Gas guzzlers taking up too much space

By Gail Katherine Ziegler
October 28, 2005

In these days of the three-dollar-gallon of gas, I find myself wondering, “What do you carry around in that truck, your ego?” I cannot imagine why anyone would want to put upwards of $50 in their gas tank, especially when you could be spending it on all of this season’s cute shoes?

Soccer moms tend to say that their big two-parking-space SUVs make them feel safe. Well, the five stars in frontal crash tests are in-class.

The University of Michigan found that “SUVs are no safer for their drivers than cars. Popular midsize cars, minivans and import luxury cars have the safest records, while SUVs are about as risky as the average midsize or large car, and are no safer than many compact and subcompact models.”

When you compare the safety to their SUVs to a minivan, the SUVs come up short. I don’t blame you though; the advertising is aimed right at you to make you believe that they are the safest. But they’re not, so, do you really have that many ballerina shoes and soccer balls to carry around?

I see pick-up trucks in the commuter parking lot all the time. I wonder, how many hay bails and two-by-fours need transportation in Radnor by a student or professor? Maybe because of all the books we need to buy for school, you need all of that towing capacity, but my Elantra seems to handle it well.

Even the on-campus security has trucks and SUVs. I wonder what they keep in there: bodies of intoxicated students?

There is the age-old joke of men compensating for their insecurities with big toys and big trucks. I think this probably has more to do with the number of trucks in the parking lot than the actual need to carry stuff around.

If the environment could talk, it would have something to say about our lane-hogging obsessions too. The Hummer gets about nine miles to the gallon, information which is guarded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, no doubt. I found that statistic at, because it was no where to be found on Hummer’s website.

When I hear my grandmother complain about her $54 tank, I can’t help but not care because she just bought an SUV, totally by choice. Her excuse is the snow, but she doesn’t have anywhere to go. Is she going to work on the days that it snows? No, so sit at home and enjoy the peace of being retired.

The other reason I have a thing against big cars is that they tend to be annoying to us little people on the road. Their lights reflect the same amount of light as the sun into my three mirrors. So if you’re riding my butt, I’m just going to have to go slower because my corneas have been burnt like toast.

I also find that most people who drive large vehicles cannot keep them on one side of the road. Their vehicles are always coming onto the opposite side because they don’t want to scratch their right-side mirror on a tree branch. My father, an avid truck man, always told me that he pays his taxes and is taking his half out of the middle. Comical, until you are the car he’s passing.

By the way, I don’t claim to be a green-peace saint. I don’t have a hybrid, and I drive almost a hundred miles a day. So, please don’t run me down in the commuter parking lot, I’m confident that your big, manly truck could do it.

When you graduate, get a good job and decide to buy a new car, drive smaller and live larger, with money left over for shoes.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Gail Katherine Ziegler

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