Warning ~ Sympathy Meter Pegged!

Frustrated owners try to unload their guzzlers
After paying $75 to fill his black Dodge Ram pickup truck for the third time in a week, Douglas Chrystall couldn’t take it anymore.
Feeling pinched at the pump, and guilty as well, Chrystall, a 39-year-old father from Wellesley, is putting ads online to sell the truck, and the family’s other gas-guzzler, a Jeep Grand Cherokee.


SUVs were, ARE and EVER WILL BE a stupid indulgence for your everyday ride.

Rare is the individual who actually needs a Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra or Hummer or the like to haul their butts into the office, or their precious chittlins to soccer practice (Less mind actually park one efficiently enough that two other spaces aren’t taken up by their behemoth…but that’s a personal pet peeve.). There were plenty of efficient, safe and stylish means for the transport of you and yours (Every Dodge minivan we’ve rented for out-of-state shows has gotten 26+ mpg screaming along at 75+ mph and loaded to the gills with my crap. If we’d packed, say, an Excursion/Suburban instead? Hurt city.) which would have answered your needs nicely while being a responsible choice. AND one that now would have left you saying “whew!” instead of “wow!” He’s not filling up any more times a week, it’s just COSTING him more. Let me re-iterate:
Gas and oil have been on an upwards trajectory for years, so you can’t claim you weren’t warned. Perhaps in your self-indulgent world you didn’t notice, but that’s a different thing entirely. Perhaps you haven’t bothered to tweak the driving you do do in your ridiculous vehicle ~ habits are hard to break ~ like combining trips vice separate rambles for every little thing?
Thankfully somebody’s starting to think, though, since the gains in today’s weekly crude stockpile report were pretty impressive:

According to the Dept. of Energy, crude stockpiles for the week ended May 3 rose by 5.7 million barrels. Analysts had forecast that inventories would increase by a smaller amount of 1.6 million barrels.

Almost 3 times the build that analysts had expected. Of course, in the perverse little universe we’re inhabiting at the moment, that doesn’t equate to falling prices ~ back into record territory right after the announcement, which has been a pretty consistent pattern as well.
Perhaps Mr. Chrystall’s champagne tastes exist because he’s too young to remember 1973: even-odd fill-up days, sometimes no gas at all, the regular reports from the NYC news media helicopters as they counted oil tankers off the New Jersey coast and the American public incredulous about how geo-political events were inconveniencing us. The conservation learning curve came real quick, as did the sticker shock, as did the appearance of something called “the economy car”. No one had heard of a ‘B210’ before that and most only knew ‘Datsun’ as something from a bad joke. (…and the dealer said “Dat soon?”)
Ah. He’s probably too young, but one would think a little common sense would creep into a young guy’s consciousness someway, somehow, for at least ONE of the family’s vehicles. I mean, LOOK at the PICTURE in the article! Big ass show tires on fancy rims and a king cab to boot, with God knows what else motor-wise. Good Lord. What a DOOFUS. (WAAAA>>>)
Now, us? Rat ass Commando Wagon/ ’87 Pathfinder (17 mpg @ 340+ K miles) for hauling my stuff, couple of older German cars (23 and 24 mpg respectively) and the everyday go-to vehicle? A ’96 Camry (27 mpg). Ebola’s POS (as it’s fondly referred to) aka ’94 MX-3 settles in around 31mpg and even our much loved little red truck of death (’85 SR-5 4X4 ‘yota ~ Skyler should remember it) averaged 24 mpg. (All mpg’s ‘around town’.) It’s always been a factor for us and would have seemed irresponsible not to be. And, wouldn’t you know, the ONE time the fickle finger of SUV seduction waved in my direction, I went to my boys at CarTalk and looked up the Ford Expedition. Their very first sentence of the review?

“There’s no reason on EARTH for ANYBODY to own this car.”

That ruined it for me. I felt guilty and dirty and cheap that I’d even considered it. WAAAAA.
I remember major dad telling Real JeffS this past January about how we thought gas should get to $4 and stay there, because that would be about the price where Americans would consciously start to conserve. Economics would force what common sense, tree hugging, Al Gore, government and technology couldn’t. And it sure looks like we’re coming to it.
If I were Mr. Chrystall, I sure as hell woulda dumped that truck before everyone else started rushing for the exits.
Or at least park the thing and get the last ’96 Camry in town.

12 Responses to “Warning ~ Sympathy Meter Pegged!”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    Well, here’s where I’m going to disagree with you a bit, Sis.
    I have 2 SUV’s. A 95 Jeep Wrangler and a 2002 Jeep Liberty. The Liberty is 4000 pounds of steel that encases the most precious things in my life – my family. My Wrangler is from earlier in life when yes, I would go offroading but could only afford one vehicle. They’re both paid for so the increase in gas prices does very little economic damage when compared to the cost of a new car payment and increased insurance.
    Nobody needs hardly anything. Those nice shoes you’re wearing are overkill. So are gold earrings, cell phones, TV’s, wine, beer, and porterhouse steaks. Everything we have is basically luxury items.
    However, whining about driving a gas guzzler IS a bit pedantic.

  2. WunderKraut says:

    The family car is a 2001 Honda Odysey Mini-Van. We have 4 kids, so we are limited in how small we can get. It gets good gas mileage and is safe. It does cost $50 per week or thereabouts to fill it. That’s just hauling the kids to school and back, running around town and what not.
    I drive a little red Ford Ranger that I only fill up once a month…
    I love small towns.

  3. Robb, contrare ~ Your Liberty is no safer than the same year mini-van, as far as that argument goes. (And an aside ~ as major dad says, you’re only as safe as the seat belts you wear in any event, as most of our local accident victims have found to their detriment, being routinely catapulted through windshield or window since no one around here frickin’ wears any.) But everything paid for is indeed a lovely concept of which we’re VERY fond (especially when Ebola was a beginning driver who needed INSURANCE) and I would always trust in your good judgement not to frivolously burn petrol.
    As for needing hardly anything, that is so true, but you only seem to realize you can do without the older you get. Even I am not the ARDENT consumer I once was and it pains me.{8^P
    But the numbnuts whining for the camera in the story? If he’s not Farmer John or Tim the Toolman, he doesn’t need that truck, so he should STFU. If he IS Farmer John or TTT and DOES need the truck…then he should STILL STFU and get a mileage friendlier wheel package for starters.

  4. Bravo, Kraut. Exactly my point. And the little Ranger? That’s something else me and major dad have talked about. When cheap gas came back? All the fuel efficient little 1980’s trucks went away and that’s a great shame. My little Toyota did CA freeway commute every day, hauled airplane parts from El Toro to Yuma, cross country twice and everywhere in between, zipped along like a mo-fo and got that 24 mpg, (with damn near 30 on the road) PLUS was the perfect first vehicle to hand to Ebola when he got behind the wheel. Others like the Suburu Brat, the wee little Nissan…everyone in our squadron had one because they were the perfect, efficient vehicle. The first company to reintroduce a compact truck will be doing themselves a huge favor, especially in light of 20+ years worth of fuel technology.

  5. Skyler says:

    1. I can’t believe you still have that pickemup truck. Do you ever get rid of any vehicle or do you just keep buying more?
    2. i think your conclusions are exactly bassackwards. There is absolutely no reason for fuel to cost so much, and there’s no reason to conserve at all, whatsoever for any reason. Period.
    What are we conserving for? So someone else can use the oil some time in the future? Why should they have a greater right to it than we have?
    And that’s ignoring the possibility that oil is a renewable, abiogenic resource. I tend to think that science will learn that it doesn’t come from dinosaurs and ancient plants and is not even biological. How the heck would the oil get that deep if it were? No plate tectonics have moved formerly living organic material that far below the surface.
    3. There’s only one reason why oil is costing so much, and that reason is politics, specifically corrupt and irresponsible governments controlling oil generated wealth that they have lost any legitimate right to claim. I’d really like to see a war for oil, not solely so that we can control it, but to wrest it from the control of corrupt petty kingdoms and theocracies. But that isn’t necessary yet. We have plenty of our own oil we can drill for if our own corrupt petty democracy would get out of the way of oil companies and let them capture it.
    4. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy my vehicles as much as I please, and pay for them how I will. My mother used to chide me for leaving food on the plate when children were starving in China, and I told her they were welcome to come and take it, if they found it economical to do so. Her argument was about the same level of sophistication as the “conserve oil” and “feel guilty” about enjoyable vehicles.
    There. I feel better.

  6. Sold it two years ago {8^P. And we offer succor to all God’s little orphans, Skyler. (Plus it’s nice to have a spare when ~ with one exception ~ everything is at least 12 years old.)
    As for your #4 ~ for God’s sake, ENJOY your vehicles/them/denying children starving in China food!! I could sincerely give a rat’s ass. It’s a free country, n’est pas? ALL I’m asking is that you then (as the subject of my rant did) don’t piss and moan to the world at large when the misery caused by said right of enjoyment is of your own making/choice/lack of compassion for foreign children. In THAT case, STFU.
    I feel better.

  7. Robb Allen says:

    THS, the Liberty has an advantage that the Minivan does not. During one of the more nasty hurricanes we get here, I can still drive the Liberty.
    And the Wrangler (which has actually been called to hurricane duty several times).
    Their increased road clearance and 4WD can whisk my family away better.

  8. Very true, Robb. I will give you that. (As we also used the P-Finder post-Ivan.) And I will concede 4WD comes in handy in most ‘extremes’, BUT. If one would normally evacuate before a hurricane, that’s not an excuse for the, say, Excursion found in FL parking lots, because most of THOSE are well on the highway and gone as soon as the flag goes up. (“I paid $50 GRAND for this thing! I’m not getting it trashed!”) 4WD and massive bulk is most definately NOT a requirement, however much you might want it. Considering how gas vaporizes as soon as those lines on the interstates form, 12 miles a gallon at 4 miles and hour and you’re sucking wind. Schmaybe it snows where you live. Schmaybe you can rationlize a big honkin’ SUV for that. We had a 1/4 mile long driveway growing up that was impassible in a good snow storm. Our one 4WD vehicle was Grinch’s truck for plowing. If he was on a flight? Gomen. Mother or I parked our vehicle at the bottom and walked up. If it was SO treacherous you shouldn’t be out…then stay home. Nobody but nobody drove a vehicle like that from our rural county to the city every day as their commuter car.
    They do now. But hey! They wanted it! HAD to have it!
    All I’m asking is don’t bitch about what it costs you then.

  9. Skyler says:

    I used to have a wrangler. I think THS still remembers it well! 🙂
    How’s a wrangler hold up in rain storms?
    You and poor SSgt T wrapped in plastic bags driving 8 hours with no top or doors in a summer storm. I still get a chuckle over it!
    Thanks for returning my car for me. Who’d have thought a war would have started?
    Here’s my jeep when it was so new I hadn’t even taken the doors off yet. I saved that for THS’s little rainstorm trip!

  10. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Rare is the individual who actually needs a Ford F-150….
    Very true, Sis. Indeed, I own an F150!!! ;-P
    Your point about whinging over their decision is spot on. If you make an informed decision to buy a certain car for sound reasons, and are willing to pay the costs, fine! Otherwise, STFU.
    Funny thing is, my family was pretty much ready to go when the 1973 gas crunch hit. Dad, having grown up in the Depression, and having been a WWII fighter jockey, liked to get every mile he could out of a gallon of gas. So we had LONG had cars that were gas efficient (IIRC, a VW bus, and a Mazda pickup in 1973).
    And it rubbed off on me. I’ve owned exactly 4 cars since I graduated high school in 1975. In order:
    1. A VW Rabbit, purchased from my father.
    2. A Ford LTD, that I traded for the Rabbit, as it was not worthy for the long road trip I needed to make to Chicago.
    3. A Nissan pickup, bought new in 1987, with minimum accessories (e.g., no air conditioning, something that my fellow Chicagoites were aghast over).
    4. My current F150, purchased used in 2003 (this has AC, which works poorly, manual gears, which I love, and cruise control, which works great) after #3 started to give up the ghost. This time, I also bought a color coordinated cover! ;-P
    The F150 I bought because I need to haul stuff around. Being single, I don’t worry about carrying many passengers. Living in a small town, I peddle to work most of the time. I fill up maybe a couple times a month, depending on the weather.
    Skyler, there’s no solid evidence supporting the thought that oil is a renewable, abiogenic resource. It’s possible, I agree.
    But the real reason to “conserve” gas? To save money!!!! It shits me every time someone at work sees me riding a bike to work and says “Hey, good, doing your part for the environment!” I want to tell them, “Hey, I rode bikes back before ‘environmentalism’ was a common word, and I rode ’em because they’re fun, good exercise, and are CHEAP! If helps the environment, that’s gravy. Otherwise, Mother Gaia™ can blow me.”
    (Wotta concept: save money, save the environment! Too bad the envirotards haven’t caught on to that idea; Al Gore would be flipping burgers at McDonald’s).
    Saving money also, not coincidentally, reduces the load on the fuel network (somewhat, I agree), and pokes a finger in the eyes of the politicians who love to tax gas (I don’t blame the oil industry — much — for the price of gas. Supply, demand, etc).
    Major dad is spot on about how to get folks to conserve. People are re-learning the lessons of 1973 the hard way.

  11. Saving money also … pokes a finger in the eyes of the politicians who love to tax gas
    That’s why California Assemblytards routinely float the idea of taxing mileage – people buy smaller cars so they buy less gasoline and pay less in fuel taxes.

  12. ricki says:

    I’m just barely old enough to remember sitting in the back seat of my dad’s Dodge Dart while he waited on a gas line.
    I think that was where I first heard a few of the four letter words I know now.
    But yeah. I do not have a great mound of sympathy for folks driving a big-ass car (or truck) who are complaining about the cost of gas – particularly if they bought that big-ass car or truck SOLELY to impress other people. (One of my friends: “If you don’t actually haul livestock, you should not own a duallie.”)
    Look, gas prices suck. It annoys me to put $20 of gas in my Windstar and have it only fill the tank 1/4 of the way. But it is what it is – you can bitch about it and annoy everyone around you, you can do something (like trading out for a more fuel efficient car or driving less), or you can shrug and deal with it.
    Because no matter how much people complain, it’s not going to magically make more oil appear. It’s not going to immediately build more refineries. It’s not going to make the largely-unfriendly-to-America folks sitting on large amounts of oil boost production so prices go down.

Image | WordPress Themes