...on Dan Neil.
Who's Dan Neil, you ask? Well, I had no clue until this morning either. Apparently, he's an automotive critic for the L.A. Times.
I know. Considering that I don't care about the fine wood detailing or superior handling of the new fourwheeldrivewhathaveyou let alone anything that goes on in the city of Los Angeles unless it has to do with George Clooney, I was a bit surprised myself.
Turns out though that ole Danny Boy (that's what I like to call him) has said something that I have been hoping and praying someone in the "mainstream" news media would say:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GREEN SUV.
And the fact that these words came from a guy whose job it is to review cars, and is read by guys who really like cars, makes me all the more giddy.
Giddy like I'm in the lunch room in 4th grade and the 6th grade boy with hair like Shaun Cassidy just walked by.
I discovered this man of my dreams while reading the Smart Growth America newsletter. Their quote of the week was from his article reviewing the new Mercedes-Benz advanced diesel GL320... CDI... XYZ... 8675309...
So I read the article and from almost the get-go he's off on a tangent ranting about the fact that the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid was just named Green Car of the Year. A Tahoe. Green Car of the Year? According to whom? Baby Seal Bludgeoners Quarterly?!? Well, turns out it's Green Car Journal. (I've never heard of Green Car Journal, so I shouldn't presume, but I'm guessing if we dig down far enough we'd probably find that they are published by the same conglomerate as BSBQ.)
OK, fine. So a legitimate industry magazine named it Green Car of the Year. A Tahoe. I'm sorry, but unless it's made of compressed poop from a free-range chicken ranch and powered by the happy thoughts of hippies, I highly doubt that it qualifies as green. Just having a hybrid engine DOESN'T COUNT. When you use 5,000 pounds of steel on wheels to haul an 80-pound child to soccer practice, any teeny tiny bit of guilt that you might have can not be absolved by stuffing a hybrid engine in it. Too big is too big.
Unless you are hauling actual cargo or towing something heavy (and your skis don't count!) - ANY GALLON OF GAS IN AN SUV IS A WASTED GALLON OF GAS.
And that's just what Dan says. Only better. And, well, more than four or five people (and some random guy in Portugal, apparently) actually reads what he writes.
Whether it's a hybrid SUV - or a diesel SUV, as in the case of the new Mercedes - it isn't justified:
"But, sadly, except in highly unusual cases where needs and vehicle match up precisely, these big diesels offer only a variety of complacency, coaching people to keep their over-sized vehicles while assuaging whatever guilt they might feel... I'm sorry. It's just methadone for gasoline addiction."
Now, I have to admit that part of me does disagree with Dan and myself because I also have a personal philosophy (that I'm sure I picked up from someone else along the way) that "no one can do everything, but everyone can do something." And I firmly believe that more people would live more environmentally sustainably if they didn't think it required massive amounts of money, time, effort and a bulk purchase of patchouli. It doesn't. You don't have to change your entire life and go off-grid. I promise. If everyone would just make one little change here or there, the impact would be enormous. So part of me thinks that, in the long run, if you're hell bent and determined to buy a Tahoe no matter what, then by all means, please buy the hybrid version.
But I just can't do it. When it comes to the ginormous SUVs,"these harlots of petroleum" (as my new boyfriend says) I have to draw the line. And it's time that someone out there, someone that Joe Golfshirt listens to, said what needed to be said:
"In a time of surpassing urgency — whether your pet issue is global warming, oil security or economic disruption — we are accepting, even rewarding, relatively modest and incremental changes in efficiency that require no sacrifice, no change in consumer behavior at all. This isn't going to get it done, people. The notion that American drivers can sally on as before, driving the miles and tonnage they do, and only the technology under the hood has to change, is complete bollocks."
And (GASP!) it sounds like he might even be British!
George Clooney who?!?