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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

WEEKLY Q: SUV drivers are people too

SUVs & 4x4s in urban areas are pointless. No argument from me there. MPVs (Multi-Person Vehicles i.e. People Carriers) are clearly much better in terms of cost, efficiency and safety.

However there was an interesting motoring editorial by David Williams in London's Evening Standard on June 16 about how the targeting of 4x4s and SUVs is actually not a good idea. And I agree with his logic enough to throw it open for debate.

The reason is that whilst we are focusing solely on 4x4s and SUVs all other motorists are not being engaged with about their own driving impact on the environment. And lets face it the majority do not own 4x4s or SUVs.

I suspect that it might even achieve the reverse in non SUV and 4x4 drivers in that they probably think 'Oh well I do not drive an SUV or 4x4 so I am already doing my bit for the environment'.

The larger green issue at the heart of the matter is not WHAT people drive and WHERE it is WHY and WHEN.

We need to get everyone thinking about why they drive and how often and get them looking for alternatives. We need to all think about our own personal modes of transport for the sake of our environment and our health. We need to encourage people to take less trips by car and walk/cycle more. We need to encourage people to look at alternative vehicles and fuels i.e. hybrids, electric vehicles and biodiesel.

I suggest that the above positive goals will make much more of a green impact than just demonising and alienating a minority.




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At 10:32 PM, Blogger Beka said...

This is a very excellent point you have illustrated here. I agree wholeheartedly that finger pointing at SUV drivers needs to stop because what they drive isn't the issue.

I bought as economical a car as I could afford recently. (2006 Chevy Cobalt, 30mpg) My main problem with the whole driving thing is that I live in a very rural area, accessed only by backroads which are treacherous in a car, let alone for any brave soul that wants to walk on foot or ride a bike along them. Add ignorant drivers who insist on going 60mph everywhere they's just a recipe for disaster, really.

When I am in more urban areas I park in a central location and walk whenever possible. Redneck engineering and poor planning make it hard for a girl to simply do her part without moving to another city.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, it's when to drive, not just "what" you drive that is key.

Take a look at Should we be complaining about petrol prices on to see the discussion that we've been having along these lines.

Although I agree with some of the comments of Beka, a car that gets 30mph is poor..... I can only presume you're in the US and options are limited because in the UK a large number of cars (even family cars) are much more efficient than that.

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live 50 miles out in the bush in the back woods of British Columbia. We travel over decommissioned logging roads. We only use our vehicle once or twice a month to get to town and back for necessary supplies. We require a 4x4 for steep climbs and dirt roads, ice and washouts... There is no one to bail us out if we get into trouble on the road and the dead of winter is a bad time to break down in a 'econocar' in the middle of nowhere. So, yes, lets look at things a little more realistically. For instance how many econo- car drivers use a clothes dryer a few times a week or more... we dry our clothes on a clothesline. 'stuff like that.
K, that's my rant. Thanks for the opportunity Al.
~ Nicola

At 9:48 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Nicole

See that is why being judgemental is more often than not counter-productive. Great point and well made.




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