For some time now, people have been asking the simple question of why in this day and age, a multi-ton vehicle is necessary to transport a person a fraction of the weight? The amount of fuel used to be mobile is mostly spent on moving the vehicle, and less the passenger. This seems a bit counter intuitive, especially considering that the cost of fuel has steadily risen, decade after decade.
Granted vehicles have become more fuel efficient in recent year. But in the end, we’re still trying to use vehicles to transport ourselves that weigh 10-20 times our own weight. There are various reasons for this, but there are also many reasons to oppose it.
Environment: One of the most discussed reasons for opposing such large vehicles is the impact that is left on the environment. Larger vehicles simply require more material to simply make them. Material, which might not be needed if the vehicle is primarily for transportation purposes, and won’t necessarily be a “working” vehicle. The criticism mainly is directed towards large SUVs and trucks when they are not used for hauling heavy loads.
The other bit to the environment that obviously takes a hit is the fuel efficiency of these vehicles. Some are absolutely horrendous, guzzling fuel as it creeps forward. This is especially apparent for city driving in these larger vehicles. If you weren’t concerned with the actual consumption of fuel, than perhaps you may worry over the fact that our nation is entirely reliant upon foreign nations for our fuel. This becomes a bit disturbing when you consider that we do not have the friendliest relations with some nations that supply an ample amount of our fuel.
Danger To Smaller Vehicles: If these large vehicles are not needed for work purposes, than driving them around does nothing but waste material, energy, and create unwarranted dangers for other passenger vehicles. It could be said that people buy larger vehicles to protect themselves from other large vehicles. This obviously only adds to the problem, and does nothing more than contributes to it becoming worse. In the end, it’s a sort of Catch-22.
Safety: You can’t deny that larger vehicles are safer than their smaller counterparts. So it’s difficult to take this point away from those who argue it as the basis to why they drive these certain behemoths. People will argue that smaller cars are just as safe compared to their larger counterparts. Which may very well be true, but if you asked a person which they would prefer to crash in, the latest and safest VW Bug, or a Ford F-350. I would assume most would say the Ford, and without hesitation. The main reason being that the Bug may have to face up against the Ford, in which case the game was unfair to begin with. If ever vehicle was Bug sized, than size would matter significantly less.
Status: The ego is an extremely powerful instrument, and one, which guides many of our decision-making processes. Most people, and especially in American culture, larger means bigger, badder and better! So if someone feels as though they have something to prove, an easy way to prove anything is to have the biggest toy on the block. This mentality is nothing new, and isn’t likely to change anytime soon. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger at one point owned 8 Hummers in his private collection. Most people would argue that one is bad enough, but at the time of purchasing, Arnold was bigger, badder, and better than many of his counterparts. Hence… a fleet of hummers is what he commanded. What speaks more to your status than having a small armada for your own personal use?
Utility/Capability: You really can’t argue that larger vehicles are needed to do harder, more difficult tasks. Such as haul large loads or objects, and go places that other vehicles are unable to get to. Off-roading is a common recreational activity for many people, and these vehicles are often not used for general transport. So in the end, if a vehicle can’t haul it, or make it to where you need your vehicle to get you too, than a better vehicle is required.
So What’s To Be Done?
You can’t rightly force people to purchase certain vehicles. So the only other options are for the manufacturers themselves to be persuaded to make smaller and more efficient vehicles. Though, the only reason they would do this is if the market demanded it, or if a governmental force enforced it. The market, when it is free generally corrects itself to outside conditions. Which is exactly what has been happening. There has been a larger demand for these vehicles, and as a result, more of them are being made.
On top of that, the Obama administration released its standard for automobile manufacturers to meet for their average mpg rating on their vehicles. By the year 2025, all U.S automobile manufacturers must have an average of 54.4 mpg for the their vehicle fleets to be sold. This creation of a standard is nothing new, but of course, there are those who are heavily opposed to enforcing a company to selling a certain product, especially a certain way. In that right, it defies a free market and doesn’t allow consumers to buy exactly what they want.
The last part to all of this is that personal preference determines what a person is going to buy. So when someone asks you why it takes 2 tons to move 160 pounds, the answer is because that’s how someone wants it. You can’t argue over a persons preference, no matter how silly, stubborn, or selfish it may appear. It’s theirs, and as much right as someone feels they have to argue against it, it doesn’t matter. Under no circumstance is it fair to force ones will onto another, there may even be times when it is justifiable, but that still does not make it right. So why spend the energy to move 2.15 tons when .15 ton is all that needs to be moved? Because you can, and it’s your right to be wasteful…so long as that’s what you feel is right.
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhlemi. If you enjoyed this article, you can follow me on twitter @MetalPedal.