SUV Owners Are Hypocrites. Or Not.

1999 Suburban
In a recent editorial, the editor of our local weekly (weakly?) paper said that people who drive SUVs and then complain about gas prices are hypocrites.  Aside from trying to trying to provoke a reaction – which he has obviously accomplished – he is just plain wrong.

Let’s start with what a hypocrite is:

  1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
  2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

I drive an SUV, a 1999 Chevy Suburban, one of the largest.  And, yes, it gets sucky gas mileage.  As I said in an earlier post, though, fuel economy is but one of the factors to consider in buying a vehicle.  If the thing doesn’t do what you need it to do, then it really doesn’t matter that it gets 65 mpg, now does it?  Another of the unfortunate realities is that most vehicle choices are the result of compromise – more of one thing, less of another; more cargo and passenger space, lower fuel economy.

It would be nice if I could magically transform the family wonder vehicle into a lightweight, fuel-efficient, commuter at the push of a button, but I can’t.  Nor can I buy something the auto industry doesn’t make (yet, though they are getting closer, and will get even closer if Congress can get its act together).  Meanwhile, not liking the fact that I now have to pay more than three bucks for a gallon of gas doesn’t make me a hypocrite.

If I went around beating my chest about how bad SUVs were and criticizing other people for driving them, all the while continuing to drive my Suburban, then I’d be a hypocrite.  Say, I wonder what the editor of the local paper drives…

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