Hummers may look cool on the outside. They might even appear to be a symbol of patriotism and solidarity with our troops in Iraq. But don’t let appearances fool you. Peer beneath the surface and you’ll find a host of reasons why the Hummer…is a bummer.
1. The Gas Mileage Alone Will Kill You The Hummer has the worst gas mileage of any civilian vehicle. Although the number is tightly guarded (vehicles that weigh over 8,400 lbs, the weight of the smaller and lighter model of Hummer, the H2, are exempt from revealing their gas mileage to consumers) it hovers somewhere around 9 mpg. The Environmental Protection Agency gave a 2 out of 10 rating for the H2. In fact, the Hummer’s gas mileage is less than half the mileage of the Model T Ford, the first car ever mass-produced. As our country’s gas prices continue to soar and our economy continues to sink, ask yourself, can you honestly afford the astronomical cost of driving a hummer?
2. The Hummer Receives More Complaints Than Any Other Car Hummers are full of bugs. According to the 2003 J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Survey, Hummers received more complaints than any other line of cars both foreign and domestic—225 reported problems per 100 new vehicles compared to an industry average of 133. Complaints ranged from wind noise to poor performance to…you got it: poor gas mileage.
3. Oil Addiction Leads to War The global addiction to oil is leading to resource wars through out the world, and the US is the #1 addict. According to a recent World Bank study, countries that export oil are 40 times more likely to be engaged in war than non-exporting countries. Would over 500 American soldiers and countless Iraqis have died if our country was not addicted to fossil fuels? The EPA reported that an improvement of just 3 mpg overall would save 1 million barrels of oil per day. Considering that the United States imports 740,000 barrels of oil per day from Iraq, a modest improvement in fuel economy would free the country from its dependence on this unstable state. And if we all drove hybrid cars, which get over 50 miles per gallon, we could prevent all future wars for oil.
4. They Are Killers on the Road According to a study by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, if you are in an accident with an SUV, you are 3.4 times more likely to be killed than if you had been hit by another car. Simply put, on the road, mass wins. The 8,400 pound H2 and 10,000+ H1 weigh significantly more than the average SUV, and are thus some of the most dangerous killers on the road. Their height, weight and the stiffness of their frames put drivers of smaller cars at great risk for fatalities. Tough luck for the other guy (or woman or child), you might say, but at least I’ll be protected, right? Wrong! Hummers are not safe for their own drivers, either. The higher mass of SUVs and Hummers make them more difficult to stop. This lack of maneuverability INCREASES the numbers of fatal accidents.
5. Soldiers Are Dying In Them Although the Army does not keep a breakdown of Humvee casualties, almost every week the media reports incidents of soldiers being wounded or killed in their Humvees. Some officers estimate that upwards of 60% of the casualties suffered by their troops occurred in Humvees. Beyond the unavoidable dangers of war, there are two primary causes of the high number of Humvee casualties, faulty armor and terrible maneuverability. Most Humvees being used in active duty in Iraq were originally built with no armor whatsoever, as they were not meant for frontline combat. The newer armored models are not expected to arrive in Iraq until 2005. The weak or non-existent armor of the Humvees allows roadside bombs to rip through the vehicles. This leads to countless deaths and amputees. Beyond the lack of armor a significant percentage of humvee casualties is due to accidents such as tipping over, resulting from the humvee’s poor maneuverability.
6. The Tax Break Is Unfair…and Unpatriotic Hummer dealers are snagging new customers by telling them they can get a tax write-off of up to $100,000 as a business expense. How can that be? This tax break was originally designed for farmers and their trucks, but the legislation defines the vehicle by weight, not use, creating a loophole big enough to drive a Hummer through. Many people are furious about this loophole and are pushing for Congress to change the law. With our nation facing a $500 billion deficit, is it fair for Hummer owners to rip off the US government and their fellow taxpayers? Is it patriotic? Hardly.
7. People Won’t Like You Hummer drivers have become a target for angry pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers who don’t like seeing super-sized gas guzzlers lumbering down their roads or parked in over-sized spaces on our city streets. Hummer drivers get yelled at, flipped off, cut off; their vehicles get plastered with anti-Hummer bumper stickers. The website FUH2.com, for example, features pictures sent in from around the world of people flipping off Hummers. As anti-Hummer campaigns continue to pick up speed and disseminate information, the public sentiment against Hummers and their owners will only increase. Do you want this anger focused on you and your vehicle?
8. Mother Earth Won’t Like You, Either Beyond compromising the safety and well-being of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers, by driving a Hummer you are endangering the health of the planet itself. Hummers, with their absurd weight, are exempt from meeting ANY emission standards. In other words, Hummers and other extremely large SUVs, such as the Ford Excursion, are allowed to pollute as much as they want without any government interference. Not only does the Hummer emit over 3 times more carbon dioxide than an average car, hastening global warming, but it gives off substantially more smog-producing pollutants and dangerous particulates as well. These are issues affecting all of us today, especially children. In fact, rates of asthma among our nation’s children have increased to the point of constituting an epidemic. Furthermore, the EPA released a devastating report on 4/15/04 that indicates nearly one in five counties nationwide are breathing unhealthy air, affecting an estimatetd 159 million Americans. Is your Hummer really worth the very air you breathe?
9. Will You Really Survive a Falling Asteroid? A recent ad campaign for the Hummer says: “When the asteroid hits and civilization crumbles, you’ll be ready.” Makes you sound pretty safe, no? But if the military Humvees can’t even protect soldiers in Iraq against roadside bombs, how well do you think the unarmored civilian version will fair against the apocalypse?
10. There Are MUCH Better Deals The H2 starts at $50,000, the H1 at $100,000! They are super-expensive, not very comfortable and big gas guzzlers. Stack that up against a Toyota or Honda hybrids, which cost under $25,000 and get 50 miles a gallon. If you really need a bigger car, in 2005 you can buy a hybrid SUV that will get significantly improved mileage. According to the New York Times, the most “cool” Hollywood stars drove to this year’s Oscars in hybrid cars and wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hummer. So why not save $25,000, be kinder to the planet, and join the “cool crowd”? What are you doing wasting your time with the Hummers? Go on over to your nearest Toyota or Honda dealer. You’ll be glad you did.