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Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #97: They're letting poor people get high! | Hagerty Media

"It's no longer possible to operate in the world and not understand that fossil fuels are violent. It's a kind of spectacular performance of power ... Together, the way these trucks look speaks to a rejection of communication, reciprocity, and legal accountability ... Burning fossil fuels can come to function as a knowingly violent experience ...
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-97-theyre-letting-poor-peo...
37 REPLIES 37
RallyRaid
Pit Crew

How do the Tesla Cybertruck and electric Hummer fit into all of this?

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The source article complains that electric trucks will be even more toxically masculine, or something like that, it's hard to precisely divine what's upsetting the writer about an American-made electric truck that looks like a spaceship.
uweschmidt
Detailer

Picup Trucks Like Harleys haveAdvanced To a Cult Status about 30% of the Pickups I see on the Road are an absolute necessity for their Owners Contractors of all types could not exist without them Hauling abig Trailer of any kind is also a job for a Big Pickup( thats another 20 %)and then there are the big Pickups that haul around ( mainly old Guys with HD Ball Caps that haul Nothing)(never did and probably never will and so the become used Pickups That aren't worn out and become useful for someone getting started So its all Good !!!!
gerald102413
Detailer

I'm more worried honestly of homeless individuals smoking near gas pumps which I see here very often in Southern California(Not sure about the rest of the country in the States). I had to let them know on numerous occasions the danger of that situation. 

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Good news is that when California goes all-electric that won't be an issue.

Bad news is that people will be fried alive trying to recharge their vape pens from a CHAdeMO.
JoeSixPack
Intermediate Driver

Once, I run out of vape juice in the middle of nowhere. I was tempted to take some coolant from my car. Do you have any advice for me when I switch to electric car? 🙂

Legal disclaimer: do not try this at home. I'm joking. Seriously 🙂
Scott_Cherf
Pit Crew

To make the coolant work in your vape pen you need to pee in it.
DogGone
New Driver

Based on Angie Schmitt's choice use of melodramatic phrasing ("spectacular performance"..."knowingly violent"..."white masculine power"..."massive, brutal"), one is drawn to suspect that she is projecting a certain desire or need through her writing. Bat signal received loud and clear, Ms. Schmitt.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

"50 Shades Of Lariat"
Scott_Cherf
Pit Crew

"Tie 'em down! Chap their cheeks! Rawhide!" 🙂
JoeSixPack
Intermediate Driver

Jack, a few counterpoints:
1. If you are going to discuss pedestrian deaths by HD pickups, try to find some "lies, damn lies, and you know what" to backup your claims. We, readers, are too lazy to do that ourselves 🙂
2. You are aware that there is backslash against Bentaygas of the world in cities? That is just not mentioned in this sorry piece of woke rant by Ms. Schmidt. Just look up the "Chelsea tractor".
3. My, very limited, experience in the US, says that people are using pickup trucks as their primary means of transportation. I saw a guy in Ram with dual wheels on Grandfather Mountain in NC. With wife, kid and empty pickup bed, enjoying nice family day. I came with a Focus, using well- paved road. I'd wager that no one is taking Mercedes Sprinter for a family trip unless he is really carrying something.
4. "The men driving them all looked the same—5-foot-10, ropy legs, and middle-aged turkey necks, wearing sweatshop athleisure, often sporting a permanent submissive-looking smile designed to express the #LifeIsGood rightness of their choices". This was totally unnecessary, and reminds me of The Guardian writers describing evil white males that harass oppressed brown feminists, in an article read by those same males. You can do better...
5. On what grounds do you describe yourself as poor guy? You own some nice cars, are an editor of well-known magazine, and, if I'm not wrong, have some background with software engineering. That doesn't count as typical coal-rolling redneck :).

And a rant:
Why is US, and US only, obsessed with body on frame pickup trucks for personal use? I'm not aware of a country with good road network that uses them in such numbers. You are aware that Europeans (contractors, delivery guys etc) are using Sprinters, Transits and Dailys, or something much smaller. Pickup trucks are a rarity, and all of them are small ones (think Navara, not Titan). In Australia, they use monocoque pick ups. Even in Russia, where roads (in wild parts) can be really "challenging", everyone who needs a work vehicle uses either GAZ Gazelle or serious off-roader, not a pickup.
I'm not trying to tell anyone what he/she should drive, I'm genuinely curious.
END Rant

Keep up the good work, Jack. This article couldn't have been published in Car and Driver these days...
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Thank you for this, a few responses:

1. From the CDC, (https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/pedestrian_safety/index.html), "Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, at non-intersection locations, and at night." This is precisely where you DON'T expect to find pickup trucks.
2. I know people are annoyed with SUVs in cities... but that's not part of this piece, because it doesn't worry the lady who wrote the article.
3. You're absolutely correct. HD pickups are often used as family transportation, both by rural one-percenters who can afford an $80,000 truck and by working people who only have one vehicle.
4. I wasn't trying to start a pogrom against middle-aged men --- I am one! --- but I was struck by the uniformity of the people who have these things. I suspect they all think they are ruggedly individual.
5. The fact that I was born in New York, or that I studied poststructuralism in school, or that I have a Savile Row tailor --- none of that matters very much to the urban media set, all of whom treat people who live in "flyover country" as beneath contempt.

And now for the answer to your rant:

The USA is obsessed with 20-foot body-on-frame pickup trucks for personal use... because they are GREAT! They outlast Euro-vans, cost less to maintain, are more pleasant to drive, can be operated on more varied terrain, retain half of their original retail price with 125,000 miles on the clock, and they can carry everything from six mountain bikes to a home-improvement project.

Anywhere the law doesn't specifically prevent or tax laws don't punish the ownership of vehicles like this, people gravitate to them. If you go to Thailand, for example, you'll see that everyone who can afford an Isuzu pickup has one, and the higher the better.

The United States has long been about the only place in the world where a blue-collar worker can afford something like an F-150. That's your answer: we buy them because we can. 🙂
JoeSixPack
Intermediate Driver

Jack,
thanks for the thorough answer. I've had to lookup what "poststructuralism" is, and I count as "educated". You learn something new each day.

Now, a suggestion for future article: I'm surprised by your "They outlast Euro-vans, cost less to maintain..." statement. I'm not arguing it, I'm sure you know better. But, I would like to know why is "Euro Van" (pick which ever one you like, eg. Sprinter) ,with four cylinder diesel and manual transmission, more fragile and expensive than pickup with six cylinder Cummings or Hemy and Alison planetary gearset.
I know vans and pickup trucks are not flashy as Neue Klasse rust buckets you guys write about, but I would like to read a comparison of technical solutions and build methods by one of technical heavy weights in your team. I personally don't need such vehicles, this is just my engineering curiosity.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

This is an outstanding idea!

Without having done substantive research, I will give you my thoughts as to why pickup trucks outlast vans, in no particular order:

0. Vans are sold by price and cost-per-mile across a usage period that is set by tax laws. Therefore they tend to be optimized for a certain price and durability. As an example, Mercedes-Benz does not appear to have much interest in rustproofing Sprinters. And why should they, when the IRS specifies a five-year depreciation period for vans? By contrast, pickups are sold to individual buyers, who are brand-loyal over price and who expect their trucks to last far longer than five years.

1. The diesel in a Sprinter is working much closer to max capacity than the V8 in an American truck. Although they weigh a similar amount, the Sprinter has 188 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque; my Silverado has 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Which one is likely to last longer under similar operating conditions?

2. Vans are optimized for payload and cargo space; today's pickups are hardly concerned with the latter and vastly above customer needs on the former. Take a look underneath a Transit, and look at how big all the bolts are. Then look under an F-150.

3. Euro vans are 4x4 only as an afterthought, while the majority of new pickups in America are 4x4. This is reflected in the specification, and durability, of their drivetrains.

4. American pickups are optimized for our conditions, not global conditions.


JoeSixPack
Intermediate Driver

Wow, I've never thought about engineering in terms of bean counters law. Except for notorious, and wildly applied in Europe, engine displacement based tax.
Reminds me of Russian WWII hardware. No one cared how much T 34 engine lasts (300 km, I think), because tank will be blown up before that.

And hat tip for zero-based indexing. I assume that you are trying to tell me you have done something other than BASIC.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Atari 6502 assembler 4 lyfe as the kids say!
AG1962
Detailer

Plus: a body-on-frame vehicle is much easier to repair, swap, re-body, modify, mix-and-match, re-engineer, chop, channel, or otherwise re-imagine than a monocoque, which is a fixed shape that requires far more effort and precision to un-warp in case of an accident or to rebuild in case of rust. Heavy frames hardly rust at all over 5 years, but we know what happens to Sprinters in that time. I had a 1976 ¾ ton Suburban with a 454 (my 5’4” wife’s favourite vehicle ever). Its frame was perfectly solid in 1996, with 20 years of Prairies road salt and constant use. The body was going, but that would have been easily fixed if we had had the money in those days.
BTW, I worked for 25 years close to people who wrote articles like the one you mentioned, Jack. I am afraid there is often a certain slippage that promotes unpleasant individual experiences (I witnessed this idiot doing this idiotic thing in this kind of jacked-up truck, say) to literary generalizations about entire classes of phenomena (rural guys who drive trucks are that kind of idiot, say). Who in “fly-over country” (1989-2018 for me) has not encountered a toxic bro-dozer rolling coal in a theatrical way, or just driving like an idiot? Yet how many pickup drivers are really like that? Two percent? Maybe five? That author was making a slag heap out of a clinker.
Scott_Cherf
Pit Crew

You forgot to mention second hand smoke...
RallyRaid
Pit Crew

A correction for JoeSixPack and debating the tax point from Jack:

 

1. Since Australians gravitated away from buying locally manufactured large sedans, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger have tussled for top selling model each month. So we’re in the body on frame camp and the monocoque utes - along with all local vehicles - have ended production. You can’t even buy a Subaru Brumby, Suzuki Mighty Boy or a Proton Jumbuck these days!

 

2. Jack mentions where taxes aren’t prohibitive, buyers gravitate towards pickups. There may be some truth in that, but the example of Thailand is unfair because their tax laws actually subsidise pickups by treating them as commercial vehicles. And Australia has reduced tariffs on imports above a certain ride height (which is why the 2002 Volvo XC70 had its price slashed compared to the lower riding original Cross Country).


Similar to everyone wearing baggy or tight jeans, scale is normalised by your environment. I was always shocked when parking a borrowed Expedition in Texas, to find it was bigger than the Landcruiser next to it on one side, but smaller

than the dual rear axle pickup behemoth on the other!

 

My sister-in-law’s Lincoln MKX was downsized in my head to the equivalent of a 3 Series. It’s not a bad thing to be in something large when surrounded by freight hauling trucks on the interstate...

luv2fly2
Intermediate Driver

Another great article,Jack. Almost convinced me to buy one......maybe. Dino burner. No trons.
E77
New Driver

Hi Jack,
You previously responded to my Ask Jack query ("It's got to be special every time!"). I just wanted to let you know that I followed the spirit of your advice and have been enjoying the results. I didn't buy a sports car...I acquired a low mileage, rust-free '99 GMC C3500 7.4L dually. I get all the fun of working on an older vehicle, the utility and usefulness of a truck (next mission is to pair it with a similarly aged fifth wheel camper), and my Mazdaspeed3 now feels like a tiny rocketship by comparison. Now I really understand "it handles like a truck". Great fun.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Oooh... that's a NICE truck to have.
You are now just a U-Haul (and a race car) away from having a race car!
el_zato
Intermediate Driver

Fun fact: The reason there are no compact pickup trucks like the Volkswagen Saveiro in the USA is because of the Chicken Tax. As its name implies, it's a retaliation tax on imported compact trucks in response to an european tariff on American chicken meat. Because you gotta be protected against evil compact pick ups.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

It's easy to beat the Chicken Tax: Ford does it with the Transit Connect. You just put seats in it and then throw the seats in the ocean. Incidentally, that's apparently why the Subaru BRAT had seats: SoA didn't want to throw them away.
drjim
Detailer

Well done, Jack. This column and the comments/responses are among the best I've read here on Hagerty.

I grew up in a semi-hicksvile, then spent 35 years in Lost Angeles. Now I'm living back in a semi-hicksville, and bought my first pick-up truck last summer. Ms. Schmitt and her ilk would not like me.

And I don't care a hoot about it.....

- Jim
relton
Detailer

I had lots of pickup trucks, Chevys, over the years. Now that I'm retired, I have an El Camino. It's a truck for people that don't work very hard.

The limited bed space keeps me from being roped into big projects by friends and acquaintances. The lowered suspension, big wheels, suspension upgrades, including a rack and pinion conversion make it as much fun to drive as my BMW.

Jackis right about American pickups. I just like mine on a smaller scale.
Sluicehotbox
Pit Crew

The point of conversion vans is store your bikes, tools, motorcycles and gear in a nondescript place when you are parking. I like the idea of one because after you are done at the track you can stop at a restaurant, or friends house in the area and not have your items get messed with or stolen. Plus you don't have to strap things down as tight which is better for the bikes suspension. However, after test driving pre-production Promasters, I would die before I drive another van.
mhealy1
Detailer

I’m glad to see that nobody in these posts is suggesting elimination of big pickups. While my toy may be your useless, when we join the “no need” or “too dangerous” crowd we run the risk of empowering the government nannies. Said nannies have more than vehicles in their sights; joining them on one topic risks encouraging them to tackle the next, possibly one near and dear to your heart.
As far as where electric trucks fall in all of this: have you seen many (any?) electric trucks in your power company’s fleet?
Bmike
Detailer

I like articles about cars.
SJacobT
Detailer

Well, the Hagerty demographic probably slews toward old, white-dude (guilty!), so it’s important to throw some meat to the real Americans...
OptimusPrime
Intermediate Driver

Only old white dudes are "real Americans?" Interesting take.
Flashman
Instructor

Coincidently enough, I read that Bloomberg article last week. I never thought you'd take the time to eviscerate the conceit (and publicize the article) but I'm glad you did. I am in the middle on pickup trucks. There are more and more of them appearing in the mid-sized city in which I live. If you need one, there is no substitute, but too many people have them who don't need them; it's more about the image. On the other hand, almost all auto ownership is.

And, right on about the titles of modern books. It's just a phase.
Scott_Cherf
Pit Crew

Who's Frank Herbert? Why do I care? What does he say about trucks?

"Fear is the mindkiller..." 🙂

Living in what used to be California back in 1960. It's a beautiful State and I love it dearly and if we could just replace all the Californians with undocumented aliens from Mexico we'd be doing pretty well. I personally own and operate a 2005 Chevy K3500 Diesel Dually Crew Cab with the 6+ Liter motor. Love the darned thing, a lot like driving a 747. Can't park it anywhere but it's hell on pedestrians...
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

Commies used to admit that they were at war with the middle class, because they assumed people in the middle class didn't know the definition of the Bourgeoisie. They used to come right out and say they wanted to murder the middle class, counting on their belief that middle class people ignored the French. When the aspiring totalitarians of the globalist left say they want to restrict access to fossil fuels, what they really want to do is put the middle class toothpaste back in the tube. No oil means no freedom of movement. No freedom of movement means easy dominance by the people in control. No oil means no food safety or food diversity. No oil means very few single family homes. No oil means no life expectancies beyond peak productive years for the people who are today middle class because of the surpluses enabled by oil. The Great Reset that everyone from the World Economic Forum to Prince Charles is comfortable bragging about in public is the restoration of global slavery. As long as people like Angie Schmitt and Bill Gates feel empowered to share their ideas without consequences, that is where we are heading.

SJacobT
Detailer

Wow, that’s quite a logical goat-trail to oblivion...
JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

Good article. I live in MS, and I have several trucks. Old pickups, an old 1.5 ton truck, and a modern (2000 model) dually for hauling old non-running crap, or the tractor, or the 5th wheel camper. Several commenters mentioned that a lot of folks don't need a truck, that they just have them for the image. But really, that can be said about almost any vehicle. Since when did anyone need a Camaro? The only way we aren't picking out vehicles for the image, or how they make us feel, or any other reason is if we all start driving Ladas, Trabants, etc. Coincidentally, I would love to add a communist car to my not-a-collection collection.
b_l_newman
Pit Crew

I guess what resonated for me was remembering the time some self-righteous (fill in the blank) left a note under the wiper blade of my Lincoln Navigator saying "I am sure you are a good person and don't want to destroy the planet. So, why do you drive an SUV?" This was in economically blighted Westlake Village, CA - so, little doubt the miscreants who did it got Mom and/or Dad and/or Nanny to drive them to their activism in something Teutonic and expensive. It made me want to go home and start all of my gas-powered toys, tools and vehicles just to let them idle.