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Drivers of SUVs ignore gas cost
Auto dealerships don't feel a change

By MARY LOU PICKEL
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/19/04

Otha Robinson really likes his seven-passenger Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle. Gasoline prices are hovering near record highs, but he's not worried ? yet.

"I like the room and I got a lot of friends," Robinson explained as he pumped gas at a QuikTrip in Decatur for $1.68 per gallon.

Robinson, 32, says it takes $40 to $50 to fill the tank these days. His Friday purchase was only $26.87 because he still had some fuel in the tank.

Nearby, Kathy Holt of Lithonia pumped gas into a GMC Yukon. She said she could never leave it for a smaller vehicle.

"I have to have an SUV," she said. Her husband uses it for his landscaping business, and now she's used to it.

Car dealers say they see no dampening of metro Atlanta's love affair with SUVs amid rising gas prices. A vehicle purchase is a lifestyle decision, they say. Buying trends are not born, and do not die, based on what people believe are temporary fluctuations in gas prices.

"I have not run into a lot of fuel-conscious people," said George Underwood, part-owner and general manager of Lou Sobh Ford on Scott Boulevard. "I think that people are certain that prices are going to come down, because they've fluctuated in the past."

Indeed, current prices are about what they were a year ago, after a dip. But the recent run-up is forecast to last well into the spring and summer, rather than quickly subsiding. That could test the resolve of people who drive lots of miles in large vehicles.

Underwood sells a variety of SUVs, including Expeditions, Explorers and the enormous Ford Excursion, which has a 44-gallon gas tank and gets about 10 miles a gallon in combined city and highway driving, according to Consumer Reports magazine. At today's prices, it costs about $73 to fill up an Excursion.

Business this winter was the worst it's been in 10 years, Underwood said, but March has been a bright spot. On Friday, Ford came out with a $1,000 rebate on the Expedition.

At Bill Heard Chevrolet in Kennesaw, sales manager Michael Johnson says SUV sales are steady. "The Atlanta area [has] the lowest gas prices in the country, so that's the good thing about it," he said.

The popular Chevrolet Tahoe has a 26-gallon tank and costs about $43 to fill up. The Tahoe gets about 16 miles per gallon in mixed driving.

CarMax, a chain of used-vehicle dealerships, hasn't seen any change in buying patterns either, said company spokeswoman Lisa Van Riper. The SUV is still a strong seller there.

"What we have found is that people buy the SUVs because they could be adding to their family or they could have a career where they need some extra space in their car," Van Riper said.

But some people are, in fact, thinking about gasoline costs at the pump.

Robinson, the Expedition driver who filled up Friday in Decatur, said he'll consider changing his behavior if gas hits $1.80 per gallon. "I'd either get rid of it or carpool."

Full Article Here

 

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I cannot help but overlook a subtle message in the above article. I'm betting that the environmental crowd is praying that higher gas prices will decimate SUV and large truck sales. The thing that irritates me about that is rather than embracing technology (DOD, hybrids, and [eventually] hydrogen power), the environmental crowd supports regressive measures that will result in our driving tiny, underpowered cars, which is fine, if that's what you want. However, the gas-guzzling SUV/big truck debate is a bit more complex than people merely wanting to drive large vehicles. As mentioned in the above article, many people depend on their "gas hogs" for their livelihood. My guess is there is a way to have your cake and eat it, too: I believe that eventually we will possess the ability to power all vehicles with a relatively minimal impact on the environment. Of course, I'm impatient and what that day to be now, but it will take time.
 

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Well, if that guy was living in Calif., he would have sold the SUV by now. Gas is way over $2/gal. I bet $3 by Memorial day. If you want to buy an SUV, wait till summer. There should be some good rebates by then.

I don't feel for most of these people. 90% don't tow anything, and I never see six people being hauled around. They're just wasting resources for their big egos.
Obese america, should slim down their fat asses and learn to fit behind smaller cars. Hey, we did it in the 70's.
 

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You cannot blame US - Japanese or Jupiter based auto manufatures for SUV's. They don't force people to buy them.

People make a conscience decision about weather or not they need them. Auto makers who see a demand for large vehicles have only to meet the demand. It's not's the auto manufactures - it's the people.

If ELF and any other enviromentaly-focused group feel the need to target auto-makers (specifically US-based ones that are a result of a massive enviro-bias) - they are mssing the prime reason why SUV's are on the road;

there are consumers who buy them.

Change the minds of the consumers and there might not be any SUV's. Don't think that the consumers have anything to do with it - that they are lead to buy them by "evil corparations"? Look at the highly contrasted US/Canada auto sales records.

<_<
 

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Honestly, the only way to get people to use significantly less fuel is to raise the price. If environmentalists, or anyone else, wants to really decrease usage, they should have the political courage to ask for the only thing that's been proven to work - tax the heck out of it. If gas is near historic lows in adjusted dollars, people are going to find their way around CAFE regulations and whatever other non-market mechanisms you throw out there.

I'm not saying the goverment should have all this extra money to spend. They could give every penny back at the end of the year evenly to everyone in the U.S. The fuel conscious will get back more than they pay, and the fuel hogs will pay more than they get back. But everyone will be more aware of what a fill up costs them.

As painful as it would be, if we are serious about reducing fuel consumption, this will bring it on faster than anything else.
 

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I for one am an suv owner, i have towed, offroaded and hauled more people and stuff than I could have imagined. I love my tahoe but I cringe at the thought of our southern california $2.35 per gal gas price. I really like having the space and need it most of the time. However I do wish there were alternatives for my vehicle such as diesel or a 6cylinder engine. Overall I really think people are over reacting to the suv. They should mind there own business and buy what they like. I have to pay the gas prices, they dont, I have to make the sacrafices, they dont. I put the responsibility upon the auto makers and do understand that I am responsible for my own purchases and driving habits.

Remember, no one complains about the gas mileage of airplanes, trains, boats, construction equipment, and other gas hogs that are used daily
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd love to see the anti-corporation Lefty Greenies propose that Shell, Chevron, etc. double the cost of gas at the pump and reap insane profits. just to get people to cut down their gas usage.

No, not the Left's all-encompassing answer - their beloved big government taxes, but mega profits for "the rich".:p

Think they would go for that?

I thought not. ;)
 

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Bumper stickers ive seen:

1st place: "SUVs are for *****s" ( True, as most SUVs are driven by insecure soccer moms or white trash Nascar meatheads)

2nd place: "One less SUV" (Was on a Honda Accord)

3rd place: "Is that Osama your hauling in the back of your SUV"

SUVs do symblize whats wrong with this country. Obeseity, imperialist war for oil, arrogance, greed,etc. A good tax would be 1$ on every gallon, and then taking the monet and distributing it to every driver equally. It would cause the rich and high consumption people to subsidize everyone else, and encouage conservation by all.
 

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Originally posted by free_energy0@Mar 20 2004, 10:45 PM
"True, as most SUVs are driven by insecure soccer moms or white trash Nascar meatheads"
<_<
 

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( True, as most SUVs are driven by insecure soccer moms or white trash Nascar meatheads)
First, what makes me a "meathead" for being a NASCAR fan? And second, if you are going to bash something, spell it right, it's NASCAR not Nascar, idiot :argue:
 

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Originally posted by logansowner@Mar 21 2004, 12:44 AM
( True, as most SUVs are driven by insecure soccer moms or white trash Nascar meatheads)
First, what makes me a "meathead" for being a NASCAR fan? And second, if you are going to bash something, spell it right, it's NASCAR not Nascar, idiot :argue:
Easy there toughguy, I'm sure not all NASCAR :D fans are white T . However, it seems to me that about 80% are major tools. Try watching F1 or the American Le Mans series instead of a bunch of illiterate rednecks( AKA Earnhart I & II) turn left for 500 miles.
 

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Raise gas prices to hurt those who use a disproportionate quantity and you hurt everyone. You especially hurt those of us who have vehicles requiring premium fuel. A full tank costs me about $35 right now for my Audi 100. I average 24MPG w/ a mix of city and highway driving, so I only have to fill up once every 7-9 days. If people could abandon their stigma about wagons being uncool, they might find that they get better gas mileage because of a) reduced weight and B) vastly better aerodynamics. One of the reasons the C5 is among the most fuel-efficient sports cars available is because it is lightweight and has very little drag. Of course the 6-speed gearbox helps as well, but weight and aerodynamics are two very big players here.

A perfectly reasonable alternative to the typical SUV's big V8 motor would be an I6 or I5 turbo-diesel. Great fuel economy, more than enough power to move a heavy load, and it wouldn't be that much more expensive. Ford had been working with a supplier (Cummins, I think) on getting a smaller I6 TD motor for the F-150, but that deal fell through for some reason. It would've been nice to see that in the Explorer as well. Even I4 TD's are great for small cars, as any of the various VW TDI owners can tell you. Combined with DOD and more efficient VVT mechanisms, you could be looking at an Explorer/Tahoo-sized SUV that gets close to 30MPG in real world city/highway driving. Sure, the tree-huggers will still complain, but their argument will look rather weak.

Which brings me to a rather difficult question: why haven't diesel engines taken hold here in the US the way they have in Europe? 4- 5- and 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engines are fairly commonplace across the pond, so what's holding back the US auto industry? This is something that Toyota, Honda, and the other Asian manufacturers have little experience with, and would be a wonderful stop-gap measure until fuel cell and hydrogen combustion engines are ready for prime time. It'd be cheaper to implement than these hybrid systems, as the technology already exists in GM, DC and Ford portfolios. What is stopping this from happening?

My ideal vehicle right now would be have an AWD turbo-diesel drivetrain in wagon layout. But you know what? The only company that makes something like that is Audi, and only for European markets.
 

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I always see crap about the oil from IRAQ and how we go to war for it.
Also, that gas is environmentally unsafe and destroys our environment and air and water. That alternative fules are slow to come.
That Nascar is spelled NASCAR.

But, really we already have a fule which is made almost entirely here in the USA and is almost entirely environmentally safe AND GM and Chrysler, and Ford sell many of the vehicles with a minr part to allow consumption of this, AND it is available in many States. It is..... E85. Which is 85 % ethanol (from a byproduct of corn production) and 15 % gas.

But, I bet no one has heard of this or knows what it is or that you can buy many of your vehicles with the ability to use this? Maybe I am wrong. But, I do know that NASCAR is spelled NASCAR unless of course I spell it Nascar.

LOL

:lol:
 

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Nearly every engine built today is an LEV. For crying out loud, a Suburban is an LEV. Emissions continue to go lower and lower. Who cares how much gas you burn if it pollutes only a miniscule amount? Go after aircraft and factories. Cars aren't a very big problem anymore. Why should somebody feel bad for owning an Excursion when jacka$$es like Donald Trump are flying around in private luxury jets? If you want to tax someone tax the crap out of people like that.
 

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Originally posted by awalbert88@Mar 21 2004, 05:33 AM
Raise gas prices to hurt those who use a disproportionate quantity and you hurt everyone. You especially hurt those of us who have vehicles requiring premium fuel. A full tank costs me about $35 right now for my Audi 100. I average 24MPG w/ a mix of city and highway driving, so I only have to fill up once every 7-9 days. If people could abandon their stigma about wagons being uncool, they might find that they get better gas mileage because of a) reduced weight and B) vastly better aerodynamics. One of the reasons the C5 is among the most fuel-efficient sports cars available is because it is lightweight and has very little drag. Of course the 6-speed gearbox helps as well, but weight and aerodynamics are two very big players here.

A perfectly reasonable alternative to the typical SUV's big V8 motor would be an I6 or I5 turbo-diesel. Great fuel economy, more than enough power to move a heavy load, and it wouldn't be that much more expensive. Ford had been working with a supplier (Cummins, I think) on getting a smaller I6 TD motor for the F-150, but that deal fell through for some reason. It would've been nice to see that in the Explorer as well. Even I4 TD's are great for small cars, as any of the various VW TDI owners can tell you. Combined with DOD and more efficient VVT mechanisms, you could be looking at an Explorer/Tahoo-sized SUV that gets close to 30MPG in real world city/highway driving. Sure, the tree-huggers will still complain, but their argument will look rather weak.

Which brings me to a rather difficult question: why haven't diesel engines taken hold here in the US the way they have in Europe? 4- 5- and 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engines are fairly commonplace across the pond, so what's holding back the US auto industry? This is something that Toyota, Honda, and the other Asian manufacturers have little experience with, and would be a wonderful stop-gap measure until fuel cell and hydrogen combustion engines are ready for prime time. It'd be cheaper to implement than these hybrid systems, as the technology already exists in GM, DC and Ford portfolios. What is stopping this from happening?

My ideal vehicle right now would be have an AWD turbo-diesel drivetrain in wagon layout. But you know what? The only company that makes something like that is Audi, and only for European markets.
I don't see how raising gas taxes would hurt someone who uses premium fuel. Gas taxes aren't sales taxes - they don't go up and down with the price of the gas itself. It's a flat rate per gallon, and I don't think it matters what grade of gas you are buying.

I don't really want to see gas have huge tax increases, but I was just saying that if the U.S. ever gets serious about saving fuel, it's the only way that's proven. CAFE and anything else is just pi**ing in the wind. They created CAFE 30 years ago to get cars more efficient, so what did everyone do? They bought trucks. Most consumers won't reduce their use of a commodity that's priced the same (in adjusted dollars) as it was in the fifties.

As for diesels, we've discussed here how Europe has implemented low-sulfur fuel for years, and how their emission standards accomodate diesels readily, and of course, they have huge taxes on fuel that brings prices over $4.00/gal. U.S. emission standards are set to get stricter in the coming years, and although there is a plan to lower the sulfur in our fuel, it's still a couple of years off. U.S. manufacturers have been very wary of investing millions in light-duty diesels, only to find that they won't meet emission standards without a lot of expensive add-on clean-up devices, such as particulate traps, which raise the prices on diesels enough that people won't buy them. The payback period on diesels right now is a very long time.

Ford had a deal with Navistar, who supplies them their PowerStroke diesels, to make a smaller diesel for their half-tons, but they got cold feet about emissons and the way the deal was going and pulled out, causing them to have to compensate Navistar a huge amount of money to cover the investment in the project.

I had a Blazer with a diesel for several years and I loved it. I always wanted another one, but I'm not wealthy enough to ignore the economics of it, and with relatively low fuel prices and the growing gap between diesel and gas engine prices, it's been very hard to justify one in a lighter vehicle. If fuel was $2.50 or higher, that justification would be much easier, just as it is in Europe now.
 

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Originally posted by GroundedZ@Mar 20 2004, 01:15 PM
You cannot blame US - Japanese or Jupiter based auto manufatures for SUV's. They don't force people to buy them.
In a way, they are forcing people to buy them.

For example, my wife and I want a station wagon (a proper one, not the Maxx), but the General doesn't make one. We (I) do not want a minivan either.

What does that leave us to pick? If we stay with GM, the Saturn Vue or the Equinox. Lack of choice is forcing people into something they may not truly want.

I could get a Ford Taurus wagon, but.....it's a Ford. :D
 

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Originally posted by bgclarke+Mar 26 2004, 05:14 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (bgclarke @ Mar 26 2004, 05:14 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin-GroundedZ@Mar 20 2004, 01:15 PM
You cannot blame US - Japanese or Jupiter based auto manufatures for SUV's. They don't force people to buy them.
In a way, they are forcing people to buy them.

For example, my wife and I want a station wagon (a proper one, not the Maxx), but the General doesn't make one. We (I) do not want a minivan either.

What does that leave us to pick? If we stay with GM, the Saturn Vue or the Equinox. Lack of choice is forcing people into something they may not truly want.

I could get a Ford Taurus wagon, but.....it's a Ford. :D[/b][/quote]

They aren't forcing you to buy a particular vehicle, you're forcing yourself by limiting what you're willing to buy.

I don't see how raising gas taxes would hurt someone who uses premium fuel. Gas taxes aren't sales taxes - they don't go up and down with the price of the gas itself. It's a flat rate per gallon, and I don't think it matters what grade of gas you are buying
I think its 37 cents, period. But you raise that tax, and suppliers are going to raise the prices of their gas so they can keep their cost-profit margins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You guys are trying to use logic against people who want us to live in communes, gather nuts & berries naked, and ride bicycles only when absolutely required.

A Suburban is low emissions? So what? To them, it uses "more than its fair share" of gasoline, depriving 5 families in China of gasoline for their Daewoo Matiz-like cars. Again, its Greedy Amerikan Capitalizm at its worst.

We old-style Americans with our wasteful Cheeseburgers & Suburbans can't hope to win an argument based on logic.

Even if SUVs become fuel efficient and emissions free, they will still pose a danger to all of those naked nut gatherers on bicycles, so they will still be evil.

;)
 
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