Values, beliefs, habits, etc. do change from person to person in our culture. But to say there are no social norms completely contradicts the idea behind social norms. Social norms are unwritten rules that everyone in a society lives by. There might not be a reason for the norm, but that’s just how people of this society live. There are many popular social norms in American society. The social norms indicate the established and approved ways of doing things, of dress, of speech and of appearance, however its up to the individual to choose to follow these ‘norms’. That’s the freedom that makes America great.
Carmakers make SUVs because that’s what people want to buy. If you love your SUV then enjoy it, however I recommend you ignore this persuasive and look away, but more importantly ignore David Goewey, author of 1999 award winning term paper “Careful, You May Run Out Of Planet”. The essay spoke about the underlying problems in SUVs that many don’t know about and problems many purposely ignore. David Goewey had also published a book called “Crash Out”, and now is working as a college professor. He intelligently and successfully batters at SUVs and there ‘necessity’ to Americans.
If you do not think SUV propaganda effects the consumer, then ask your self is it just a coincidence that SUVs became trendy after SUV advertising rose nearly nine-fold from $172. 5 million in 1990 to $1. 5 billion in 2000(Baker 19). Advertisers gear their ads towards their target audiences. There are hundreds of vehicles on the market, what makes SUVs so popular? Its hard and heavy looking design is intimidating to a small little car. For years trucks were predominantly only driven by men, the sports utility vehicle or “SUV” changed America how we knew it.
As of 1999 women were 40% responsible of SUV sales. (Storck 79) SUV ads only show women when they’re chauffeuring around their children from school, soccer practice, basically normal driving that is done on paved roads. Otherwise commercials show these SUVs on these big boulders or in 2 feet of mud driven by rugged men. Why do they show woman with their children? Every mother wants their children to be safe at all times, what appears to the untrained human eye to be safer the 4 door sedan, or the double size and weight SUV?
SUVs are no safer than cars for their occupants, and pose much greater dangers for other road users. SUV occupants die slightly more often than car occupants in crashes. SUVs are several times more likely to roll over than a car because of bigger wheels and higher suspensions (Garcia 10). Here’s a scary true story, in 2010 one of my closest friends, who just had a stellar high school baseball season and summer season got an offer to play baseball at Big East Rutgers New Brunswick in August. In September, he was with some friends in the back seat of an SUV on their way to a local McDonalds in Hunterdon, NJ.
The truck had to sway out of the way of a car driving n the wrong side of a dark rural paved road and flipped 3 times tossing the star athlete out of the truck and placing him in critical condition. But it that’s just another instance of occupants getting seriously injured in a SUV rollover. Goewey wants to know why, why do Americans need these SUVs, yes they’re sort of convenient, but their drivers do not know that the least safe terrain for an SUV is a paved road. SUVs are made for off-roading however only 10% leave surface streets or highways (Storck 99).
Mid-sized and large cars provide the same seating room as mid-sized SUVs, so unless you have to drive your kids to school through a swamp why not stick with the safer, more efficient car? Efficiency? Goewey repeats himself over and over regarding this, shooting off fact after fact. These big trucks are not only unsafe in accidents, but also are not good for the future of earth. SUV’s gas efficiencies are a joke. The author talks about one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the GMC Suburban. Goewey likes using a cause and effect and backs it up facts to get his point across.
He gets into the numbers, the numbers are self-exclamatory. On page 155, Goewey says, “The GMC Suburban ‘asserts’ itself with a 42 gallon gas tank, and has a generous estimated 16 miles a gallon. ” Goewey quotes the reputable Environmental Protection Agency in the next passage; the quote read, “Automobiles must meet an economy standard of 27. 5 miles per gallon, SUVs however only have to clear 20. 7 miles per gallon. ” Many don’t even achieve that. Oil is a non-renewable resource if you didn’t know, and by having these gas-guzzlers we as Americans are only speeding up the process of drying out oil internationally.
Pollution is the one of the big causes of global warming. Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen by 25 percent from the increased use of fossil fuels in the last century (McKibben 9, 18). SUVs Goewey goes at his reader with the same strategy, cause and effect, with facts. What method can be stronger? He hits us with strong statements with harsh scary facts to back them up, an extremely effective way to influence his reader. Americans use SUVs as a way to make themselves feel better. SUVs are another example of American culture expanding.
These thousands of pounds loads of steel with wheels are nothing but something ‘cool to have’; they are simply never utilized in trails like they are made for. It is a form of power over everyone’s little sedan on the road and also a peace of mind to its driver. Goewey even says on page 155 “At the end of the twentieth century, the SUV perfectly embodies an American mythology of conquest and control. Its nothing but a symbol that we get through anything as Americans, but it is more of a denial of the past, present, and future. Future being the deterioration of our ozone layer through burning more gas then necessary.