The article basically claims that we need more hybrid SUVs because they save more gas over regular SUVs, compared to the savings between small hybrids (such as the Honda Civic hybrid) and their non-hybrid counterparts (the regular old Honda Civic). That's like saying doing acid is better for you than eating an oatmeal cookie, because doing acid is more improved over doing crack cocaine than eating an oatmeal cookie is over eating a Twinkie.
I'm not trying to hide from the obvious here. Someone who switches from a non-hybrid GMC Yukon to a Toyota (Charts) Prius will save about 611 gallons of gas a year. That switch would make a huge difference.The author apparently doesn't realize that inserting this little disclaimer pretty much disproves the rest of the article.
But how many people do you think could actually do that?Editorials like these love to try to universalize isolated examples to prove a point, which is, of course, a fallacy of multiplication. How many people are really like this guy's sister, having to cart around a whole line of hockey players and their equipment? I doubt all those SUVs motoring around Palo Alto or Orlando are bus services for youth hockey.
That assumes that all consumers are able to buy the smallest possible vehicle and that no one who drives a large SUV or other full-sized vehicle actually needs one.
Even as consumers have been ditching mid-sized SUVs for smaller SUVs and cars amid rising gas prices, sales of large SUVs have stayed relatively flat. That indicates that these buyers can't easily switch.
I didn't have to go very far to find a perfect test case: my sister. She lives in Cape Cod, Mass., where it snows heavily in the winter. She has three boys who all play hockey, a dog and a husband; and she usually has a couple of her kids' friends - and their hockey equipment - tagging along wherever they go.
What's more, it's wrong to think that one needs an SUV to handle snowy roads. With a high center of gravity, SUVs are actually more dangerous in one regard when driving in unpleasant conditions. My brother has a smaller European car, and it handles the snow without any problems. In fact, he can park it on top of miniature snow banks in the winter that no one else dares parking in.
So what we have here is a desparate attempt by some money writer to justify a now failing business practice. As people are finally -- finally -- starting to buy smaller, more efficient cars, expect more smoke-and-mirrors arguments used to pitch hybrid SUVs.