Poor Vehicle Choice (or so I was informed)

I got a note stuck on my car on Sunday. From an organisation wanting to ban urban 4×4 vehicles. I drive a Honda CR-V. It is the cleanest, safest, most economical vehicle in its class. Indeed, it isn’t even a 4×4 in normal driving conditions because it only switches to all wheel drive when the terrain demands it.

Anyway, the note piqued me somewhat so I wrote an email to them, explaining a few things. Thought I’d share it with you. Please write and disagree if you want. It actually opens up an interesting debate, I think. I refer to subjects and text on the note, so excuse the apparently random references at times.

Here’s the text:

I was touched to receive one of your terribly witty spoof parking tickets on my Honda CR-V on Sunday in Richmond Town Centre. That’ll be the town over which planes casting out a level of CO2 that make my car’s emissions vanishingly small. I wonder if the poster of the note ever gets on an aircraft. Actually it wasn’t that funny but it was misleading, myopic, offensive, patronising and ignorant. You see, the trouble with protest groups like yours is that they use statistics and assumptions without any recourse to balance, need or the actual circumstances of the individual. You compare those cars you hate (and I agree, some of them are expensive to run and chuck out too much in the way of CO2 than is desirable) against vehicles that bear them no relation whatever. In which world is any 4×4 comparable to a SMART car? But more of that later.

You’ll be terribly glad to know that I indulged in some research having received your flyer. It made me very satisfied with my choice of vehicle. My choice of car is neither dirty, nor particularly dangerous (it has a three star rating as I expect you know and while that isn’t perfect, it ain’t bad, is it?). It actually runs at 215 in CO2 emissions, not 220 as you erroneously suggest. Again, not perfect but that outperforms around 90% (now that’s an estimate based on my research but at least I admit it might not be absolutely accurate, eh?) of the cars currently on the roads in this country allowing for age, ranges and maintenance of the average motor vehicle. It’s urban MPG is 24.6, not 23.2 as you erroneously suggest. That puts it uncomfortably close to the apparently clean Ford Mondeo 2.0 litre but hey, let’s not let audited figures get in the way of your pathetic attempts at bullying, shall we?

My car does not weigh 3 tons. It does not do 12 mpg. Before you put another piece of paper on my car, get your facts straight. In addition, the Honda CR-V, as you well know, I’m sure, has an intelligent driving system that means it runs as a front wheel drive car unless the terrain demands 4 wheel drive. Hence in town, it is not a 4×4 because it does not need to be. That’s why it does almost 25 mpg, you know.

I understand you’d rather I drove a SMART car or rode a bicycle, right? Excellent idea. I’ll send the children to a home and shoot the dog, shall I? Or perhaps you’d like to pop round to my place and explain how I transport children and animals using one of these preferred vehicles. And before you bluster about how I must get a people carrier or an estate car, take a damned good look at the emissions, mpg etc of most of this class of car on the road. You’ll find, rather uncomfortably for you, that the Honda CR-V stacks up pretty damned well. Yep, it’s not at the top, but it’s nowhere near the bottom either. When I make my very infrequent trips into London, I do it in my car if I have to. Or perhaps you’d rather I bought a second vehicle for this purpose. Now there’s a plan, put another car on the road. And yes, I do go to Homebase, and not just on bank holidays. But again, we must chat about how I carry the paint, tiles, lamps, cables, bricks, organic fertilisers and rain water butts on my bicycle.

I know these things because I looked into the market in considerable depth before making my vehicle choice. This is because I care about the environment. No, I was not conned and your patronising paragraph about the Himalayas is laughable in its intent. Is that really why you think people buy 4x4s? Give me strength. Yes, to some they are status symbols etc but to people like me, they are the car that actually fits on my drive, that actually has the interior space I need to live my life, that actually does no more damage to the environment than most similar-sized non 4x4s.

You see, what is most offensive and ignorant about your campaign is that you know nothing about me, where I live, the requirements of my life, nothing. Yet you encourage like–minded sheep to plant litter on my windscreen (I’ll recycle the note, but I wonder how many just drop it on the ground?). I do walk. Nearly everywhere. In fact I’ll bet you a considerable sum that I am far fitter than the majority in your organisation. We really must play five sets of tennis one day to find out. I do use buses. And trains. And the underground. I understand the issue facing the planet. I air dry my washing. I collect rainwater in butts, I recycle everything that I can. Even my dog’s crap is converted to an ecologically friendly fertiliser. I do not need buffoons like you to tell me how to save the planet. Here’s another wager for you… that actually, I consume less of the environment than the majority of your organisation. It’s all about balance, isn’t it? And you have no balance. How can you? You are a single-issue campaign.

The sad thing is, that I agree with the issue underlying your campaign. Belching out less C02 is clearly a good thing. So why don’t you turn your attention to sports cars, old cars, badly maintained cars, trucks, vans, tractors, buses over three years old, diesel trains… oh and while we’re at it, if you really want to make a difference, blockade Heathrow Airport. Now there really is the seat of C02 hell. But of course, that might upset your holiday plans, mightn’t it? Drat, ah well, let’s stick to the easy and visible target, shall we?

Let’s face it, unless you live in a tent in the New Forest burning only 2-year-dried wood, you are consuming as much if not more of the environment than I am. I respect that you want to do something but I do not respect the narrow focus of your anger. And I urge you to remove the Honda CR-V from your list. It blatantly is not a car that is bad for the environment in the manner you imply. Before you or any of your misguided acolytes dares to slap another ticket on my car, do me the decency of finding out if I actually deserve it or not. Have them wait by my car and talk to me so we can discuss whether I am a net consumer of resources or not in comparison to them, rather than leaving an anonymous sheet of paper on my windscreen, which is indeed an act of cowardice, is it not? Or I shall come and inspect your vehicle, your house and your lifestyle and find out if you are worthy of the campaign you run.

I respect your right to protest. I also respect the right of people to make choices that benefit their lives. I do not respect ignorance and I do not respect careless waste.

Hope you enjoyed it… I love a good, honest and tempered rant


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• September 11th, 2006 • Posted in News • Comments: 0