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back to article Hummer glummer on high oil price bummer

General Motors has revealed it is planning to offload its iconic Hummer business, because sales of the tank-like range of SUVs and trucks are, well, tanking. The US car industry as a whole is suffering amid rising oil and steel prices and general economic malaise. GM plans to scale back production by mothballing four of its big …

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Hummer

The saddest thing about the recent Hummer's is that they're hardly Hummer's at all. The thing that made the original Humvee a Humvee was that it had hubbed axles giving it tremendous ground clearance which made it a good off-road vehicle, which was, of course, the point of the whole thing. The new ones are just ridiculously large, ugly bodies on a standard leaf-sprung pickup chassis. They have no redeeming features unless you are specifically looking for a car that will let people know you are an asshole. I suppose it's nice of these people to provide me with that service saving me the trouble of actually having to speak to them to find out though. Expect the number of Boxster sales in the US to skyrocket.

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Giant engines...

Last time the US went from monster engines to efficiency was horrendous. It is hard to argue the appeal of the 50s and 60s and early 70s cars. Even a fairly standard family truckster had at least a V-8 351 or 350 under the hood (bonnet.) Then suddenly the advent of the American four-cylinder engine...cringe. Weight saving and high efficiency. I remember the four-cylinder Mustang that was not worthy to carry the badge. It was the Dark Ages. Unfortunately this was at the same time that the Japanese started kicking our asses too, so to keep costs low they cut quality again and again.

During the Dark Ages, an ex-girlfriend's mother used to drive an older station wagon with a whopping 450 or so cubic inches of displacement. She refused to sell it because she used to delight in absolutely crushing sportscar drivers with newer cars and puny wind up engines at the stoplight. This grocery getter could actually E/T like a champ due to the massive engine. It was quite clearly an anachronistic beast from another epoch.

We may be witnessing an end to an era, but this whole cycle has happened before - back in the 70s...

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Happy

Hummers are more than just a fashion statement!

On July 4, 2007, I was involved in a severe auto accident that has changed my life forever. I was hit from the rear by a person driving a mid-size car that was traveling in excess of 70mph. Thank God I was driving a large Crew cab p/u truck. That was the only thing that saved my life. Having to replace my vehicle do to the accident, and realizing that the size, construcion, and weight of my previous truck was the only thing that saved my life, I chose to purchase a H2 Hummer. Sure I may piss of the environmentalist because of the high fuel consumption of the H2, but I know based on the construction of the H2, the very large frame design, and the high weight, myself and my family are better protected from a severe impact than in a small, light weight, fuel efficient car. Since owning this vehicle I have also discovered the extra power and off road capabilities are an added bonus that have been usefull in everything from outdoor recreational activities to assisting other motorist in need as well as two unfortunate emergency situations. This is just my point of view and I don't expect that it will change those who just don't like the H2 for whatever reason.

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Still waiting for fuel efficiency

30 years ago I got 55mpg from my moggie thou that was already 20 years old, still waiting to match that (apart from a horrendous drive down West Africa in a 2cv) even though I'm now driving diesel. Economical cars could work but please could I have one?

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Dead Vulture

scumbags

Boohoo GM, looks like you should've gone with the EV1 huh?

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Anonymous Coward

Or you can buy an Audi Q7

From a road test in Car Magazine...

"On our 700-mile test drive, petrol consumption varied from 24.3mpg on the freeway to 17.0mpg on a brisk cross-country drive. Clearly thirsty work."

But since it's not American, nobody will mention it.

Pip, pip!

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Zac
Coat

@Slaine

Someone else crazy enough to tuck in behind a truck on the motorway then: I got nearly 800 miles from a diesel 106 commuting from Bristol to Gloucester.

Apparently the closer you go the more economy you get per mile according to the Mythbusters: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/follow-that-truck.html

I would get pretty close and knew I'd be minced if anything went wrong.

As to Hummers and their demise, about time but they will always be around in one form or another as there are many people in the world that need an extension to thier ego/ penis size/ height. As for them being safe due to size, indeed this is true as you will definitely kill all the folk in the car you crash into. But what the hey, as long as you're ok.

Mine's the one with the Evil Knievel picture and white tassels.

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...But we need big vehicles...

Has anyone ever traveled with someone (for me it is my "significant other") who needs to take the venerable "kitchen sink" to feel "secure". Yes, you need a nice big vehicle (me: I use a Ford Explorer!) just to carry all the stuff. The 4-5 day outing trip needs all sorts of large bags, and comfort items (drinks, food, etc.) just to go. Yes, of course, I'd like to "travel light" and take the nice speedy Porsche 356 that I used to drive. The problem is that with the wife's stuff, the thing would be "overgrossed" to day the least.

That being said, the Hummer is just about the worst vehicle I've ever seen. The only thing it is good for is B-roll on CSI-Miami. In the catagory of bad vehicles (uglyness, functionality, etc..) the only thing that MIGHT rate worse is a Cadillac Escalade, which I rate as the ultimate "pimp-mobile". Ugly and boxy. If you are going to get something like that, get the "original" H-1 like the military uses. Yes, it will go everywhere, yes, it is ugly, yes, it is noisy, yes you can carry armor plating, but it will get you there! No, it is not a "lady's car", no "girly men" need apply.

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Go

@John Freas

HA! hahahhahhaaaaaaaaa, Funniest comment in the thread.

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Happy

And the worst thing is ...

... watching all the idiots in the parking lot with the engines running while somebody runs inside the store "for a second".

My Fit (Jazz to you) gets me around 32 mpg around town. It's only got 1800 miles on it and I haven't made a road trip with it, so don't know about highway miles. And it's got plenty of room.

My 96 Civic 5 sp coupe regularly got me 35-38 mpg on the highway. At 75-80 mph. With the rear seat down, I was able to carry four slicks, a jack and a reasonable tool kit in the back. Oh yeah, "never raced". (Not really slicks, BFG R1s)

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Anonymous Coward

@ Guy

some people might say that it doesn't matter how terrible your orthography is as long as you have something to say, I personally feel the other way, that if you have something to say and want others to respect what you have to say, you should show respect for others first and care about your orthography.

* we're good vehicles => we are good vehicles => doesn't make sense

you meant to write "were good vehicles"

* their horrbile => doesn't make sense

you meant to write "they're horrible" which is short for "they are horrible"

* theirs these => doesn't make sense

you meant to write "there's these" which is short for "there is these" which is technically not correct either as it should really be "there are these".

Note, I mean no offese and I am not saying you're wrong, I'd simply like to encourage you to take orthography a little more seriously ;-)

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Gates Horns

Taxes

Every time we have a fuel crisis the chancellor plays Mr. good guy and makes out he is doing us a favour by suspendig a planned rise.

Clearly this is a lie as its worked out on a % basis so if fuel rises he gets his increase (and more) anyway.

What I really don't understand is why it is not a fixed amount. Clearly when the budget is set he works out his figures and plans say a 2p rise based on the current price. So why not just make it a fixed amount. So say annouce that for the next year the tax levy will be say 80p per lite. That way as fuel rises (or god forbid drops) he still gets what he budgeted for.

Truth is there is nothing the government likes more than rising fuel prices as it fills all the big holes in their financial policies.

I guess since they have all but banned smoking they have had to get that revenue from somewhere and now that they are trying to stop everyone drinking expect even more increases to cover the tax lost.

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Happy

@Kwac - Optional armour

Hmmm, you raised a good point there which needs addressing.

How about if we send the drunken hen-night girls in a Hummer out against the insurgents (crazed / non-crazed, delete as applicable). Who would win then? Can you make functional Molotov cocktails from Bacardi Breezers? Is there such a thing as a kevlar boob-tube? I think the Reg should investigate this in depth.

Before you answer too hastily, consider the carnage in your average British city centre on a Saturday night.

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@ Bike riding greenies

Bet you live in a F**cking city or large town?

I do ride a bike (yes I did about 15 miles on it yesterday).

One problem, I live 10 very hilly miles from work, where there is almost no public transport, except the train, but as that takes 2 -3 hours each way, I think not.

Then I can be called to go to any part of the country at a moments notice, should a system fail, maybe with a server thrown in the boot.

How do I tell my boss the site will be down for a few days while I pedal to site.

Live outside of your bubbles and see how most of us non city folk live.

Granted I could move closer to work, but as it's a shithole, I'd prefer not.

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So the journey around the "Mobius Loop" continues

So the ghost of Chairman Ronnie's "It seemed like a good idea at the the time but was really crap for every consumer some thirty odd years down the track " still haunts the land of the imprisoned and paranoid !

One of life's irony's , for Jimmy Carter was right and the Chairman was wrong at every avenue has been proven in the fullness of time as hyper stagflation returns to blight all lands from bad choices done in another era !

For as they say those that do not learn from history are but doomed to repeat the same mistakes as they follow the "mobius loop" to it's conclusion , for the writing was on the wall January 10th 2001 in plain sight and had been so since 1973 !

PS Interesting fact about the entire range of vehicles being canned by GM , is that in none of those mentioned will the standard roof A, B & C pillars support the weight of the vehicle ! Interestingly in that 3% of of all accidents involving the vehicle rolling over amount to almost one third of those killed in motor vehicle incidents !

So one could say in closing the plants where less then 35% of the annual production is actually sold in any twelve month period GM is about to reduce the road toll a decade later by a startlingly large percent point !

As for the SUV drivers thus the question becomes are you wearing a full racing car bone dome or have you fitted a full racing car roll cage and if the answer is no "welkome to a wing and prayer one foot planted firmly in the grave driving style"

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Dead Vulture

boo bloody hoo

At current exchange rates petrol here in the uk costs $9.23 per US wet gallon.

US wet gallon = 3.785411784 litres

UK petrol per litre = £1.25

exchange rate = 1:1.95012

Cry me a bloody river.

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@AC "Daniel is right"

...and blow me down, an American commenting on British dentistry. Oh, how my sides are splitting. Oh, the wit. Oh, how relevant.

Let's see if we can follow your devastating logic a bit (I've got some time to waste): are you effectively saying that Americans should carry on driving SUVs and Hummers and other assorted useless vehicles with shitty mileage because -- wait for it -- their teeth are in better condition?

Coward, you're a moron. But I suppose your teeth look great.

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Happy

More fuel efficient cars required

Get a Smart roadster Brabus / Smart ForTwo, naff reliability and impratical but does 255 miles on £22 (At 2007 prices) worth of petrol thanks to its 0.7litre turbo engine. Wouldnt ever want one again but i always loved its fuel economy.

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@Jason Harvey

"of course, it does help that I only drive about 5 miles (one way) to work so I don't have to fill up too often."

Why don't you get a bike.

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Unhappy

Hello America....

.....and welcome on joining the rest of the world in the 21st Century.

It will take you a while to aclimatise but most of us have managed over the past few years. Nice to see you.

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Flame

And why is gas $4 a (US) Gallon?

Because the world is burning oil fast than it is pumping it out of the ground. It has been for the last 18 months.

The US is heading rapidly for $5 gas very soon. They are importing 1 Million barrels a day LESS than they are consuming. Their (commercial) storage tanks run dry in 4-6 weeks at this rate. The headline oil price may have slipped from $135 to $122 in the last couple of weeks, but it is just pausing for breath.

There is also a global shortage of diesel fuel. This is the primary cause of the oil price rise. Demand is growing even faster than for petrol, and the uses are even more inelastic. I anticipate we could facing diesel fuel rationing in the next two years.

We are in an unprecedented and PERMANENT energy crisis.

Adapt, or go without.

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Stop

@ Stu Reeves

Ok, I take up your challenge:

- I live ~15 km from where I work (should work out around 10+ miles)

- hilly might be the correct description (our bedroom is almost exactly at 600 m sea level, my office at around 450, with a couple more valleys inbetween)

- I could be called to any other company or customer's location at short notice, that's why we have a handful of company cars in the yard and two 24-7 rental companies with delivery in the phonebook

- there is some useable public transport (1/hr, 10..30 minutes travel), but who needs it?

We don't have a car. I sold mine ~12 years ago. Where we live now, I'm a member of a (commercial) car-sharing group, so if I need a car for private use, I can get one at a fair price, usually on short notice. For company use, see above. But for commuting or shopping? All done by bike.

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Linux

@Brimful

Do you live in a place like London?

I currently live ~26 miles from work. Thing is I could move closer to work and housing would be cheaper but then the wife would have to drive those miles and she hates to drive, but has to as she works for the government.

Bike may be a good idea as with public transportation, but if you don't live in places like London UK, Toronto CA, or New York US, then this is not actually that economically feasible.

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@AC - Orthography lesson

You probably meant to start your sentences with a capital letter and spell "offence" (or "offense" if you are American) correctly, but hey - we aren't all perfect.

Glass houses and all that.

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Travelling heavy

As for travelling heavy, I play in a band and also rent out my PA rig and sound-tech skills to other bands/events, so I have a Citroen Berlingo. I can easily fit all the PA rig, all my guitar gear, *and* all the other guitarist's gear into the back of it, and still have room for the guitarist and the singer. At that, it's still only about two-thirds loaded - I can still see out of the back window. I get 40mpg out of it whilst doing 80mph down the motorway fully-loaded. It was cheap to buy, is quiet to drive, and is being very reliable.

So why would anyone want an SUV that costs more, has less luggage space, is noiser, and uses more fuel...? Geet wise and buy an MPV instead.

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Boffin

Bikes...and Humvees

I live 7 miles from work and could easily bicycle at least 6 months of the time, if the roads were not full of humvees and monster trucks driving like idiots, trying to run everyone down.

As for rear enders my Honda Civic survived 3 rear enders from big V8 boats without any need for repair.

Another fun fact is that when I lived in Kentucky and the good old boys would try to run the Honda off the back kountry roads with their Ford V8 Pickup trucks, I could hit turns at 60 mph and laughed pretty good watching them hit the ditch in my rearview mirror...and pick up gas in the next county too

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Black Helicopters

EV

With a bit of commitment we could be seeing the EV9+ by now. But no, Hummers are what we have.

Painfully, we'll probably use petroleum until it's all gone, then infrastructure will fail without it and we won't be able to make the things we do need in the amounts we need it. Apocalypse!

Every time I see a Hummer filling a whole lane I think "wanker", it's not just their money they're burning, usually my lungs (should get a mask for cycling). Fashion victims to the extreme. Couldn't they make them out of plastic, hybridise them and well.. anything. Let people have stupidly large vehicles, as long as they have a lower safety rating (evolution removing the ego-trippers) or some revolutionary engine that won't burn the rainforests, eat our babies and extinguish the sun.

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Coat

@Mr ChriZ

I know what you mean. I used to have an old style BMW325i which was great fun. Fast but very thirsty. My job moved 27 miles down the road so I sold the BMW for a Skoda Fabia 1.9 diesel 'cos I couldn't afford the fuel costs for the BMW.

My fun now comes from getting the best MPG I can. Since October 2005 when I bought the car I've been keeping my fuel info on a PocketPC. My average MPG since 2005 is 61.97MPG the best on a single fill-up is 65.96.

It's actually quite good fun sticking to the speed limit but trying to get the best MPG. A few changes in driving style make all the difference.

Yes I'm an anorak but you have to get your jollies how you can on the commute to/from work.

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@Guy

You should probably learn the difference between they're and their and there...

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Ben
Thumb Up

Hummer ?

Yeah , what is THAT SMELL ?

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Can they really not see this coming...?

They're in financial trouble so what do they do? Make bigger and bigger SUVs...

Are they really that stupid?

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Amazing that thes cars were so popular

they sold over 70,000 of them back in 2006 alone, curious that the market has changed in such a short space of time.

Can't say it will be a shame to see the back of this it never seemed to be particularly good at what it did, although weighing over 2 tons and still returning 16MPG is reasonable achievement but if fuel economy is a concern you shouldn't buy a big or powerful car. Never been one to get upset about someone else's car though.

Given the huge mileage cars generally do in the US a lot of the high revving little Euro/Jap cars we have over here just wouldn't go the distance. Anyone arguing that US engines/vehicles are generally less efficient than their Euro/Jap equivalents just hasn't looked at the figures.

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And to reply to my own comment...

The price of oil jumped $6 back to $128 this evening as (presumably) US refineries realised that the price wasn't going back down any further, and if they didn't buy now they would be facing shortages.

You ain't seen nothing yet!

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@Taxes

Oh yeah, set the taxes on energy to be fixed. As time passes the more energy-efficient industries get taxed relatively more heavily than inefficient industries. Why do energy inefficient industries need a tax break -- do we want to encourage more of them?

Mind you, current taxes are without carbon-pricing and mainly without pollution-pricing. The pain for petrol users has barely began :-(

Oh, and the people with the GM EV1 comments: where's the energy coming from. California liked electric cars because they moved pollution out of Los Angeles to electricity generators in Oregon. Just moving pollution about isn't an adequate response to reducing carbon emissions. In any case, that electricity doesn't exist anymore -- California had electricity rationing a few years back and will again. Oregon doesn't want any more of California's pollution and the Californians won't build any more power plants for themselves.

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Strangled at Birth

Watch a 2006 documentary called "Who Killed the Electric car"

Shows how big business got together to stop dead electic cars in '99.

They show the cars being collected literally at gunpoint and then being taken in perfect condition to be scrapped and then put in a landfill.

How many people here know that US car companies in the 30's used to buy up all public transport in every town and then destroy it?

Supreme court ruled against them and fined them about 10 dollars.

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