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Old 2007-01-30, 12:30 AM   #16
JusticeZero
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No, because my argument is that it isn't SUV owners that are the problem. Trying to pin the blame on SUV owners - who are essentially normal americans who need a large capacity vehicle for their family etc. and are sold an SUV - is just trying to find a convenient scapegoat in order to avoid having to actually work at the core problem itself.

If you really wanted to help, you'd quit going on about SUV's and lobby for better mass transit, to repeal parking minimums, and for better sidewalks and bicycle awareness.
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Old 2007-01-30, 12:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ivan
Oh, the suspense is killing me!
Tell me, what happened next?!
The next part...is up to you.
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Old 2007-01-30, 12:40 AM   #18
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Just a picture of a human impact. This is northern Madagascar seen from the Space Shuttle. The red in the picture is eroded soils from deforested areas choking the river mouth. The deforesteation is driven be economic demand. See those nice cheap "hardwood" (read tropical hardwood) chairs and tables at Walmart and Target? Think Indonesia, the Philippines, and Madagascar...

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Old 2007-01-30, 02:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ThisGuyIKnow
People drive SUVs because they've been programed as consumers to think SUV = cool/better/what I need. In reality it's not what they need it's what they think they want.
You guys are both right. But I think ThisGuy is a little bit righter. I grew up around the American auto industry in Detroit. My dad is an automotive engineer and I've watched developments over the last 30 years or so from the inside and the outside.

The automakers don't tell the public what kinds of cars to want. It may look that way to a certain degree, and new car model development cycles take several years, but the car companies are in business to try to outsell each other. That means making the cars people want. That is why Porsche, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes and a ton of other companies are making SUVs for the American market that would not have existed otherwise.

Though part of the attraction to larger vehicles is about safety, that's not the major driving factor. That factor is style, and style has been the major force dictating the cars Americans have bought since the 1940s if not earlier. If Americans wanted station wagons, believe me they'd still be on the market. Nobody wants them because they aren't cool. The minivan has replaced the station wagon as the "useful vehicle of uncoolness" for those few people who didn't buy SUVs. Small station wagon/hatchbacks are still popular here, though, for a minority of people who put fuel economy before style, or like ease of parking.

The ISTEA or other federal rules regarding fuel economy quotas have definitely encouraged the switch to SUVs, but you can't sell the public vehicles they don't want. I believe there is supposed to be a "rebalancing" of those regulations in the near future, but you many know more about that than me. The "technical" differences between cars and trucks have been made meaningless by those rules and the car companies' bending them, so they need to be redrafted.

But ThisGuy says we've been programmed to want them. That's called marketing. It's hard to say the exact source of certain marketing concepts, but in this case it's probably enough to say that the ball is rolling, and now the market wants their SUVs. It will be really cool if Hybrids or other alternative-fuel vehicles replace SUVs as the new "cool." All it will take is continued rising gas prices...

Stepping to the side of the topic for a second: The thing that makes SUVs attractive to American car buyers has something to do with the American press' attraction to mountain unicycling. We want to be perceived as "extreme" or rugged.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobbogonist
We as in us, or we as in you?
Just to get in a response from me, yes I mean us as in homo sapiens. as a group. Some of us are way greener than others; you seem to be a great role model in this respect, but there are others who would rather be lazy, even if it means refusing to acknowledge global warming even when their living room is flooding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan
Oh, the suspense is killing me!

Tell me, what happened next?!
You have to buy the next book to find out. And, uh, Dr. Seuss is dead so that could be a problem. Allow me to extrapolate: The new trees were cut down by poor poachers to feed their families. And then there were no more seeds.
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Old 2007-01-30, 04:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
If Americans wanted station wagons, believe me they'd still be on the market. Nobody wants them because they aren't cool. The minivan has replaced the station wagon as the "useful vehicle of uncoolness" for those few people who didn't buy SUVs.
People don't go looking saying "I need a station wagon". They say "I have a big family and I need something with a bunch of seats and cargo room.." Once upon a time, that meant a station wagon. But now, if you give those requirements to the dealer, they point you toward an SUV. Then they point you at *their* SUV because it's cool and "extreme" and badass and you can pretend you're still hardcore while there's an argument between a bunch of children behind you.

Quote:
you can't sell the public vehicles they don't want.
Also a reason why sneering at car companies for making SUV's is silly.

It's a lot like bicycle helmets. If you see a lot of bicycles and you want to be seen as supporting safety for them, there's two routes you can take - you can try to increase awareness of bicycles, help provide better facilities, ration parking, and make numerous adjustments in public life to encourage bicycling... or you can slap out a law to require bicyclists to wear helmets. One is solving the problem, the other is warding off a straw man scapegoat of just enough effectiveness to be able to claim that you are taking action.
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Old 2007-01-30, 05:28 AM   #21
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You just disproved your point. You said they give the requirements to the dealer and the dealer points them to the SUV. So it is the dealer, who is a representative of the manufacturer, who is saying, "Buy an SUV".

The other thing is that it's not just families that are buying SUVs. I have no statistics but I know many people who drive SUVs and rarely have more than just themselves in the car. They aren't buying for any actual practicality or necessity they buy because of the perception it has in society. That perception is vastly created through marketing.

You don't see Ads on TV for subcompacts.
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Old 2007-01-30, 05:39 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisGuyIKnow
You just disproved your point. You said they give the requirements to the dealer and the dealer points them to the SUV. So it is the dealer, who is a representative of the manufacturer, who is saying, "Buy an SUV".

The other thing is that it's not just families that are buying SUVs. I have no statistics but I know many people who drive SUVs and rarely have more than just themselves in the car. They aren't buying for any actual practicality or necessity they buy because of the perception it has in society. That perception is vastly created through marketing.

You don't see Ads on TV for subcompacts.
I own and drive an SUV, albeit a "mini" SUV, and I am the only person in it 95% of the time. Why do I own it? I am a Piano technician and I absolutely require the space afforded in my Honda CRV for obvious reasons; well, maybe not obvious to all. I regularly pick up & deliver piano actions, various parts and supplies, and of course, my tools and several unis fit in there nicely too! So people own SUV's for more more practical reasons than you might think. It is indeed the modern day replacement for the "sation wagon". If I didn't need the extra space, I'd own a 'Vett!
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Old 2007-01-30, 05:53 AM   #23
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Ill just get a van with the back seat taken out. =p
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Old 2007-01-30, 06:08 AM   #24
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This thread is titled with a misleading statement.
Quote:
Humans have such a large impact on the environment, that there is no simple way to reverse what we're doing to the earth.
The Earth has survived hundreds of millions of years, through ages of extreme heat and ice. It has seen the mass extinction of animal and plant species, major continental shifts and changes in ocean levels. Mountains have exploded, glaciers and rivers have torn through hundreds of miles of rock, rain and tides have eroded cliffs, hills and beaches... and yet the Earth manages to support an incredibly complex eco-system in which millions of species of flora and fauna co-exist.

Do you really believe that anything we do as humans could have any lasting impact on the Earth? That's mighty egotistical of us.

If you step back and look at history from an astronomical perspective (i.e. don't look back 100 years but look back 100,000 years), mankind has been around for but a tiny fraction of the Earth's lifetime. When we're snuffed out as a species, some traces of our existence may be preserved in the Earth's crust as fossils, but for the most part our influences on this planet will disappear in a very short amount of time.

The Earth has many, many systems in place that work to recycle and renew its existence. Water is evaporated, transported through the atmosphere, and it precipitates elsewhere, cleaning the air and the soil in the process. Rock is subducted, lava flows in the mantle, then it shoots out of a volcano, forming new land. Living matter decomposes into soil, which gives life to other living organisms.

Just after mankind disappears, the Earth will scrub itself clean of our presence. Whatever "impact" we're making right now is actually quite insignificant. If anything is rather fragile, it's mankind, not the Earth.
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Old 2007-01-30, 06:15 AM   #25
johnfoss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeZero
People don't go looking saying "I need a station wagon". They say "I have a big family and I need something with a bunch of seats and cargo room.."
That would be a minivan. Most SUVs don't have as many seats. But it's true, though I grew up riding around in the back of them, most people didn't ever want to "need" a station wagon!

Quote:
Once upon a time, that meant a station wagon. But now, if you give those requirements to the dealer, they point you toward an SUV.
Yes they do, though they should also be pointing you toward the minivan. But I think there are two factors at work there. On average, the dealer already knows the SUVs are more popular than the minivans so he probably starts there. Also there is probably more margin in SUVs, so probably a bigger commission for Mr. Salesman.

It sucks to buy a car that's popular, like my Sienna was when it was new. We had to either pay retail, or wait several months! The lower-rated minivans are easier to get.

Yeah, pretending to be hardcore while the kids scream, or watch DVDs in the back! You know you're probably never going to take the thing off road...

Quote:
Also a reason why sneering at car companies for making SUV's is silly.
I hope I didn't give that impression. Most of my sneering is reserved for people who don't know why they want SUVs. Usually when I ask it boils down to having more room. They hate finding out my Sienna has more room in it than a Ford Expedition.

And no, I'm not going to take any bait on a totally-unrelated helmet topic!

For MuniAddict:
Your CRV sounds like a good choice for the work you do. You need some cargo space, but not too much. My Sienna is bigger than I need most of the time (I used to travel with loads of unicycles more often), and I know how much air I have to push out of the way when driving it. But it's still *extremely* handy when you have seven people going somewhere, even with unicycles!
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Old 2007-01-30, 06:20 AM   #26
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I have to give some serious props to maestro8 for posting what I would've posted so that I didn't have to.
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Old 2007-01-30, 07:19 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro8
Do you really believe that anything we do as humans could have any lasting impact on the Earth? That's mighty egotistical of us.
I don't think we really care about the Earth that much. We're worried about making the Earth a less hospitable place for us humans. Or in other words, we have a much lower tolerance for Earth-changing events than the Earth does.

Quote:
When we're snuffed out as a species, some traces of our existence may be preserved in the Earth's crust as fossils...
And styrofoam!
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Old 2007-01-30, 03:12 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by johnfoss
And styrofoam!
And twinkies....
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Old 2007-01-31, 02:07 AM   #29
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Today I got my monthly copy of Prosper Magazine, a local (Sacramento) business-related pub. In it was a great article where a guy humorously confesses how much he loves his fat, gas-guzzling SUV, and how much he hates himself for it.

Excerpts:
"Switching from an average new car to a 13 mpg SUV for a year wastes more energy than leaving a refrigerator door open for six years, a bathroom light burning for 30 years, or a color TV turned on for 28 years."

"And then there's me. And my well meaning but image-conscious wife who admitted that despite the offense to her sensibility, that more efficient minivan that we could have scored for $30,000 less is just, well, so dorky. After all, it's just so cool to look lik a "baller" rolling around town in a ride everyone wants to own.
"And that's really the problem, isn't it? We're really a horribly shallow bunch."

Just wanted to share that, as it kind of reflects what we've been saying here in the last few days.

Oh damn. After hand-typing all that, I thought I'd provide a link to the mag, and there the article was! Enjoy. Note: I wouldn't take those numbers as factual, as this is a humor piece.
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Old 2007-02-02, 01:45 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
I don't think we really care about the Earth that much. We're worried about making the Earth a less hospitable place for us humans. Or in other words, we have a much lower tolerance for Earth-changing events than the Earth does.


And styrofoam!
Right!

It's as if we keep hoping it's disposable or replaceable, and acting as if it were, too.
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