Saturday, August 09, 2008

Light Sweet Crude

Nothing upsets me so much as seeing a big pickup or SUV with only the driver inside. When she or he pulls into the convenience store and fills the tank, they shell out three to four times what I do to fill mine, which allows me to think they're more responsible for the ongoing energy crisis because I was wise enough to buy a Toyota Corolla. In a post to one of the egroups I subscribe to, a member made reference to SUV's and parenthetically defined them as "Stupid Useless Vehicles." I soon enough entered my hat into the ring for Fool when I told another subscriber about the definition only to be informed that he owned two of them himself.

But, hey, let's face it: SUV's in particular look like dinosaurs, don't they? I mean, notice how many people have simply parked them in the garage, on the driveway, or (as is most often the case in South Texas) on the lawn. And check out what's going on in Detroit: billion dollar quarterly losses. And at your local dealarship. I even heard a commercial by a dealer offering fifteen thousand dollars off the price of a new SUV! And, now that crude has enjoyed a temporary slump in price (all the way down to $125 a barrel the other day), the SUV's and even the big pickups will see slowly rising sales.

It's all psychology -- and mass psychology at that. The current SUV owners are using them less because they dislike paying throught the nose. Amusingly, one wag put his frustrations on his posted price sign: "Regular Unleaded: An Arm and a Leg." I mean, you can only amputate an arm or a leg once. And when the other two have been cut off, there's nothing left but the head and the unmentionable. I am not about to contend that all of these vehicles at all times of the day, all week, all month, and all year have only one person inside and are only headed for the inflation station (read: grocery store). No, of course not. During the week, the pickup might hold the implements or inventory of the breadwinner's small business, and the SUV during the school year is put to use driving the most precious cargo of all to local schools.

But, generally, speaking, big trucks and SUV's chap my ass. Most have "BUSH-CHENEY 2004" bumper stickers. Some have N.R.A. Some have Jebus fish symbols or "In Case of Rapture, This Vehicle Will be Empty." I don't mind their naive notions about cosmogony, biology, &c., I just wish they didn't throw them in my face. (There are some aspects of Islam that I think have great value; for one, visual depictions of the founder of their religion, Mohammed, are strictly forbidden. That's why not-so-radical Islamists made such ado over the publication of cartoons showing their patriarch as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban.) Seems to me, you have a pretty weak religion if you have to run about with such proclamations of faith on your rear window or bumper. Reminds me of that old homily, "Fools' names and fools' faces always appear in public places."

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