I’ve picked on SUV drivers before, for overcompensating and hybrid-hating. I guess I shouldn’t since at least a couple of people in my extended family drive SUVs, but being a city-dweller I can’t look at one without asking “Where do you park that thing?” and “Can you at least spray some mud on it if you’re never really gonna go off-roading?”
I think what roused my ire was a post-9/11 SUV commercial that featured billowing American flags and a chorus enthusiastically singing “Keep on Rolling! Keep on Rolling! Wooooooo, hooooooo, hoooooo!” in what I figured was some kind of crass attempt to piggyback Dubya’s exploitation of “Let’s roll”, while also sending the not-so subtle message that if Americans don’t stop buying SUVs then the terrorists have won.
Or something like that. Well, apparently the terrorists are winning now. Americans are buying fewer SUVs.
The heyday of the SUV or sports utility vehicle is over, according to an industry survey among leading car executives. It predicts that sales in the sector will slump. The four-wheel drive market seems to have become the main victim of rising fuel prices and increasing consumer interest in owning an environmentally-friendly vehicle, says the report by tax specialists KPMG.
A mere 3 per cent of North American automotive executives canvassed by KPMG expect to see the SUV sector grow in in 2007. Europeans were more confident (39 per cent – down 50 per cent from last year)
Most of the 150 car company executives questioned for the survey said also that they thought the rise in the cost of fuel would impact most on the future purchasing habits of car buyers.
It gets worse. One of those car buyers whose buying habits have been affected is the United States government, which will soon start purchasing hybrid vehicles for federal agencies.
President Bush on Wednesday issued an executive order that will Presidential_seal make federal agencies among the first buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The President ordered that all federal agencies with 20 or more vehicles in their fleet should use: “plug-in hybrid (PIH) vehicles when PIH vehicles are commercially available at a cost reasonably comparable, on the basis of life-cycle cost, to non-PIH vehicles.”
And from an oil man, no less.