Topics: energy, transportation
It should come as no surprise in these times of high gas prices, environmental crusades, and rampant judgmentality that sales of large, gas-guzzling automobiles are slowing. People seem to finally understand that they can just as easily fit two kids in the back of a Honda Fit as they can in a 12-door SUV. Well, most people seem to understand this. Somewhere in this country are 55,986 people who bought Hummers in 2007.
In case you live under a rock big enough that a Hummer hasn’t crushed it yet, Hummer is a brand of personal battle tank created during the 1980s to fight Nazi zombies. This vehicle, known as the “Humvee” or “Human-crushing Vehicle,” was so successful at repelling the zombie invasion that Hummer decided to modify it and sell it for general civilian use. Unfortunately this meant that all of the useful features of the Humvee, such as the armor and weapons emplacements, were removed leaving only the less useful features such as low gas mileage, high maintenance costs, and the inability to fit the damn thing into a garage.
Still, Hummer’s H1 vehicle sold quite well during the 1990s and early 2000s; and when Hummer rolled out its slightly smaller and more practical H2 and H3 models, those too went flying off stores shelves. Today, Hummer only produces H2 and H3 models, the latter of which is a full ton lighter than the former. Those extra 2,000 pounds on the H2 translate to abysmal fuel economy—an average of just 13 miles per gallon—though the H3 doesn’t do much better at just 15 MPG. Thanks almost certainly to the skyrocketing price of gasoline, H2 sales fell by over 50% from the previous year in 2007, and there are rumors that the H2 will be discontinued altogether within a few years.
As I pumped that $3.60 premium into my 32-mpg MINI Cooper this morning, I saw an H2 and two H3s go by in less than five minutes. It occurred to me that those drivers would be paying almost $7.50 to go the same distance I go on $3.60. This just begs the question: why did anyone by a brand new Hummer last year, much less 55,000 of them? I would think you could get a used Hummer from someone tired of paying through the nose for gas for about $50; but even then, why would you sentence your wallet to a slow, painful death by driving?
Some people might argue that they need a Hummer for hauling around heavy objects or keeping their families safe. Sure, a Hummer could pretty much carry the population of Rhode Island from Point A to Point B, but so could a much cheaper pickup with significantly better gas mileage. And as for the safety features of the Hummer, they’re severely overrated; something that big takes forever to bring to a stop, and there are several now-standard safety features missing from many Hummer models.
So this leads us to only one possible conclusion: 55,000 eco-terrorists bought Hummers last year and will use them to collapse the ozone layer and kill us all… assuming we don’t kill each other over high gas prices first.
Which we will.
Like, by Tuesday.