SUV Nation—Mine’s bigger

“I love my SUV,” has become the slogan of hundreds of thousands of US Americans, to which many add, “I feel safe in it” And “It lets me get above it all.”

The SUV Enigma

The rise of the SUV in less than decade (currently over 22 million on the road) has been one of the outstanding enigmas of US culture. Enigma, because the reasons for owning a SUV fly in the face of proven wisdom and research about transportation on the road. The evidence:

SUVs are unsafe. Accident statistics assembled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association prove that SUVs, far from being safer vehicles, are responsible for more deaths of their drivers and others involved in their accidents than minivans, standard cars, and even compacts and sports cars. Essentially they replace visibility, maneuverability and driving skill with harder-to-control size and mass. SUVs are four times more likely than cars to roll over in an accident and three times more likely to kill the occupants in a rollover.

SUVs are an ecological disaster. After years of effort to minimize pollution and gas guzzling, we have opted for the most wasteful form of personal transportation available, SUVs spew out 43% more global-warming pollution and 47% more pollutants than an average car. According to Sierra Club research, switching from an average car to the average SUV for a year wastes more energy than if you...

Left the refrigerator door open for 6 years

Left the bathroom light burning for 30 years, or

Left your color television turned on for 28 years

SUVs are overkill. Purportedly designed for off-road effectiveness, most SUVs never leave the highway except when they miss the driveway and slice up a corner of the neighbor’s lawn. Most of the time they simply contribute their useless features to the rush hour jam and their touted rigidity contributes to early arthritis as we bounce over potholes.

© 2009 George Simons


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There are no elements so diverse that they cannot be joined in the heart of a man. - Jean Giraudoux

George Simons is a US specialist in intercultural and gender communication who hangs out in Mandelieu - la Napoule, France, as well as in Santa Cruz, CA. In the 1980’s he was one of the founders of the Hidden Valley Center for Men and the Cyberguys network. He is currently the treasurer on the board of The National Men's Resource Center™. He is on the faculty of Management Centre Europe, where he consults on virtual global teamwork. He has written over a dozen books on culture and gender including  Working Together:  How to Become More Effective in a Multicultural Organization and with Deborah G. Weissman, Men & Women:  Partners at Work. (Crisp Foundation) and is the creator of the award-winning Diversophy® game. or E-Mail.

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