Transportation

Smart Car, Dumb Car

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 26, 2005

I don't want to encourage the mentality that smaller or more fuel efficient cars will allow us to continue living the suburban dream in perpetuity. However, the more time we buy for ourselves to make our cities sustainable, the better, and small, efficient vehicles will allow us to navigate our existing built environment less destructively while we figure out smarter ways to live.

Smart Car

Smart Car
Smart Car: takes up less space, uses less gas

Dumb Car

Dumb Car
Dumb Car: possibly the least essential vehicle ever built

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Trey (registered) | Posted August 29, 2005 at 08:30:56

I love how the Hummer is pictured in advertisements. I hope that mountain peak is only 100 kms away from a gas station. I guess it isn't as sexy looking at the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart.

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By Sephroe Zion (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2007 at 00:55:09

Funny thing to observe is the commercial for said SUVs and how they have 'off road capabilities', but when you look at passing cars, you can easily pick out SUV's and large trucks that never leave the road, and never do more work than carry people and groceries from the ones that do work and go off road.

You'd think that for the environment's sake there would be regulation on what sort of vehicals you can drive based off of your proffession, where you live, etc. Or at least have alot higher taxes on purchases of large vehicals.

I pray for the day I obtain an ENV Bike. (Google 'ENV Bike' for information)

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By sane one (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2008 at 22:18:20

All we need for the governement to regulate our vehicles is a nazi flag flying over the white house.

Besides, whats all the hype over hybrids when a gasoline powered mini gets better mpg then the prius could think of.


Id rather have a retired humvee, suck up all the oil over there then tap our vast oil lakes that lie beneth our feet.

fuckin hippies, always whining about something.

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By nieten7642 (anonymous) | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:07:50

Where to start. The premises of your naive editorial... they are all incorrect. "living the suburban dream in perpetuity" (whatever the hell that means), is indeed an indefinite reality, if this "suburban dream" as you refer to it simply means carrying on living our lives as we are now, driving the vehicle of our preference fueled by the energy source of our time. We can indeed "sustain" this both economically and ecologically... if we choose to. No destruction is being caused by continuing to do so.

I am SO tired of the self-righteous and narcissistic "eco" nuts out there who tell us we are all killing the planet by driving to work everyday or taking our kids to soccer. STOP the fear mongering. You people have an uncanny inability to connect the dots on anything, and the environment is yet another example of this.

It is none of your business what I drive. It is none of your business what I consume. It is none of your concern how much space I take up. If I can pay for it, then it is mine.

If your "Smart Car" were to get in an accident with an evil Hummer, then which vehicle owner is smarter now? How about getting stuck in the snow? How about going somewhere as a family?

You know what we should raise taxes on? Stupidity. That's right. Ryan McGreal should pay extra taxes for publishing ignorance like this. I am SO TIRED of the "GO GREEN" garbage I see on TV all the time... and most of you are CLUELESS to the fact that the vast majority of it is a MARKETING campaign by corporations to make you "feel better" buying their product. They are GUILTING you into buying their special light bulb, cleaner, or whatever they are selling.

You want to get more "green" vehicles on the road? I personally couldn't give a crap about how "green" my vehicle is (for COUNTLESS intelligent reasons that I could go into here but won't... at least not until requested), but if you want some free advice... here it is: Make "green" vehicles that are actually practical and make sense. Right now, the green vehicles that are available only appeal to the pious among us. How so? First of all, "green" vehicles make absolutely no sense economically. Any money you save in gas in the long run is erased by how much more hybrids cost initially. Make "green" vehicles make ECONOMIC sense, and then you will start to get consumers' attention.

Next... stop making them look like gay spaceships. I would not be caught DEAD in a "Smart Car".

Third, let's think about the REAL reasons people like SUVs. They hold more people (ie families) SUVs actually often cost less than mini vans (just discovered this) and have comparable gas mileages. They hold more stuff. They get better traction in inclimate weather. They go off road (I LOVE to camp and kayak, which makes ME an environmentalist, just not an "eco-nut"). They are stronger in a crash. They look like a REAL vehicle.

Now, if YOU don't have a family or friends you like to go places with, you like to travel light, you never drive in the snow, you never go off-road, you don't care about being crushed by almost any other vehicle on the road, and you LIKE the "gay space ship" look, then by all means get a Smart Car or a Fit... but leave the rest of us alone. We aren't interested in your self-righteous opinions.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2008 at 16:23:27

nieten7642 wrote:

It is none of your business what I drive. It is none of your business what I consume. It is none of your concern how much space I take up. If I can pay for it, then it is mine.

Thanks for your comment.

I'll meet you halfway: If the price of your consumer choice included the cost of all the negative externalities associated with that choice, I would agree with you completely on this statement.

As it is, those externalities are borne by society as a whole, which means that other people are forced to subsidize your choices.

So, your call: either agree to pay the real cost of your consumer choices, or agree that society will only subsidize your choices in exchange for the right to regulate the market framework in which you make them.

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By JoeCT (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2010 at 15:49:42

I think Ryan McGreal got his labels wrong... I think that the car in the second picture is actually called a "Hummer" and the car in the first picture is called the "Dumb Car."

Also, I'm sorry to hear that you aren't going to be able to "live the suburban dream in perpetuity." What happened? Did you finally realize that in order to earn an income, you must actually do something that benefits society? I'm sorry to hear that you have to move back into the over-crowded city. We who are continuing to live our dream will think of you.

Maybe instead of using the power of government to force people into shit cars that wouldn't even be able to get me into and out of my driveway during the months of November December January February and March, you should worry about your own life and your own lifestyle. This isn't Red China; America isn't an authoritarian dictatorship where every time a pantywaist no-nothing has a bad dream about the Coca-Cola Polar Bears we use the force of government to dictate how people live. Try educating ourself about the philosophy of enlightened self-interest and get off your self-righteous kick.

I noticed that someone commented and said they wish that the government would regulate what kind of car you can have based on your job?!?!?! What if you change jobs 10 times in your life??? What if you start your own business?? What if you start SEVERAL businesses?? Should the cars and planes only be available to the power-elite???

Man, people in America are SCARED OF FREEDOM these days!!! I never thought I would EVER see a population who is so scared to go out into the world without a Mommy and Daddy holding their hands... If this person thinks that the government has ANY RIGHT to dictate to a FREE PEOPLE what you can or cannot own, then I hope that same government silences people like you. But I DO NOT want the government to silence ANYONE!!! RESPECT THE CONSTITUTION, RESPECT PEOPLE'S FREEDOM, and just remember to LIVE AND LET LIVE.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 20, 2010 at 16:05:18

^ angry troll is angry.

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By loraine (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 03:37:13

i love hammer cars..

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By loraine (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 03:38:11

i hope i can have it..hmmm
starknight_loraine@yahoo.com

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