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Glug, glug, glug…

By Erik Rush
web posted July 10, 2006

I've already made it clear that I'm as capitalistic and indulgent as the next guy, and like most guys, I like toys. Having grown up in the ‘Sixties, I've always been a sucker for American muscle cars, and (of course, being a guy) the bigger the better. These young turks zipping about in their tricked-out Japanese sportios these days just crack me up. I mean, they don't even sound like cars. There are motorcycles that give the impression of having more guts.

H2I'd love to have an H2 (the "midsize") version of the monster consumer-converted military Hummer vehicle. Not the full-size; that wouldn't even fit in my garage, nor the H3, which is nice, but… come on. I don't even want to get into the phallic implications of that compromise.

In an H2, people would fear me bulldozing them into the thickness of dimes in their sportios. Speed bumps would resemble pebbles. I would drive over parking barriers, across streetcorner sidewalks to avoid traffic lights, cross medians to circumvent traffic jams. "Was that unlawful, officer? I'm so sorry! I'll take that ticket. Have a nice day!"

Yeah, baby…

But would I really purchase such a gas-guzzling behemoth - even if I had money to throw in the fireplace? In the end, I think not…

SUV Sales Down Sharply: GM, Ford to Shift Production to Cars - Washington Post

SUV sales decline dents US firms: Demand for big vehicles feels sting of rocketing gas prices - Associated Press

Full-size SUV sales hit potholes, smaller versions zoom - USA Today

I've seen quite a few people downsizing their vehicles due to gas prices, and more than a few full-size SUVs sitting idle in used car lots. One of the things few people realized until fairly recently was that vehicle manufacturers – as a remedy to the convenient but pokey four-cylinder small and mid-size models - had been concentrating on making the mid-size SUVs more high-performance over the past few years, offering 6-cylinder and even V-8s in some of them. Consequently, when fuel prices
began to rise, the choice for consumers became one between a full-size that got four gallons to the mile, a mid-size with only "pretty poor" mileage – or a pokey four-cylinder.

Granted that our government has a dismal, decades-long record on failing to incentivize alternative fuels development, rectify our dependence on foreign oil, and appeasing the environmentalist lobby, and that this record is rooted in greed and fear. However, as a lot of us conservative columnists decry, there is a common thread that is demonstrated by the lifestyles of altogether too many Americans: They're asleep. I can site examples covering more than a dozen timely and controversial issues,
but I'll use this example here:

I live in a city of about 100,000 people, and while it is definitely not what I'd call an affluent community, there are some affluent people here. Yet, I still see folks who live in average-priced homes with small families purchasing brand spanking-new, temporary tag-bearing Escalades, Suburbans, Yukons, Navigators, Expeditions, Excursions, Range Rovers, and - of course – H2s.

Yes, it's one's own business how one spends their money, and most of these folks could be in debt up to their scalps. My criticism is really one of fuel consumption. Not because I'm going green or anything, but because I have a hard time patronizing unethical companies and ones that I know support causes I abhor, and this runs from food to textiles to automobiles.

In the end, the market is going to drive the demand for alternative technologies to get us from place to place. To some extent it already is. I'm just somewhat incredulous regarding those sleeping Americans who – affluent or not – seem to be blind to the fact that this oil addiction is a form of slavery to the producers, their lobbyists and those in government who are beholden to them, and that it is we who have the power to break these bonds.

I personally have no wish to be exploited by capricious, greedy scum. I guess I just have a hard time understanding those who don't seem to mind.

Erik Rush is a New York-born Black columnist and author who writes a weekly column of political fare. He is also a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. An archive containing links to his writing is at http://www.erikrush.com. His new book, "It's the Devil, Stupid!" is on sale now.

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