General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

The attraction of Hummer brands - Why do people own and drive SUVs in densely populated areas where all-terrain handling is not required?

Asked by mattbrowne (31719points) April 19th, 2009

I’m not talking about areas with plenty dirt roads, mountains and heavy snow in winter. I’m also not talking about large families with plenty of kids in need of spacious vehicles (though they might not have to weigh several tons).

From Wikipedia: Gas-guzzler commonly refers to a vehicle that makes inefficient use of fuel. The term originally came into use in the US when congress established Gas Guzzler Tax provisions in the Energy Tax Act of 1978 to discourage the production and purchase of fuel-inefficient vehicles. Ironically, today the term is often used to refer to SUVs or other semi-large vehicles that qualify as “light trucks”. Nevertheless the term extends to all fuel-inefficient vehicles, from antiquated V8 American classics to Italian-bred sports cars. A Lamborghini Murcielago, a Plymouth Roadrunner, and a Hummer H2 might all be classified as gas-guzzlers, though they are very different cars.

Common examples of ‘gas-guzzlers’ include:

* SUVs
* Pickup trucks
* Full-size vans
* High performance sports cars
* Classic musclecars
* Some luxury cars.

Most old cars can be regarded to have bad fuel economy (North American models averaging between 9 – 19 MPG or 12 – 26 l/100 km) when compared to similar modern vehicles.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

Kiev749's avatar

because hummers=awesome in todays mainstream media. If you have one, you are considered in a whole other group from everyone else. The types of people that have money and can afford to fill up everytime they want to leave their house group.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

I haven’t seen an actual hummer on the road in ages, and the used car lots seem to be getting awfully full of gas guzzlers, at least here in Columbus, Ohio.

Harp's avatar

It’s about power. The appeal of the Hummer is the idea that owning it extends one’s possibilities, whether or not that potential is ever required. The fantasy is that one becomes unstoppable; without limits.

The marketing psychology also leverages the cachet of the US military and the image of invincible power it projects. We saw the same phenomenon when stealth planes arrived on the scene. Car makers tapped into the public awe of this powerful technology by restyling car bodies to reflect the aesthetics of the stealth planes.

Not only does one feel more powerful, one proclaims that power to others.

ragingloli's avatar

inferiority complex.
the bigger the car, the smaller the dick.

susanc's avatar

Tiny-penis Syndrome (communicable to women, sadly).

susanc's avatar

Um, ragingloli, good one, beat me to it.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harp – What about people who feel powerful (or are even powerful) without driving a dinosaur car? Marketing psychology will only reach a certain percentage of the population. Others (even when able to afford it) seem to be immune. Maybe they don’t suffer from an inferiority complex then, as @ragingloli pointed out.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That’s not so much of a trend as it was 10 years ago when everyone was driving around an urban assault vehicle of some sort. People are coming around in terms of pragmatism in their cars. I still see a H2 from time to time around here. GM however has discontinued the line so they’ll go away soon enough.

In the meantime, here’s a fun site:

Harp's avatar

@mattbrowne There are many ways of projecting power other than what one drives. Putting a sticker of a prestigious university on your back windshield is essentially the same thing, though directed toward a different audience perhaps. Business people and politicians project power through their clothing. Most of us own far more computer than we actually need because that industry too appeals to our drive to transcend limitations. Think about how much marketing revolves around increasing one’s power over the opposite sex.

Very few of us are truly immune to all of these promises of power.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harp – Agreed. But I prefer the sticker of a prestigious university on a fuel-efficient car. Maybe scientists graduating from that university will make the vehicle even more fuel efficient in the future.

Mamradpivo's avatar

@susanc I agree, it all comes down to small penises. Also, there are a lot of dumb people out there. While it’s totally acceptable in some situations to own a giant car (pickup for work, you have a large family, you happen to live somewhere without paved roads), I don’t think there’s ever any justification to buy a Hummer.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther