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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Big Bad Suvs

Speeding on the road in a little Mini Cooper all of a sudden a giant black cloud engulfs you. You accelerate to escape the overwhelming SUV, which looms over you like a drunken giant ready to topple without a moment’s notice. Your car is out of gas. You stop at the gas station, two dollars per gallon. “Why are gas prices so high?” You wonder.

Thus, are the big bad SUVs, the widely seen sport utility vehicles of today that plague our suburban Palo Alto streets.
Don’t think this doesn’t apply to Paly. Why just the other day I saw a kid coming to school in a ghastly H2 Hummer, basically a five ton military truck, and to illustrate our student’s common sentiment my friend gasped, “Whoa! That’s a sweet car!”

That giant truck was not a pretty sight on a suburban road, not to mention that its fuel economy is so bad that it is listed on the General Motor web site as having tested below regulation.
What does a person living in a quiet suburb with paved roads need a massive truck or military vehicle for? I know that I don’t encounter jagged mountain ranges on my way to school in Palo Alto.
I scoff when I see a sole one 150 pound human being sitting in a three-ton Ford Expedition (14mpg street/19 mpg highway), wasting two and third times as much gas as a small Honda Civic (36 mpg street/44 highway).

Such enormous vehicles should be reserved for professionals and those who truly need them to get around unfriendly terrain.
For the rest of you who either have large families or insist that a giant off-road vehicle is a necessity for skiing, stop being stubborn and look at what the world of station wagons and mini-vans has to offer (at least these vehicles are intended for Soccer Moms).
You’d be surprised what a Volvo Cross-Country, VW, or Audi station wagon can do while consuming half as much gas per mile as an SUV and not endangering others with the risk of easily toppling over.

It is clear to me that the SUV market is grossly under regulated; people can purchase anything from Military Vehicles to Pick-up trucks without a special license or extra tax for their un-environmental conscious decision and yet those with fancy cars have to pay a ‘luxury tax’ (I’m not really sure what luxury does to the environment).

Sure, we sit back and call SUVs gas-guzzlers, but when it comes to doing anything about it we turn our heads the other way and go out to purchase an All American V8 truck.

I am aware that even without the huge population of SUVs there would still probably be an oil crisis, as with most non-renewable resources. Still, it is obvious that these trucks, powered by poorly engineered V8 and V10 engines, to which the words ‘fuel efficient’ are virtually unheard of, are a definite accelerator of the depletion of the Earth’s oil supply, due in part to the fact that the U.S. is the largest consumer of fossil fuels and SUVs.

The Paly parking lot is notably swamped with SUVs. I just don’t see the sense in it. As far as I know students don’t have large families to take to school and they don’t go skiing during class because that is where they are most of the time.

Every time I see a clumsy SUV hurling down the street swaying from side-to-side I know the passengers are feeling the rough ride.

Onetime, while visiting Las Vegas with my family, we rented and enormous Ford Expedition. My dad said he was afraid that at any moment the vehicle would topple over. As a passenger, I felt the over-sized vehicle sway drunkenly on its badly fitted chassis, not intended to carry the load.

“Why would anyone want to feel so unsafe?” I ask myself. The answer may lie solely with an SUV buff, from whom I have heard many a “sweat truck dude”. Perhaps it is the dominance of the road that a highly seated driver feels. I’m pretty sure it’s not elegance they’re after. Personally I am happy down in an ‘inferior’ sedan, at least my car won’t flip over if the tire goes flat.

The SUV world is beyond me. The insecurity and risk that these vehicles cause on the road in addition to their poor gas-mileage bring me to believe that something needs to be done to regulate the sale of these mechanical monsters. Such action could be vital to the future of fossil fuels and the lives of many on the road let alone our present international political situation in the Middle East.

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