CJ AEGIS, on Jul 14 2003, 07:44 PM, said:
Lover of Purple, on Jul 14 2003, 10:06 PM, said:
I can see game wardens and rangers needing four wheel drive, but not someone just running the freeway.
In that case the state should put the money saved from not buying SUVs for other uses into a real 4x4.
Keep in mind that "real 4x4s", including civilian Hummers, are also SUVS (at least when they're not trucks), and that "SUV" includes some serious 4x4 machines as well as the yuppymobiles most people now think of under that term. In one forest ecology research project I've worked on, we used Jeep Cherokees from before they started getting luxurified and when they still looked and acted like "jeeps" were supposed to (like having a stiff and unluxurious but sturdy suspension). Those were the perfect vehicle for the terrain, and something else like them would now still be the only reasonable replacement.
The fuel mileage really isn’t much worse than many of your larger SUVs and you are burning diesel instead.
Mostly, that's not the case, and for those vehicles about which you CAN say that, yes, the mileage IS that much worse, because it's only on really heavy vehicles that diesel takes over as the only way to go.
The state could invest in some HMMWVs and with their diesel engines they would be slightly more environmentally friendly and a lot more use off road.
Diesel isn't necessarily cleaner than gasoline, and even in those engines in which it is pretty clean (which typically aren't the big heavy ones), it's still not enough of a difference to overcome the 6-9 miles per gallon you get from that weight. Also, those things are too wide, too long, too heavy, and too wide to be practical for such work. A little Jeep Cherokee will tread lighter and maneuver better in tighter spaces in the hills and forests, and they've gotten me into and out of many places a HMMWV or Hummer would never get. HMMWVs were tested in rocky barren desert terrain and chosen among the competition based on those results. They represent a sacrifice of some off-road performance measures for steep slope gripping and body interchangibility and high weight limit and such... and a sacrifice of fuel efficiency for almost anything and everything else. Also, for the cost of one of those, you can get 2 or 3 "normal" civilian 4x4s.
The HMMWV is a great vehicle in several ways. But no vehicle is universal, and I think our armed forces made a mistake in trying to take a particular kind of specialized vehicle and treat it as universal.
Edited by Delvo, 07 August 2004 - 03:12 PM.