Sunday, July 27, 2008
Many Hummer owners are apparently undeterred by high prices at the pump, at least according to this report by AP writer Adam Geller (hat tip LM) who journeyed to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania to talk with a few of them.
The piece includes a detailed history of the Hummer along with the story of how Gubernator Arnold Schwarzeneggar was first smitten with the 11,000 pound H1 years ago, but it is the interviews with current owners that are most enjoyable.
You've got to be tough to love a Hummer. The soaring cost of feeding a vehicle that swallows a gallon every dozen miles is only part of it. Environmentalists, who've always had it in for you, are winning mainstream converts. General Motors, which presided over Hummer's transition from a badge of military bravado into a symbol of driveway excess, is looking to sell.As an added bonus, you can also read about the overflow of Hummers in new car lots in Castle Rock, Colorado, not to be confused with the same development in Southern California a few years back.
But tonight there's no apologizing or self-pity in the ranks of Hummer die-hards. They're here to goad machines that can top 5 tons over boulders the size of Smart cars, through stewpots of mud obscuring who-knows-what and across obstacle courses of stumps, logs and stones — it's "like riding a slow-motion rollercoaster," one says.
Maybe mega-SUVs are going the way of dinosaurs. Hummer sales have dropped 40 percent this year. But these beasts and the men and women who love them certainly don't behave like endangered species.
"I told my wife when we bought this, 'Honey, we're investing in steel and rubber,' says William Welch, a Philadelphia surgeon who, cigar clenched between his teeth, offers a guided tour of his lovingly tended jet-black H1.
"If it was $10 a gallon," he says, "we'd still be out there."
This week's cartoon from The Economist: