Monday, August 13, 2007

I Drive an SUV

I drive an SUV. I have for most of my adult life. I have had many jobs where I've needed to carry a lot of stuff around and needed it to stay dry. My SUV gets pretty crappy mileage. Lately, with gas prices so high, I have chosen to not take certain trips in order to save gas. I do care about the environment and the earth, but those decisions have been economical, not green.

I like my Chevy Tahoe. It's been good to me. What I don't like is people blaming me for the 100 degree temperatures we've been having lately in Nashville. That's just ridiculous. Save your smug, sarcastic, holier-than-thou, we're-killing-the-planet-yet-you-still-drive-an-SUV crap for someone else. Those comments are falling on deaf ears here. If I was in the market for a new car, I would get an SUV. If there was one available that ran on tap water, you better believe I'd buy it. But there isn't so I can't. So, until then, I'll continue to get shitty mileage.

So, to all the people who are disgusted by my vehicle choice, let's get a little perspective, shall we?

Let's talk about trucks. Eighteen wheelers, box trucks, milk trucks, refrigerated trucks. There are millions of them, criss-crossing the planet, carrying goods from factories to consumers every day. What kind of mileage do they get? I bet my Tahoe does better. Do you have anything in your house that wasn't made locally? How do you think it got here? That couch you're sitting on? It was made in North Carolina. It had to get here somehow. You're killing the planet.

Speaking of moving goods to consumers, what about container ships? You ever run the mind-bogglingly huge maze of piers on a ship in Los Angeles Harbor or Hong Kong? I have. You wouldn't believe how many container ships are chugging around the world's oceans right now. They burn millions of gallons of fuel every year. How did that IKEA desk get from Sweden to your place? Do you have anything in your house made in China? I bet you do, you naughty little judgmental person, you. You're killing the planet, yet you insist on cranking up your Dave Matthews through a Japanese tuner and Korean-made speakers.

Take a cruise, kill the planet. You can't get 2500 people from Miami to St. Thomas to San Juan to Nassau and back on wishes and unicorns, now can you? Especially if they want to travel in air-conditioned comfort and eat food that has been cooked in ovens. The hot tub on Lido Deck is hot because it runs on electricity which is created on board by generators that burn fuel to keep that little floating city just chock full of electricity.

Go water skiing, kill the planet. Boats get notoriously bad mileage. I was flying into Baltimore last week and saw hundreds of pleasure boats tooling around the bay. A bunch of inconsiderate bastards, I tell you. I have a friend who is a Yacht captain in Ft. Lauderdale. You think $80 to fill up a Tahoe is bad, every time his boss wants to go somewhere, he has to fuel up to the tune of thousands of dollars. The bigger boats don't measure in miles per gallon, but gallons per mile. A three-hour tour indeed.

Speaking of flying, what about airplanes? They too, burn thousands of gallons of fuel. If you've been a passenger on a plane, you're killing the planet. Especially if you are selfish enough to take a pleasure trip, like a vacation. Go see granny in Des Moines for Thanksgiving, kill the planet. And don't get me started on FedEx. If someone ships a package from San Fransisco to Seattle, chances are it flies to Memphis and back out. All you selfish bastards who absolutely positively have to have something delivered over night are killing the planet.

Let's not leave out about the military. Not just our military and the Iraq war., but all worldwide military forces. How fuel efficient are tanks and Humvees and armored vehicles? And think about all the military forces all over the world running training and exercises every day. You think an aircraft carrier loaded with 5000 soldiers and 50 jet fighters doesn't burn a little fuel, constantly chugging around the oceans of the world? Don't forget the Destroyers and Battleships and Escorts and Frigates. And then you have those jet fighters, Apaches, Blackhawks and C-130s. How much fuel is pissed away when there is a fly-over at a football game? Support the NFL, kill the planet.

How much fuel does a TV station piss away covering drive-time traffic or a low-speed car chase with a helicopter? Don't forget about heavy machinery like cranes, bulldozers, backhoes and cement trucks. Those things drink fuel like water. If you work in a multi-story building, or walk on a sidewalk, you're killing the planet. I read an article that said your lawn mower emits more greenhouse gases per gallon of gas than your car. How many of you who sneer at me and my SUV cut your grass?

I do what I can. I have cut my electric consumption at home in half from last summer to this summer. I would like to see a world that didn't use fossil fuels for energy. Solar, wind, cold fusion -- bring it on. When someone invents an alternative to our dependency on both transportation and oil, I'll be first to get on board. But until then, you are not going to get me to feel responsible for the fact that it was 102 in the shade yesterday. It reminds me of someone who has a closet full of leather belts and shoes and jackets, but is a vegetarian because eating meat is cruel to animals.

Next time you go to a movie theater to watch the latest Lord of the Rings saga, think about how much fuel was burned from start to finish to make that movie. All the trucks, cars, trailers, generators, helicopters and airline flights from Hollywood to Auckland and back. All those resources pissed away on a freaking movie. You blame my Tahoe for the heat. I blame Tolkien.


At 11:31 AM , Anonymous Ivy said...

I've always given people hell for driving SUVs, not really because I'm disgusted by it, but because I like to harass people.

This afternoon, I'm going to go look at, gasp! SUVs. My 3 kids are beginning not to fit into my tiny Honda Accord. Sniff.

At 11:41 AM , Blogger Kate O' said...

SUV arguments aside, this is a great post on extending our concept of environmentalism.

At 5:53 PM , Blogger Tman said...

What a lot people don't really seem to understand is the math behind the whole "conservation" movement. I'm not sayin this so people will stop using halogen lightbulbs, but conservationism in terms of energy is whatr one would call the "low hanging fruit" in terms of what can be done to lessen energy consumption. In the US we have been on a conservation kick since the 70's, and we've pretty much picked that tree dry.

Again I say this not to discourage people from conserving energy, but to make people realize that conservation will not make a small dent in our energy usage overall.
For further explanation, I suggest this essay-

So yeah, NK, get another Tahoe, no biggie.

At 12:16 PM , Blogger Exador said...

When I learned about the 24-7-365 gas flares off Nigeria, I quit worrying about my gas mileage.

The flares burn hundreds of feet in the air, all year round. They can be seen on Google Earth.


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