Hummer On the Way Out?

23:35 Thu 04 Dec 2008. Updated: 23:58 28 Jan 2009
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I think that Katharine Mieszkowski is being overly optimistic predicting the demise of the Hummer, but I’d really love to see that damn thing disappear. Being utterly obnoxious and ugly (which it is) is one thing, but the sheer deliberate wastefulness is simply appalling. I know that’s part of the point for many owners, but that doesn’t make it any better.

GM considered selling it, but that was when gas was double its current cost. It’s still possible that the economic downturn will wipe out the brand, but cheap gas makes them less unfeasible—and somehow Hummer buyers don’t strike me as likely to consider the possibility of gas rising dramatically in the future.

One highlight: “Beginning in 1992, a series of tax laws combine to create large tax credits for certain Hummer buyers. By 2002, the New York Times reports that, thanks to changes in the tax code during the Bush administration, an eligible buyer can deduct $34,912 of the $48,800 base price of the Hummer.” So, so insane. And such a disgusting display of how totally compromised the political system is, just in case we needed any further examples.

A quick H2-Prius comparison: “The Hummer H2, a smaller and friendlier Hummer based on the Chevy Tahoe, goes on sale in dealerships. Its base price is $48,800, and it gets 10 to 16 miles per gallon. Even so, the H2 uses more energy in its manufacture and for fuel in its first 24,000 miles on the road than the Toyota Prius does in its entire lifetime.”

That’s pretty amazing, given that one of the criticisms of the Prius is how much energy is consumed in making its battery.

Regardless of gas prices high or low, I don’t think America’s car culture is going away anytime soon. Traffic jams, pollution, horrifically-designed suburban sprawl, underfunded public transport infrastructure, and over forty thousand deaths per year are all going to stick around for quite a while. However, saying goodbye to the Hummer would be a nice, if token, step in the right direction.

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