Elisabeth "Sport Util" Parker on why SUVs SUCK:

I hate them because they're huge, they hog up gas, they pollute, and since they keep other drivers from being able to see what's on the road ahead of them, SUVs are also dangerous. In my experience, most people who own them can't drive the things. Here in California, you're always seeing some nervous-looking middle-aged woman driving the thing ten miles under the speed limit, periodically hitting the brakes for no discernible reason, and talking in a cellular phone. She's probably talking to her psychiatrist about how nervous driving that thing makes her. But really, it shouldn't be legal for anyone to drive something that large without having to get a special license the way truck drivers and motorcyclists do.

And also, the idea of people gleefully trampling flora and fauna in their quest for adventure really disgusts me. I know that SUVs are ideal for rural areas and dirt roads. But the fact is, a lot of people drive *off* the road and crush everything in their path. If they were hiking, they'd probably think twice about how they treat the environment. But the invulnerable loftiness of an enormous vehicle somehow enables people to be less accountable and more remote.

I also believe that cars are becoming increasingly problematic, and that many urban and suburban areas are approaching the point where they just can't handle the amount of traffic. And I question many of the assumptions of car culture in general (I've read a lot of Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan). I'm not saying that no one should ever drive an SUV. But in a time when society should be strongly considering alternative forms of transportation, they're buying more cars and bigger cars instead. And I just find it incredibly selfish.

When growing up in New York, I remember how polluted the air and water was. At certain beaches, or during certain tides, you couldn't even go swimming. When visiting relatives in Los Angeles, I remember how the smog hung heavily over the area like a miasmic, malevolent cloud. I also remember the gas crisis in the 70's. Fortunately, Dad took the train to work and we didn't drive much, but the gas lines and the implications of dependence on foreign oil (or any oil) left a lasting impression. Things have gotten a lot better now. But that's because of more regulation, energy efficiency, and less pollution -- including 15 years of people driving small, fuel-efficient cars. I just don't understand how people can forget so quickly.

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