Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are cool, hip, and seem to be able to eat grass and jungle terrain for breakfast, or could they? Are we possibly the victim of a simple marketing bait and switch trick? Read on.
An SUV is a jack of all trades vehicle but is a master of none. By definition, it is “a passenger vehicle which combines the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or station wagon together with on or off road ability.”
Sounds like people were asking for a car that does everything. Well whatever the customer wants, the manufacturers will make a brick fly just to make revenue, and paint it hot pink too just to get the teenage demographics.
But seriously, here are several factors why SUVs are not recommended for the serious gas saver.
Safety. SUVs have a greater tendency for rollovers compared to regular passenger cars. This is because the SUV is constructed with a higher center of balance. On cornering situations, SUVs will be 14%-20% likely to tip over gloriously.
Risk to other passenger car owners. This may seem strange to you. But it makes a macabre sense. SUVs are built high and tough so when they figure in an automobile accident, regular passenger car and motorcycle owners are more likely to die from the sheer inertia of being struck by a larger moving object at high velocity.
Backover risk. SUVs are more likely to figure in running over someone when running the SUV in reverse. The risk is high for SUVs with no proximity alert. The height of the driver’s seat and the limited visibility does not afford the SUV driver any advantage.
Wide bodies. SUVs commonly have wider bodies than a passenger car so much that they leave less room for error when accidents occur. They also have some difficulty finding parking spaces and maneuvering in crowded areas.
Wrong mental assumptions. In a psychological study of SUV drivers, studies show that SUV drivers tend to get more into accidents because:
-Active to passive safety mindset. This means that the size and bulk of the SUV lulls them into a false sense of security, making SUV drivers rely on the car to protect them over using their eyes, and ears to active avoid an accident.
-4WD misconception. SUV drivers also assume that four-wheel drive function in their SUVs also help in braking, which does not. 4WD is there to aid in traction and does no significant impact in being an aid to braking situations.
-More reckless driving. A 2004 National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study showed that SUV drivers have an 11% chance to be involved in their own fatal accidents. The study shows that SUVs tend to be owned and driven by drivers willing to take higher risks and may be more likely to drive the SUV drunk.
Fuel Efficiency. There’s no other way to say it. SUVs consume more gas than the average passenger car due to the following factors:
-Larger tires create a higher drag coefficient. Wider and larger tires create a better grip, but is a detriment to overcoming wind resistance at high speeds, thus wasting gas.
-Higher profile creates a higher drag coefficient. Wider and higher profiles does not contribute to the SUV being aerodynamic, requiring brute force to overcome wind resistance at high speeds.
-Heavier size and weight requires more work to move the vehicle
-Larger engine consumes more gas. SUVs usually come in engine sizes larger than 2.0. If you must, the most fuel efficient engine is a turbodiesel.
-By and large, SUVs consume 40% more gas than the average passenger car.
What can be done?
SUVs will still be on the road, so if you’re a passenger car driver, what can you do?
Honk! Yes. Keep them alert by beeping them when you feel they’re getting too close for comfort.
Maintain active safety mode. Keep on using your senses to react fast to dangerous situations on the road.
Drive slower. You can also benefit from driving slower so you can react to situations in time.
What if I’m an SUV owner?
Sell the SUV and get a more fuel efficient and safer car. A good but drastic choice. If you love your SUV, you won’t be doing this.
Be more alert. Very good for you. Going into active safety mode will help you. This still does not solve the mileage problem.
Car pool. Saves gas but limits mobility. Your passengers will love it though. You’ll have more eyes looking out for danger too.
Drive slower. You can save gas and have enough time to react. Your SUV is bigger and heavier so you have nothing to worry about when something hits you, most of the time. Just remember to wear your seat belt.
Consider alternative fuels. 40% more fuel wasted is a big bill to pay. To save on fuel costs, you can use alternate fuels such as a hydrogen-on-demand (HOD) system to supplement your gas consumption. This system creates hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) gas on demand from a water medium to mix with the air and fuel in the combustion chamber for better performance.
What does a HOD system do?
Hydrogen when compressed an introduced to an internal combustion engine:
-Releases more energy than ethanol-based mixes, maintaining the overall power of the car
-Completely burns the fuel which gives cleaner emissions
-Raises the octane level of the fuel, preventing knocking, making the engine quieter
-Lowers overall engine temperature slightly
-Requires the engine to use less gas per cycle
Is it safe?
HOD systems generate hydrogen only on demand and are therefore safe. When no electricity is routed through the HOD system, no reaction is generated. No hydrogen is in storage in this system but is kept in medium, which is basically water.
Parts are sourced from everyday parts found in hardware shops and basic electronics stores. Total cost for a basic unit can range between $70 to over $200 USD.
What’s offered by most HOD enterprises are plans for do-it-yourself systems, with offers to build the system for the consumer if they so wish. This way the customer can opt to build it himself or to buy a unit once the concept is understood after obtaining the plans to prevent fraud.
For more information on HOD systems, increasing fuel economies, and support, please visit the URL below.