Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, May 15, 2006

SUV Sales Increasing??!?

With gas prices going up and up and up, you’d think SUV sales would be going down. Apparently not.

At a Cadillac dealer in Washington, D.C., the Cadillac Escalade (13 miles to the gallon) is selling so fast they can’t keep them on the lot. According to the dealer: “My biggest problem is not gas prices. It’s getting enough of these trucks.”

Looks like we need to do more drilling. Hell with those sissy national parks and wildlife refuges — we need oil!

You have to wonder just how intelligent a species Homo Sapiens really is. The indicators are not good.

Several decades ago, a psychological experiment was done with some rats. If you put some cheese in a tunnel, the rats will go in and get it. If you don’t put any more cheese in that tunnel, the rats will keep going in anyway, thinking there has to be some cheese in there. But eventually they get the drift, and they stop going into that tunnel to look for cheese. The study concluded that the difference between rats and people is: people will continue forever to go into that same tunnel to look for cheese (figuratively) just because some cheese was once in there. Rats eventually get the hint; people don’t.

The above story was part of the literature from the trendy ‘70s Erhard Seminars Training. I have no idea if it was based on an actual scientific study or if it was just a clever parable. But it sure illustrates the neuroses (doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result each time) of some people.

Who the fuck could possibly go to a car dealer now and think “wow, what a cool land yacht. I’ll take it”?

Along with the Cadillac Escalade (sales increased 127% last month), the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon are also selling better than ever. Helloo!!

Supposedly the original natives of Easter Island died off after every tree had been cut down. The population had grown too large to be supported by the amount of food they could grow, and they couldn’t even build boats so they could go somewhere else. It’s fun to look back at primitive cultures and think how much smarter we are now.

But are we?


Blogger Snave said...

"It’s fun to look back at primitive cultures and think how much smarter we are now. But are we?"

Nah. I don't just think we're dumber... I think we're DUMBERER. A good book that deals with some of this (including Easter Island's miseries), is Jared Diamond's "Collapse", about how societies can choose to succeed or fail. Great stuff! Also, the song "The Smartest Monkeys" from XTC's "Nonsuch" CD speaks volumes.

Escalades? Heh... that's in D.C.! Up here in the NW, Toyota dealers can't keep hybrid cars on the lots. I hope the Japanese can keep their successes going with the hybrid cars, as it will cut into the sales of American automakers to the point where they have to make big changes. At least Ford has its hybrid Escape, and that's a start.

Here's hoping that sooner or later American auto makers realize they need to fish or cut bait. They could have been putting out hybrids or alternative-fuel vehicles 30 years ago, but I believe they have chosen not to. So I say, screw 'em. Whatever happened to American automotive ingenuity? Maybe it has all been bought up by Big Oil.

Screw 'em.

May 16, 2006 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: That sounds like a good book; I'll have to check it out.

Until I saw that article that I linked to, I thought hybrid sales were increasing and SUV sales were going downhill. That article was really disappointing. You're right, the Japanese will keep making progress and it'll be up to Detroit to either get with it or fall through the cracks. At some point they won't be able to keep selling SUVs with 10 mpg. I just hope that starts happening sooner rather than later. I agree -- screw 'em.

May 16, 2006 at 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Japanese SUV's are seeling too. Though you could never get me to by anything that big. Two things must be kept in mind. One it is soo easy to blame the big SUV's for all of our troubles when we have outmoded manufacturing and utilities sucking up all the oil and coal - plus a Cheney lead emergy policy that is bleeding us dry. We all tend to ignore that as long as we blame the SUV. Two from the 70's until mid 90's Americans have bought the smaller fuel effiecient cars and look where it got them. Gas prices still went up (see reason One)

I refuse to believe that if we all bought Hybrids and Vespas tomorrow, we would be drowing in Gas.


May 16, 2006 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

I can't help but to think how our generation will be remembered. Probably as one of greed and stupidity.

"They knew the oil was running out, and they continued on the same path anyway. Greedy bastards."

The end of the oil days: the peak of greed and stupidity.

May 16, 2006 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: It's one thing if somebody already owns an SUV; they're probably not gonna run down to the dealer and trade it in for a hybrid. But according to the article, 3 of the largest SUVs have increased their sales during these past few months, when gas was already over $3 a gallon. I just can't imagine somebody now -- with gas going up and up and no end in sight -- walking into a dealership and saying "cool, I'll take that big gas guzzler over there."

Praguetwin: Yup, the end of the oil. This country's gonna go through a wicked cold turkey when the oil runs out. We'll be just like those Easter Island natives who cut down the last tree so they couldn't even go anywhere else when the food started running out.

May 17, 2006 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

I think WAY more important than spending a lot of time and energy on things like Hybrids is to go back to the drawing board and look at conserving.
Also, we should work on more efficient traditional gas cars.

Companies need to offer more people the opportunity to telecommute, help pay for public transportation costs and allow their employees to be more flexible with their time so they can carpool.
Further, now that the cost of housing is what it is (high) there is NO reason to not add to the cost of that housing the use of solar panels on the roof.
All new condo construction should have it, and builders should be given credits for using them on new homes.
The first step is to start in areas of high sun like Southern CA, Arizona, etc..
When the homes are not consuming, they can put electricity right back into the grid.
As long as we are still burning fossil fuel for electricity, this should be a priority.

May 17, 2006 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike V.: Yup, that's it. Conserving everywhere. Like you say, solar panels, more support for carpooling and mass transit. There are zillions of little ways that we can conserve. I read somewhere that if every driver made sure their tire pressure was correct, the improved gas mileage would save more oil in one year than we could get from the entire ANWR. And there are countless examples like that.

May 17, 2006 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I like the idea of solar and wind power supplying much of our electricity needs. Like Erik said (and I agree), "we have outmoded manufacturing and utilities sucking up all the oil and coal". It isn't just SUVs.

As for gasoline as a fuel for autos, I would love to see how many people have designed engines that can get 100 mpg or more, and how many of those technologies have been suppressed or put away where nobody will ever find them.

I have no doubt those technologies exist, and until they are finally utilized, my wife and I are going to try and be as small a part of the problem as we can. We bought a new hybrid Camry on Friday, and we have ordered a Prius that should be at the dealer for us to pick up within a few weeks. Hopefully we won't use nearly as much gasoline, and we won't be giving nearly as much money to the oil companies. Both those thoughts are comforting to us. The tax credits will be nice too.

May 17, 2006 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I agree, there have probably been a lot of engine designs that have been rejected or repressed by the auto industry. I've heard of several stories like that over the years; they may be urban legends but they sound believable.

May 18, 2006 at 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its nice to see such a positive conversation here, and no mudslinging. Cheers.

The problem with hybrids is that they are too expensive and not efficient enough to justify the expense. Furthermore, most hybrids (especially the Prius) lose about 15 mpg when driving on the highway. They are great for cities (mass transit and intra-city commuters) but not so great on the open road.

In the April 16, 2006 NY Times an article entitled Life in the Green Lane (only accessible if you have TimesSelect) details the downsides of hybrid vehicles. The author claims that many conventional vehicles like the Honda Civic are much better at pinching pennies and conserving fuel.

Unfortunately I don't think we will see any major steps toward energy conservation in this administration's tenure (reign?).

May 19, 2006 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JBruno: Thanks for stopping by. I think hybrids are at least a step in the right direction, even though there's lots of room for improvement. And there definitely won't be much progress in this department as long as Bush is still in office.

May 19, 2006 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you guys on conservation - I just have a hard time believing we are really running out of oil when domestic oil wells are capped up because the oil companies have gotten bigger tax breaks for imported.

I also don't want to see us use the SUV soundbite. Which gets constantly used in Washington to throw the blame on the consumers instead of where it really belongs - in goverments and corporations


May 21, 2006 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Go on now, get out there and buy yourself a Prius today :)

It's hard to tell how much of this energy crisis is real and how much is contrived. There are a lot of the same urban legends going around now that were going around during the energy crises of the '70s: oil companies purposely not drilling; oil tankers sitting offshore, full of oil but not unloading it so they can keep the price high; etc. They might be just urban legends, but with all the corporate sleaze going on, these stories seem believable.

May 21, 2006 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No those stories in the 70's were real, even network news covered them and asked why Tankers were docked in Harbors and the sailors given leave. Also why only the East in the West had the shortages and the lines when people I knew in the South and the Midwest said "What Shortages"

They also convinced Nixon to release the strategic oil reserve which the oil companies resold to us for a big profit.

NO Urban Legend


May 21, 2006 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Yup, that makes sense. The stories going around now -- I wouldn't doubt them at all.

May 21, 2006 at 11:43 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I drive a truck that is as big as a small barn. I also have a windmill on my farm and generate my own electricity. My farm is also completely hydroponic.

Does that make me evil?

May 25, 2006 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

James: Evil is such a harsh word :)

It sounds like you're doing a lot of valuable things -- a windmill, generating electricity, etc. Pickup trucks and SUVs were originally designed for practical purposes like this. Most of the Yuppies that drive gas-guzzling SUVs only use them for driving to the office and showing off how wealthy they are. If someone needs a large SUV or truck because of their work, that's totally different.

May 26, 2006 at 1:15 AM  

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