Hit the Road, Jerk!

OpEd appeared in January 11th edition of Times of London.

Published: 12-Jan-2003

All together now, you SUV drivers ... 'hit the road, jerk'
ben macintyre

This is the confession of a gas-guzzler: when I lived in the United States, we had an SUV, or sports utility vehicle, the great baby-boomer status symbol. There was no finer pleasure than hitting the open American road with my mean, fat-tyred machine roaring, a lone gas station up ahead, my dawg beside me, the rifles nestling in the gun rack, the wind in my hair. OK, we didn’t have a dog, or a gun, and I try to avoid getting wind in my hair to preserve what remains of it. And it was really a wannabe SUV, the sort designed to allow suburban soccer moms to imagine they’re in Idaho when they are stuck on the beltway during the school run.

It didn’t have a name like the Ford Possumcrusher or the Dodge Richgit, and it looked like a matchbox car alongside my neighbour’s Humvee H2, a thinly disguised tank designed by the US military and favoured by Arnold Schwarzenegger and other Republican intellectuals. But it did have four-wheel drive, and it was very expensive to run. That car was my little bit of the American Dream.

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