUV and into a Mercury Grand Marquis. Do you?

And emissions are only the tip if the anti-SUV iceberg. You also have the hazards posed to other drivers by their size and weight, to which body style is quite relevant. So, while a RAV4 is better than an H2, it is still worse than a Civic.
Dec 3, 2002 3:52 PM
Think outside the box.

The RAV4EV has 2.6 TIMES more fuel economy than a Honda Civic Hybrid. 125mpg vs. 48mpg.

Get out of your Civic and into an SUV - namely the RAV4EV.

The SUV designation is not moot; the idea that SUVs are all Chevy Suburbans and Cadillac Escalades just misguided.
Apples and Oranges.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 4:07 PM
You are comparing a hybrid to an electric.

Are you suggesting that an electric RAV4 would be more efficient than a more compact electric Echo (should such a car be made by Toyota)?
People would probably complainSteve_0
Dec 4, 2002 4:27 AM
about ferraris, bentleys and martins if the encompassed one in four new car sales. but they dont.
Good luck with that.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 2:49 PM
SUV defenses inevitably boil down to pointing out the worse alternatives, or falsely assuming that because all transportation requires some energy, the amount of energy required by SUVs is irrelevant.

Not much room for intelligent conversation there.
What's the difference between a Ford F-150 and an Expedition?ColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 3:01 PM
At least pre-2003 Expeditions were basically F-150s with an SUV design instead of a pickup bed. You rarely hear anti-SUV people complaining about pickups. Plus SUVs come in all sizes from small to really big. I'm sure something like a Chevy Tracker or one of the smaller Blazers gets relatively decent milage. Not everyone drives a Hummer or Denali around. What is so intelligent about demonizing an entire genre of vehicles? I'm sure there are cars that are worse or better than others in terms of emissions and gas milage as well. Do you intend to mandate that everyone drives a hybrid or electric car regardless of preference or needs? That seems to be your logical conclusion.
Between 800-1000 lbs.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 3:31 PM
Or 20%-25% of the weight of the non-SUV version, and the requisite drop in efficiency.

As to mandating regardless of preference or need: Preference, yes. Need, no. Ideally, neither. It would be best if the vast majority of SUV drivers who never use the SUV features would recuperate from their raging denial and buy a practical car.
Why do we have to pick on body styles?TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 3:47 PM
I am baffled by this attitude. Would it be better for an owner of a RAV4E (a zero emissions SUV) to recuperate from his (her) raging denial and buy a nice Volkswagen Passat, which gets a whopping 18mpg?

Why is this discussion about body style, and not actually about fuel efficiency?

As for the difference between the F-150 and Expedition, in terms of gas mileage? Similarly equipped (with the same engine/tranny combo) the Expedition is 1mpg worse (13 vs 14mpg).
Redefining the terms.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 3:59 PM
I think it is obvious to almost everyone that when people complain about those big, gas-guzzling, SUVs, they are not referring to the small, electric exceptions.

Also, efficiency is among several practical reasons to dislike SUVs, most of which have everything to do with body style.

Nonetheless, given the fact that the F150 can only manage a fuel consumption improvement of 9% over a near exact copy with 1000 extra pounds welded to it, then it should be lumped in with "SUVs" among the cars that should be banished from our roads. Except, that is, for the "needs" provision. I suspect that there are far fewer soccer moms and urban poseurs driving around in large pick-ups.
So there you have it,TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 4:05 PM
"Also, efficiency is among several practical reasons to dislike SUVs, most of which have everything to do with body style."

In other words, "I don't like SUVs, but since the only quantifiable bad thing about them is emissions, I will demonstrate their inferiority based on that." Does that about sum it up?

This isn't really about emissions, is it? It's about some deeper feeling of dislike towards SUVs and the 'people' who drive them (as if one sort of person drives an SUV). If you want to say that SUVs, as a class, are evil, you need to give a better reason than gas mileage, because the best SUV is better than the best car, and the worst SUV is better than the worst car.

Why not just ban cars that get less than 25mpg and be done with it? If Cadillac can make an Escalade that gets 100mpg, do you still have a problem with it?
I should have followed my own advice.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 4:29 PM
It's clear that you are going to shape a strawman out of anything I can say.

No, that does not sum it up. There other, quite quantifiable "bad things" about SUVs. They reduce visibility due to their size, and they increase damage to the roads and to other drivers due to their weight, to name two. Is that basis enough to impugn them as a class?

If you want to interpret the fact that I don't like vehicles that pollute the air, block my view of the road ahead, blind me with their headlights and are more likely to kill me should they crash into me as some kind of reverse classism, go ahead. Personally, I don't think it is coincidental that people who buy cars that make them fee superior to others inevitably attritue hostility to those cars as jealousy.

You are also mistaken on one point of comparison. The Hummer H2 gets 10.7 mpg on the highway, which makes it worse than the worst car listed on

I'll give you this though, if you can build an SUV that gets the same milage as the average car, weighs no more than the average car and has so much ground clearance that I have a largely unobstructed view under it, I'll grant that it is as good a choice as the average car.
Interestingly enough, the H2 isn't classified as an SUV...TJeanloz
Dec 4, 2002 7:43 AM
The Hummer H2 is too heavy to be classified as an SUV by the EPA, hence, it is exempt from fuel economy rules. Your 10.7mpg number is anecdotal, not scientifically reported by the EPA. And I believe the source [Consumer Reports?] said it was "mostly on the highway". Regardless, I think we can all agree that it is a ridiculous vehicle, with some rural exceptions. But if somebody wants to drive and park it in downtown Boston, that's fine with me.

I understand, probably better than most, the arguements about SUVs being too big and too dangerous. That might be valid. What irritates me is the number of people who don't like SUVs for those reasons, and then trot out emissions as the reason for their dislike. SUV emissions are not, wholesale, worse than automobile emissions. It is a broad and unfair categorization to say that SUVs are worse for the environment than cars. Is it true that some SUVs emit more crap into the environment than some cars? Of course. Is the reverse also true? Of course.

How I see the arguement though, is that you want to restrict the choices of other people, because you feel that those choices are endangering you. Personally, I believe that those choices are more of an inconvenience than an endangerment, and it's not a compelling enough argument to restrict personal freedoms.
But it is the ultimate expression of the SUV mindset.czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 10:38 AM
"Build it big enough that you can skirt the laws intended to keep out roads safe and our air reasonably clean."

Anyway, this discussion started on emissions, so that is what I posted about. If it started from a clean slate, I would have put size and weight first on the list. The hazard that these vehicles pose to standard cars is my number one concern. All SUV driver stereotypes aside, the notion that a person would make himself safer by transferring his risk to strangers is repugnant to me. The distinction between danger and inconvenience is subjective. The statistics are not.

Finally, you are conveniently refusing to acknowledge any realistic comparison between cars and SUVs. Lumping 25 year old cars and those that are sold in statistically insignificant numbers is dishonest. Compare the average mileage of the new SUVs sold over a given period with the average emmisions of new cars in the same period, and you'd be hard pressed to claim that the group that averages 15 MPG (or whatever the number is) does not emit more than the group that averages 25.

If it will make you happier, I will concede that the RAV4EV is superior when it comes to mileage. It is also superior to nearly all SUVs and some cars with regards to weight, though it is still tall enough to obstruct people's view. If the the majority of SUVs that were being sold were RAV4EVs instead of Explorers and other mid to large size SUVs, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But again, you are hanging your argument on a statistically insignificant portion of the market.
Redefining the terms.chops
Dec 4, 2002 6:07 AM
"I suspect that there are far fewer soccer moms and urban poseurs driving around in large pick-ups."'ve never been to Texas have you? or any southern state for that matter...
Or most states in the West or Midwest as well (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 4, 2002 7:44 AM
If you're really concious of the environmentColnagoFE
Dec 3, 2002 2:15 PM
You take the bus and ride your bike most of the time regardless of what kind of vehicle you might own.
So you can't be trusted to be responsible?czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 2:41 PM
Should we have to pass a law to force SUV owners to moderate their impact on the environment?

Maybe so, if the SUV driving public rests their purchases on logic such as "I purchased an SUV specifically because I wanted a vehicle that I could put more than one bicycle in without removing wheels." Since when is removing a couple bicycle wheels a burden worthy of needlessly accelerating the degradation of the environment you are so anxious to go out and ride in? I can fit two (probably three) bikes in to a small 2 door and probably spend 15 extra min. doing so.

Hybrid SUVs will still be a hazard to normal sized cars and a burden on our roads.

And, you won't hear me say "great car, dude" when you pass me in your Porsche.
that's just scratching the surfaceFrith
Dec 3, 2002 1:39 PM
SUVs are reflective of a wastefull and polluting consumer attitude. I hate them, and think that justifying them over a more efficient means of transportation is ignorance. That said, they are symptomatic of a greater problem.
Hmm, two non-sequiturs makes a right?djg
Dec 3, 2002 1:49 PM
I'm not sure how many conclusions can be drawn from the data. Taking either your preface or the prior post as given, neither of your propositions follows.
More SUVs, Less smog; what is your conclusion? (nm)TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 1:58 PM
are you crediting SUV's with smog reduction?Frith
Dec 3, 2002 2:20 PM
No of course you aren't. At least, I hope, for your sake you're not. Smog reductions are as a result of policy change. This has had an effect despite the increase of SUVs. You can't logically conclude from this that SUVs have no effect on smog.

That would be like me saying that I have lost weight since i have started cycling, although I have in the same time increased my intake of chocolate cake. Thus chocalate cake must not be fattening.
As I already pointed out, I am not,TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 2:26 PM
But the data does not support the causality. Your chocolate cake example is a good one. It's not that chocolate cake must not be fattening, it's that you cannot determine the effect that the increased chocolate cake is having on your waistline, given that your exercise level has not been held constant. It's not that chocolate cake must not be fattening, but it might not be very fattening. So your chocolate cake eating could be contributing a very little fat to your diet, or a whole lot- depending on the effects of your exercise.

I think it would be fair to say that SUVs are not the cause of Los Angeles' smog problems, given that the smog pre-SUV trend was worse than it is post-SUV trend. In fact, how could you use this data to support the reverse, that SUVs are the primary cause of smog?
I'm still not sure what data are on the table here.djg
Dec 3, 2002 2:54 PM
If you want to suggest that, from just the twin facts of (a) greater number of SUVs and (b) decreased overall smog, we cannot argue that SUVs are the "primary cause" of smog, you may do so. That supposes, I gather, a sense of "primary cause" that means something like "a contributing factor of such a magnitude as to render all others irrelevant." (too small to measure? too many orders of magnitude smaller to represent on the same charts?)

If we mean, rather, something like "the single largest, and certainly meausurable factor" (not alleging here, just giving examples), then the conclusion does not necessarily follow. Certainly, it does not follow that SUV emissions are not significant contributors to urban smog; neither does it follow that there is no way to measure the contribution.

Now, it may be that you have some very good, if heretofore unknown, information--data, and what the heck, some actual theoretical underpinning as well as extrapolation--that the delta between SUV emissions and auto emissions couldn't possibly make a significant difference in smog levels in any urban area in the United States or anywhere else. If so, more power to you. Personally, I'd be glad to see it, although it's not the sort of thing I'd expect on this site. If not, I'm still not sure what point you are trying to make.
I agreeFrith
Dec 3, 2002 3:00 PM
100% with everything you just stated. To further the chocolate cake example. It is known that chocolate cake is more fattening than fruit with yogurt. The assumption can be made that I would lose even more weight by replacing the chocolate cake with the fruit and yogurt. It is known that SUVs produce more emmissions than a honda civic the assumption can be made that smog would further be reduced if people were conscious to avoid buying higher emmision vehicles.
I agreeTJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 3:25 PM
On the whole, you are correct, I don't dispute that SUVs contribute to smog, to a degree greater than automobiles. But I don't know, and can't tell, what that degree is, and whether it's anything major.
It's not rocket science.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 3:46 PM
Emmisions are related to fuel efficiency. The degree to which SUVs contribute to smog over what cars contribute can be estimated by comparing the average MPG of SUVs to cars sold during the same time period. No?
To a degree,TJeanloz
Dec 3, 2002 3:54 PM
It could be estimated if you knew how many of each make/model/year SUV was registered in a specific area. But even then, you'd have a nebulous number like "smog is .01ppm worse than it would otherwise be" and its difficult to say whether that's a big deal or not.
You always manage to take the science out of science.czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 4:33 PM
First, isn't that data readily available? Second, why should we assume that the number would be nebulous? I realize that you among the "all statistics are bunk" crowd, but I think there are a few epidemiologists who could work with whatever figure was derived.
Thanks. I was going to mention that but you stated it very well.Brooks
Dec 3, 2002 5:32 PM
Stop dodging the answer...NJRoad
Dec 3, 2002 2:17 PM