Hummer Dingers

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Just a quick reminder, tomorrow is "National Protest Day Against Hummers"—GM's enormous SUV, that is. I think.

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  1. How is it to be celebrated?
    By driving my GEO Metro under the wheels of one?

  2. There is an interesting point in the press release. They want to ban advertising, in a way analogous to cigarettes, which is ridiculous. They want to have Hummers crash tested like all other vehicles, which seems more reasonable to me. Finally, and most interestingly, they want to eliminate the tax credit businesses get for buying Hummers, which seems like a great idea to me, although, ideally, there wouldn’t be a tax in the first place. I want to go to a protest with a sign that says “Advertising: YES! Subsidizing: NO!”

  3. OH, SUVs… for a minute there I was worried.

  4. Didn’t that Texas case settle all this? I guess they’re free to protest.

  5. I just hope a giant puppet doesn’t fall on one of them.

  6. not to worry, Brendan, all puppets have been crushed under some rock we imported from alabama.

    drf

  7. “…are a huge threat to children and other car passengers who share the road with the Brinks Truck-like vehicles. Yet GM is now flooding our TV and radio airwaves with ads for the vehicles, including ads that market the monsters directly to children.”

    GM must not have too savvy a marketing department if they’re marketing $60,000 vehicles “directly to children”. Must be those rich kids on the other side of town.

    I used to think “asshole” to myself ever time I saw a stupidly-large SUV on the highway with one occupant. Lately I’ve come to recognize my own hypocricy. I drive 60 miles per day in a car that gets 28 miles per gallon. I could move to the city where I work, buy a hummer, drive maybe 5 or 10 miles per day, and do far less harm to the environment than I do right now with my eco-friendly car. (‘course, one could move to where they work and buy a fuel efficient car and do even better…seven of one, half dozen the other))

  8. My biggest protest against the Hummer – their stupid commercial has forever ruined the song “Happy Jack” by the Who.

  9. I would like to protest the Hummer. Their too damned expensive and I can’t afford to get one. I’m thinking of creating a small business so maybe I can afford one with the tax write-off.

  10. I think I’ll take one for a test drive tomorrow.

  11. So which group, protestors or Hummer owners, have the real problem with penis size?

  12. Wait, wait, wait, these “vehicles are a threat to…” children, puppies, and little old ladies on fixed incomes, “…who share the road with the Brinks truck-like vehicles.”

    Umm, I assume that this group is also calling for Brinks trucks to be banned?

  13. Keep this up and by 2007, the only vehicles you’ll see populating the road will be huge 18-wheelers, police cruisers, and lotsa little Yugos (tiny motorized lawn mowers) scurrying around the interstates.

    Elvis, where are you when we need ya?

  14. (‘course, one could move to where they work and buy a fuel efficient car and do even better…seven of one, half dozen the other))

    Posted by Joe2 at November 14, 2003 05:03 PM

    Joe2,
    How ’bout removing yourself down here to the ‘hood and walking to woik?
    The only downside is the muffler of my neglected Geo Metro is rusting to beat the band.
    Fie on Hummers and/or hum on fires. Whichever comes foist.

  15. ” I could move to the city where I work, buy a hummer, drive maybe 5 or 10 miles per day, and do far less harm to the environment than I do right now with my eco-friendly car. ”

    Joe2,
    Hold it! What has the environment ever done for you? I mean, really.

    Walking to woik, however is giving me gams to die for.

    Your choice.

  16. Living downtown and walking to work rules! Imagine a commute that clears your head instead of stressing you out. It’s also nice to cross the street in front of jammed up cars.

    Lesley, Brinks trucks serve a purpose. Although, I suppose over-compensation can be considered a purpose.

  17. “Brinks trucks serve a purpose.”

    Well, sure they do. As do 18-wheelers. And the purpose of hummers is for hauling lots of stuff, off-roading, or….”Just cuz they’re cool.” Why isn’t “being a status symbol” a purpose? A lot of people complain that you can’t see over or around SUVs very easily. But you can’t see over or around trucks, vans, or 18 wheelers either. And there are just SO MANY vans, trucks, semis, and yes, Brinks trucks, on the road, that it’s difficult for me to be convinced that it’s ONLY SUV’s that we need to complain about/ban. The dislike of SUVs has always struck me as being primarily the result of class envy. They are disliked because they are a status symbol of a class/personality that many of us don’t like much.

    For the record: I drive a 10 year old 2 door Escort that I bought for $4000. My vehicle of choice, if I could afford it, would be a 4WD station wagon.

  18. Two big differences between SUV and semi-truck drivers are: training and licensing. IIRC, there’s a slang term for rented Ryder trucks, something like “accidents waiting to happen.” Most people aren’t prepared to drive things like Ryder or UHaul trucks, but at least they’re aware of their shortcomings.

    However, with SUVs the idiots who drive them think of them like cars, and drive them the same way. Plus, most drivers of fairy, er, luxury SUVs are usually self-absorbed yuppies.

    As for the protest, there’s a big difference between asking for more than you want and accepting what you want as a “compromise,” and making foolish demands that make you look like the fools you are.

    As for the SUV drivers, at least make them take extra training and get a higher class of license than car drivers.

  19. You can’t haul very much in a Hummer; they’re very poorly designed.

    status symbols…cuz they’re cool…it’s fooking appliance for chrissakes. Projecting that kind of meaning onto a vehicle is pathetic, and doing it to one that is so destructive (fuel efficiency, accident hazard, visibility blocker, rollover tendency (as keeps happening in Iraq), parking space encroacher, turning lane blocker) deserves only mockery.

  20. T-Ch:

    I’m with you. The SUV protestors are dolts, the tax gimme insane, but driving one of these things on the highway is as bright as taking a Lamborghini Countach down a creek bed. Dumb, dumb, expensive, and dumb.

  21. “My biggest protest against the Hummer – their stupid commercial has forever ruined the song “Happy Jack” by the Who.”

    Oh please. As much as love the Who, they’d sell parts of Keith Moon if he hadn’t decomposed two decades ago.

    – Josh

  22. Personally, I like my SUV. I drive a ’93 Wrangler… live axles back and front, leaf springs, etc.. but that just means I can work on it easily. I can nearly take it apart and put it back together, emissions parts and all… but there’s no way I could do the same with any of those tiny front-wheel drive cars now. On a six-cylinder chrysler, you have to take the damn intake manifold off just to change the rear bank of spark plugs. Not my style…

  23. I don’t know, when I have one of those giant cars tailgating me and blinding me with those moosehead-high headlights, I feel like taking out my grenade rocket-launcher and giving them a lesson in safe driving distances.

  24. joe writes, re: hummer: “status symbols…cuz they’re cool…it’s fooking appliance for chrissakes.”

    It’s not even an appliance, it’s a haute couture frock. Ridiculously overpriced, sold in limited quantities, not very practical, and meant entirely to impress people.

    Even more so with the H2, which lacks the actual off-road advantages of the actual Hummer.

    What I don’t understand is the town near here, North Haven, which has an H2 police vehicle. Nice waste of taxpayer money, that. Even if they needed an SUV they could have found one that didn’t have its price so inflated. Or they could have bought the pickup the H2 is based on, put a utility thing in the bed, or a cap, and had a far more useful vehicle with the same capabilities.

  25. Mock them all you want if it makes you feel better about yourself, just don’t try to ban them.

  26. It ain’t all about envy. I detest SUVs and I could afford to buy any one I wanted.

    My biggest beef is just that they suck as automobiles. It’s just been in the last few years that those things have gotten anything near modern automotive technology. The Ford SUVs in 2000 were essentially the same trucks they were selling in 1950 with updated skins (Live rear axle, rear drum brakes, pushrod engines, leaf springs, open differentials, etc.) If people weren’t buying these station wagons on truck chassis, automakers would spend their development money elsewhere. Maybe we could’ve had VVT for the masses by now…

  27. “when I have one of those giant cars tailgating me and blinding me with those moosehead-high headlights”

    In this situation, you’re supposed to flip your rearview mirror and take your foot off the gas. As soon as the thing changes lanes, you go back to normal speed.

    My only complaint about these SUVs (and this applies to many pick-ups and some high-end sedans) is that their lights are way too bright. It hurts my eyes… well, it makes my vision get blurry anyway. When I drive at night, I flip my rear-view mirror and sometimes point my side mirrors down so I don’t get blinded by the reflection of those damned lights. Please, anyone with these blinding lights… find a way to turn them down; otherwise, one of these days, I might sideswipe you after I’ve been binded by the light.

  28. Andy, you’re asking unreasonable jackasses to be reasonable. We can only take satisfaction in knowing that their souls are doomed to an eternity of sleep interrupted by very bright headlights.

  29. I don’t understand the negative externalities. On what basis do we argue that it is the fault of the heavy vehicle that it will impart more momentum to a smaller vehicle? Why aren’t we hearing about the engineering inadequacies of small cars?

    I mean, really. The government has told us that a car without an air bag is too dangerous for us to choose to drive. Since they are protecting our interests, shouldn’t they be arguing for more weight to help survivability in every collision?

    SUV drivers already have to pay for more gas and the associated gasoline taxes.

    Which externalities are we talking about?

  30. Jason, just for starters, the pump price of gasoline is far below the social cost. Conservative estimates of the latter run in the $3-4 per gallon range, IIRC. This means that 1) all consumers of gas do not bear the full cost of their consumption, and, more to the point, 2) consumers of fuel-inefficient vehicles do not bear the full cost difference between their cars and more efficient ones.

    On the issue of accidents, etc., Keith Bradsher’s book documents how insurance rates for SUV’s tend to be artificially deflated below those rates that would be justified by the true risks of driving SUV’s.

  31. Could you please detail these “social costs?” There is no way to know if the number you cite is accurate unless we know what factors the people doing the study included as “social costs.” Believe it or not, advocacy groups have been known to design studies in such a way as to inflate numbers to advance their cause. I’m sure you’re shocked to hear that.

  32. Brendan, just for starters, here’s a link to a good summary of several estimates of the externality costs, per gallon, of gasoline consumption. It also summarizes the principle costs and gives references to the sources of each estimate. Note that the lowest estimates given put these costs at around $3 per gallon, which means that my previous claim that the total social cost of gas (including pump price) of $3-4 per gallon is, indeed, conservative.

    Here is the URL for the summary:

    http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/articles/subsidies.asp

  33. I own and occaisionally drive a full size truck. I use it several times a week and find that I can do things that I can’t with my Toyota Corolla. If you do not need an SUV or a truck don’t get one, but don’t assume that everyone has the same lifestyle that you do. You sound like a complete idiot when making those “Ban ’em” kind of comments on a libertarian web site.

  34. I don’t see “ban em” anywhere, just opining about their value and utility. You do know the difference, right?

  35. I’m with ratherworried on this one. Sure sounds like a lot of animosity towards anything that is capable of hauling plywood here.

    I can usually be found in my Toyota Tacoma getting 27 mpg on the way to work. However towing the Jeep up to the trailhead for a weekend of wheeling is best left to the full sized 4×4 van that gets 9 mpg. Put the dirt bikes in the back, hook up the Jeep and away we go. Not a job for the Toyota. The van is also great for a lot of other jobs including hauling way more than the Toyota ever could, a place to sleep etc.

    As a Jeep guy I am supposed to have a natural distain for ho hums. And to a certain extent I do. I’m certain I could put a front wheel of my trail rig onto the hood of a ho hum if given the opportunity. Jeepers all seem to hate these things “all that money and it still wont go anywhere”. I have to ask how much of this animosity is due to someone having a toy that you don’t have.

    In other news, it is interesting as someone who drives both large and small, how differently you get treated in traffic. Many times I wish I were in the van so that the asshole wouldn’t have a choice but to let me merge. Maybe this isn’t true everywhere, but in the bay area, it seems like you need a big car so you don’t get bullied in traffic. And at the same time I watch people driving huge cars that are oblivious to the fact that they are in a 3-ton vehicle and need to adjust to that responsibility.

    SUV’s have a purpose. It’s a shame that our system is set up so that by having separate vehicles with definite purposes you get hammered so hard financially. Both Insurance and registration are killers. I would drive the same amount if I had one car instead of five. But having five registration bills and five times the insurance for cars that are mostly parked sucks. One more way the gubbiment makes being anything other than “normal” hard and costly

    Mudflap

  36. The basic problem with SUV’s is that they create sizable negative externalities. The goal of protests should be, and to a large extent is, to require that SUV owners bear those costs, as is desireable with any negative externalities. There’s nothing objectionable about that goal.

  37. If you people had half a brain you might get the hell out of the way when you see a real Hummer bearing down on you and you might not jump out in front of one when you think with that missing half of your brain that you can actually out run it only to come to the realization when and if you wake up that the thing is parked on top of your car. Remember folks they do not start fast and they do not stop fast so pay attention because I drive mine after being hit in my BMW by some drunken fool that ran through a stop light and creamed my car as well as others.

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