I almost thought it was a joke and then had to laugh when I read this article, that with a minor drop in gas prices Americans are flooded back to buying gas-guzzling SUVs. Do we have an attention span longer than a few weeks? For a nation that panics over four cases of Ebola I suppose not.
The drop in gasoline prices is small and undoubtedly will be short-lived. Can these people do math? Of course not, we don’t want to teach that any more since it’s too hard. For a brief time, due to bizarre circumstances and my desperation, I actually drove my parents’ monster Suburban. They’d outfitted it with an extra large gas tank since they hauled a trailer with it. But even back in those days the shock of paying $100 to fill the tank, once a week!, was just insane. The car, when I was lucky, made it all the way up to 14MPG.
I now have a Prius and a Subaru Forester. It’s fun to watch all the displays on the Prius and try to push the MPG above 54MPG. I drove the Prius to the football game in Lincoln and went just as fast as all the other cars in the traffic jam (even when I-80 isn’t busy the Prius can easily get me into speeding ticket range, plus even its sluggish acceleration is about the same as the Suburban since getting tons of metal moving even with a huge V8 is hardly supercar performance). And then there is Subie – a wonderfully nimble car with great AWD handling some of the worst roads and mud and snow I can throw at it, places I’d never have taken the Suburban. So even the SUV part of gas guzzlers can easily be achieved with a fantastic vehicle for twice the gas mileage.
So, Americans, let’s just figure it out. I recently took a 3000 mile vacation where I actually needed the Subie’s AWD. I averaged around 26MPG. A suburban which couldn’t even have gone where I took the Subie (actually no place I couldn’t have taken the Prius) would have averaged around 12MPG. So 3000/26 = 115 gallons of gas vs 3000/12 = 250. I probably averaged paying about $3.20/gallon, so something like $368. For the Suburban to match that price gas would have to drop to $1.47/gallon, something even the fracking in North Dakota isn’t going to accomplish. But let’s look at it another way, my vacation in the gas guzzler would have cost $800 and now that prices are down a bit, generously saying to $2.80 that would drop to $700 or a savings of $100. Terrific, I’d take it BUT my wonderful Subie did the trip for $432 less. So dumb gas guzzler buyer, you’re now saving $100 for a long vacation whereas I saved $432 – real genius, eh? And you want to race your gas guzzler against my Subie, on interstates, or ordinary roads, or especially on crummy roads – I’ll clean your clock in your tank vs my nimble machine.
So, why, stupid Americans are you buying such dumb vehicles.
And here’s the fun part. The gas price drop will be temporary. And when gas goes up to $4/gallon, tell me exactly how much fun you’ll have filling your tank. Oh, but you’ll just sell the gas guzzler – tell me how much you think anyone will want to pay for it when gas is expensive again. That Suburban I borrowed was in fine shape and was the deluxe model and had less than 30K miles – my mother sold it for $500!
So have fun in your expensive, clunky, sluggish gas guzzler and enjoy when gasoline prices soar again.
So why do Americans over and over get suckered into buying gas guzzlers? Having never seen any authoritative studies on the matter I can only guess, but what I have seen, as a silly part of our national character, esp. tied to our arrogant “exceptionalism” notion, is that we equate size of car and these days even more so blatant overuse of fuel as some expression of macho manhood, as well as ostentatious display of wealth. You really think 2+ tons of vehicle changes you? Fine, then blow your money on a good car, buy a supercar that actually can perform on all the gas it burns, buy an effective backwoods or offroad vehicle (actually good tires on 2WD will out perform your gas guzzling SUV with the tires you probably have on it). Buy a car that works and performs the mission you actually do in life.
I’m not impressed by your Hummer (an Audi i8, maybe). And your idiots who detune your diesels to do some coal rollin – real cool, I guess that makes you a real man and maybe makes you for your tiny shriveled little member.
Come on Americans, we’re supposed to be the people with some common sense – where is it!