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Monsters of the road: what should the UK do about SUVs?

Interesting piece in The Guardian about SUVs.

Quote:

Sold as a means of escape from the concrete realities of the modern world, a symbol of individualism and the pioneer spirit, the SUV represents instead a uniform kind of selfishness, a collective indifference to community to which, alas, we are all more or less prone.

 

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
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BalladOfStruth wrote:

I'm really struggling to see the point you're trying to make here

In short, the harder you drive, and aggressively, the lower your MPG will be. The baseline for MPG will have to be very low, for example, slower moving traffic around towns will have a much lower mpg generally. 

BalladOfStruth wrote:

Don't agree with any of that. It's becoming the standard for some sectors, such as tech. I WFH, my productivity has increased, I have no issues collaborating/troubleshooting with colleagues, and I've had no issues securing pay-rises or promotions, so you're wrong on all those counts. If hands-on collaboration is required, then have 1-2 days in the office - you still have the benefits (such as happier, more productive staff, cost savings, less traffic, etc) on the other days. How many people need to visit clients these days, even in the small minority of roles where that would be a thing anyway? I visit a client at most, every couple of years in my role and company-wide only a couple of staff have regular interaction with clients (which has been done via Teams for years).

Maybe for you, but for younger people (assuming you are not fresh out of Uni or something) it's definitely a lot more difficult to integrate into a team, and build a culture. 

Cost savings - depends what, yes commutes may offer a cost saving, but then you have to keep your home warm too, coffee, food, and electricity will also add up. 

It definitely is a limiter for collaboration too. Much easier to speak to someone in an office than call, or discuss impromptu ideas. 

If you're not in front of your clients, your competitors may be - much better to be out and about than not. 

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

4 day weeks are a myth - companies will lose money, unless they pay to a 4 day week rate, i.e. less than a 5 day employee.

BalladOfStruth wrote:

You're going to need to substantiate that. Every study I've seen suggests the opposite. Also, I said in my initial comment that a 4-day week does depend on a company's operations being suitable to it.

I'd say it's common sense, you wouldn't pay someone to work 4 days on a 5 day salary. There are variables, what role you do, how many hours you work. But in an established business, it would be like saying have an extra 52 days holiday per year - you only need to do that 5 times and you're effectively paying for a non-existent employee for a year. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
6 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

In short, the harder you drive, and aggressively, the lower your MPG will be. The baseline for MPG will have to be very low, for example, slower moving traffic around towns will have a much lower mpg generally. 

Yeah, I get that - I'm just struggling to see why it's an argument against regulating for more efficient engines. If you drive in a certain way in a modern, high-efficiency engine, you will get better efficiency than if you drive in exactly the same way with an older, lower-efficiency engine.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Maybe for you, but for younger people (assuming you are not fresh out of Uni or something) it's definitely a lot more difficult to integrate into a team, and build a culture. 

Cost savings - depends what, yes commutes may offer a cost saving, but then you have to keep your home warm too, coffee, food, and electricity will also add up. 

It definitely is a limiter for collaboration too. Much easier to speak to someone in an office than call, or discuss impromptu ideas. 

If you're not in front of your clients, your competitors may be - much better to be out and about than not. 

Cost savings are more for the business - heating and lighting the office, etc. For staff - the cost savings might not be as much, but the benefits focus more around time: not having to get up at 05:00am to be in the office for 07:00, not having to waste two hours of their own time sat in traffic, etc.

The rest of what you've said is somewhat role-dependant, and I think you're over-estimating how important they are. Most job roles do not require meeting clients - in most businesses, this is a specific role for a person or department. A back-end server guy doesn't go out meeting clients, a draftsman doesn't go out meeting clients. That's what the sales department is for. I think you're over-estimating the amount of collaboration most roles have too. Most of the roles I've been in, collaboration has been the occasional request to fix a DXF or asking what a recommended spindle-speed is - maybe 2-3 times per day.

As for the "forming a culture", I can't say that's been my experience - it certainly doesn't hamper the tech sector. I've worked for a couple of companies now that don't have an office, and we've had no issues forming a culture.

Additionally, it's not exactly as if the current status quo has been carefully crafted to get the best out of staff - take open plan offices for example, these have become the standard everywhere, despite being widely regarded to be the absolute devil for productivity and staff morale. Half of the middle-manager playbook is massively detrimental to morale and productivity. Meetings that should be emails, etc, etc, etc.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

I'd say it's common sense, you wouldn't pay someone to work 4 days on a 5 day salary. There are variables, what role you do, how many hours you work. But in an established business, it would be like saying have an extra 52 days holiday per year - you only need to do that 5 times and you're effectively paying for a non-existent employee for a year. 

Except that staff "value" is measured in output, not time. There are plenty of studies where businesses have done exactly that (dropped a day with no drop in salary), and output has either stayed the same or increased. As it turns out, people are happier to give 110% when they're not exhausted and miserable. That’s what the trials should be based on.

Where do you think the weekend we currently have came from? It was campaigned for by trade unions and workers’ rights groups – not only did it not hamper efficiency and productivity, but workers having Saturday afternoon off with nothing to do, literally gave us the leisure industry.

Quote:

This laid the groundwork for the full 48-hour weekend as we now know it – although this was only established in the 1930s. Once again, it was embraced by employers who found that the full Saturday and Sunday break reduced absenteeism and improved efficiency.

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lio replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
6 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

There's a reason people who WFH are known as TWATS.

People who work from home aren't know as "TWATS"[sic].  It's people who work from an office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday not people who work from home.

If you don't know what the acronym actually means but you've been throwing it around, ever wonder if there are other things you might be wrong about too?

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Rendel Harris replied to lio | 5 months ago
9 likes

It does make for an excellent cartoon though...

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chrisonabike replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
4 likes

On WFH - it is good in many ways.  There are definitely some reasons for travelling into a different environment though - albeit having stopped doing so it's easier to see what a giant waste of time all the commuting was.

Sometimes it's just better working around other people / working face-to-face (if you're old enough to remember times before zoom, anyway).

Sometimes it's good to get out of your house / away from your family for a bit!

We have had a couple of members of staff who've moved on to other jobs since we went to remote working who've mentioned one thing they're actually looking forward to is going back to an office!  However in one case a) this involved a very short commute and b) their new role has a 3 or 4 day week also.  So not "the same as before".

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
5 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

Sometimes it's good to get out of your house / away from your family for a bit!

My neighbour is a director at a firm of architects, I remember during the pandemic he said that all the twentysomethings were loving working from home, all the thirtysomethings and above with kids at home were absolutely begging to be allowed to come into the office!

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BalladOfStruth replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

My neighbour is a director at a firm of architects, I remember during the pandemic he said that all the twentysomethings were loving working from home, all the thirtysomethings and above with kids at home were absolutely begging to be allowed to come into the office!

Half of my freinds quit after their companies ended WFH after Covid. A lot of people really want if because it's just so much better for quality of life.

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Rendel Harris replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
3 likes

I'm sure – I freelance from home and if I can will do it until I retire, so much more preferable. The pandemic was a specific situation obviously where people couldn't send their kids off to school and enjoy an undisturbed working day!

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
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Exactly - and (nod to BalladOfStruth) it also depends on where (often what age / point in your personal "growth") you are in your life.

Obviously there were lots of feedback loops keeping the pattern of "commute to work" going.  It certainly isn't the case that this was the "best" solution; it was just stable and established.  (What exists in quantity has inbuilt advantage over the novel).  It is certainly hugely wasteful of time and resources.

OTOH travelling elsewhere to labour on most days (sometimes for an hour or more) and working together with other people are ancient behaviours.  Large scale independent working is the novelty here.  Time will tell just what kind of feedback loops / social pressures that needs / creates.

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Brauchsel replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
5 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

 all the twentysomethings were loving working from home, all the thirtysomethings and above with kids at home were absolutely begging to be allowed to come into the office!

Once schools/nurseries reopened, it was the opposite at my place. The young people were sick of working from poky houseshares, and were itching to do young-people things in town after work. Us old(er) folks found out that we quite liked our own homes, being able to shop/do chores at lunchtime and not have to spend hours rushing to/from work and school. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
4 likes

100% agreed - there are people who much prefer the social setting of the office. I'm not suggesting forcing WFH on everyone, just make it a legal right for those with job roles that suit it. There's also hybrid WFH too, so you can get all the face-to-face stuff out of the way on Monday and Tuesday and then not waste two hours of your day clogging up the roads for the rest of the week. I reckon this alone would take ~30% of commuter traffic off the roads.

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ktache replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
3 likes

Monday is now a quietish day on the train part of my bike-train-bike morning commute, Tuesday is now the busiest morning, tailing off until the very quiet Friday.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
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chrisonatrike wrote:

Sometimes it's just better working around other people / working face-to-face (if you're old enough to remember times before zoom, anyway).

Sometimes it's good to get out of your house / away from your family for a bit!

Agree on both counts. 

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mattw replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
1 like

Some of those are over-heavy imo, but some good examples.

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mattw replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
4 likes

Fuel economy levels have been policed across the world since the early 1970s - we know how to do that.

Standards on new vehicles are relatively easy to impose - we have some of them now on eg emissions.

Then regulate using price - fuel excise duty is currently LOWER in CASH terms that it was in 2010. If we added say 30p per litre excise duty on to bring the price back in line with inflation, more economical vehicles would be incentivised. 

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60kg lean keen ... replied to mattw | 5 months ago
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mattw wrote:

Fuel economy levels have been policed across the world since the early 1970s - we know how to do that.

Standards on new vehicles are relatively easy to impose - we have some of them now on eg emissions.

Then regulate using price - fuel excise duty is currently LOWER in CASH terms that it was in 2010. If we added say 30p per litre excise duty on to bring the price back in line with inflation, more economical vehicles would be incentivised. 

Yes there has been legislation, whilst it was born out of good intentions, it has had some adverse effects.  Take for example when catalytic converters were introduced via state intervention, this raised C02 tailpipe emissions, if we had gone down a different path for example, clean burn technology then this would not have been the case. Then there is the push for lowering only C02 so along came the mighty diesel, oh but what about PMs and Nox?   Now we are pushing for BEVs as the only path to save the planet, but to get something that goes the distance and with current battery density you need a big volume battery, and so a massive tank of a SUV to put it in!   Take for example Mazda, it is trying to go down the clean burn light weight ICE (active X) and their BEV car has a smaller lighter, with less range thinking about it (not very pop, sales flop!!) They, I believe, correct Me if I am wrong, have tried to lower their fleet sales emissions down, so are no longer selling the 6 and have a re-badged Toyota Yaris hybrid as a 2 hybrid, just to keep the state legislation happy, is this good or bad???

 

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wycombewheeler replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
3 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

wycombewheeler wrote:

I'd also extend this to power limits, and minimum fuel econmy figures as well. Being out of the EU should allow us to control our own roads. Could be the first actual benefit of the whole debacle.

So, how would that be policed! Minimum fuel economy? I'm all for good economy, but that is impossible to police. 

I believe they type test cars before registering, if your Bugatti Veron or 4.0V6 Q8 has a stated MPG of 15mpg, then it does not meet requirements for UK registration

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to wycombewheeler | 5 months ago
4 likes

You always could control your own roads. Also, how do you think you can influence the size of cars - without the EU doing the same? The largest manufacturer and exporter of vehicles on the planet is the EU. So if the EU say the vehicle is going to be the size of a tank - then a tank it is. The EU set the rules. The only way you can influence that is by being a rule maker not a rule taker. But then, 'we want our country back blah, blah' 

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mattw replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
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I don't see any reason for motor vehicle numbers to need to increase.

We are already at 40 million, and can manage it if we choose.

It's to do with making alternatives into realistic choices, and also about applying Pigou taxes to certain aspects of motoring. Places like London, Leicester, Nottingham and certain others are the lead to follow I suggest.

 

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chrisonabike replied to mattw | 5 months ago
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Indeed - NL has a ton of cars: they've just moved away from using them so frequently for short journeys.

I don't live there so can't be sure but it *looks* like this has mostly happened by making it more convenient and pleasant to cycle these or use public transport rather than simply the effect of tax. Certainly different shopping patterns have been encouraged (again by a combination of things including the existence of local shops! ).

Plenty on this by David Hembrow / notjustbikes - hopefully a local can comment also (although it's always hard to see *why* things are from within a culture / place)

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levestane replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
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Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Cars have been getting bigger... ...Even a tesla is very wide - and a lot are not SUV's per se

Is this because people are getting bigger courtesy of industrial edible products being addictive for many?

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Jetmans Dad | 5 months ago
6 likes

I know I have said this on here before but given how many of these things are on the roads (and not only that but cars generally are bigger and heavier than they were 30 years ago), the very least we should be doing in response is reducing speed limits around built up areas ... if greater damage and injury is caused by a vehicle carrying greater kinetic energy, and the amount of kinetic energy is determined by the mass and speed of the vehicle, then reducing speed limits in line with the increase in average mass is vital in maintaining safety on the roads. 

It is also noticeable that an increasing number of the vehicles parked at the supermarket do not entirely fit within the spaces even when "well" parked thanks to the move away from family cars to crossovers and SUVs. 

Those necessary for work, I have no problem with at all. Those that are simply a status symbol, or forced on us by manufacturers (Ford, for one, have stopped production of almost all of their "normal" cars in favour of SUV types vehicles, for example) are just a nonsense, especially in towns and cities. 

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David9694 | 5 months ago
1 like

Watch as Romford car thief rams police car before crashing Range Rover into a wall during dramatic police chase

The thief also used the vehicle to ram a police car during the chase in the SUV

https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/watch-romford-car-thief-rams-...

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JLasTSR | 5 months ago
1 like

SUV 4WD large bodied vehicles capable of towing a 3 tonne trailer off road if necessary have been part of my life for 38 years. We also take it to Norway once a year when it has eight peoples luggage crammed into it along with a working domestic freezer so we can return with our catch of salmon that will then be smoked in Suffolk. We are trying to change the Norway trip because we can get salmon smoked in Norway but believe it or not certain members of the group object because Norwegian smokehouses do not slice the Salmon. Anyway hate away, my point is SUVs do not just only do what a hatchback does. In addition when it comes weight a Rolls or an S Class is definitely going to compete with most SUVs. An SUV in my case have allowed me to work, move hay, wood, pallets, go off road around three farms, all in the last 2 months. I could have done most of this with a car but it would have taken multiple trips and I would have got stuck on one farm and grounded out in one wooded bit. On the road as vehicle it does not handle as well as a sporty car. It is not economical but it is not that much worse than some cars. Visibility out is pretty good no worse than a car. The damage I could do is to be honest considerable but I tend to avoid cities too many people, cars, they hold no interest for me. Even towns I try to avoid as much as possible. SUV and anti-social sums me up nicely. 

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Rendel Harris replied to JLasTSR | 5 months ago
12 likes

Very few people object to SUVs/4WDs that are needed for work, as clearly yours is. It's people using luxury SUVs that are far too big for cities that have no purpose other than to advertise their wealth and that will only ever go off road to park on the grass at Cowdray Park for the polo that is the problem.

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CyclingInGawler replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
5 likes

Once upon a time (well, say five years ago) Australian car parks would be full of V8 Falcodores (i.e. Ford Falcons/Holden Commodores). Since the demise of on-shore car manufacturing they're now full of even heavier and larger dual-cab 4WD utes, most of which are being bought or leased using tax breaks, and most of which never do anything more extreme than drive down the gravel track to the local conservation park. As Andy Stow notes below, the standards office is now suggesting car park spaces should be made bigger to accomodate the increased size of these vehicles.... at the same time as a climate emergency is being declared! As they say in Lancashire, there's now't so queer as folk!

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chrisonabike replied to JLasTSR | 5 months ago
1 like

As others have pointed out, all the uses of "SUV" (not least by some manufacturers running after a trend) cover a rather wide garage.  The ones I'm down on would be the examples of predatory advertising - call something the exact opposite of what it is (neither "sporty" nor utilitarian).  So "vehicles for people who would be better served by some other kind of vehicle if it wasn't for the need to express their status / project a 'rugged' image.  Those which cause problems for everyone else by being more dangerous to others, space inefficient, heavy etc."

Some people live on hill farms.  The vast majority of us don't and don't even visit them.

Is it a pickup you have?  Clearly there are good uses for pickups - for a few people.  4 wheel drive is obviously also useful to a few.  Otherwise there are all kinds of vans / minibuses and other utility vehicles (not "sporty") which are much better for the job of "transporting stuff and / or people".

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JLasTSR replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
1 like

It was a Terracan which I bought with 49,000 miles on the clock for £3500 I had it for 130,000 miles but recently changed to a Discovery 2009 bought for £5000 it already has 135,000 miles on it, so I should get 50,000 miles out of it. It is not a pick up. I have had a couple of trys with pick ups but find them awkward to use the bed. maybe I am too short! I can use a trailer more effectively, the trailer is quite big so I can get about a 1-1.5 tonnes of hay on or about 2-2.5 tonnes of equipment and materials.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to JLasTSR | 5 months ago
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JLasTSR wrote:

SUV and anti-social sums me up nicely. 

And me! Give me a Ineos Grenadier or Defender over a Twizy any day of the week

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mattw replied to JLasTSR | 5 months ago
2 likes

That's quite an edge case, and the alternative is not "no car" - it is a less weighty car of less use.

I think mopst people tanking around London or the Home Counties (or bits of the Home Counties transplanted elsewhere) tanking around in their 2-3 ton SUV behemoths don't do any of that.

A traditional Subaru, Estate Car, or 4-wheel drive estate would do 99% of it for nearly everyone, and much of it far more successfully.

My family used to do nearly all of that in a Saab 95.

Does, for example, the serial drunk known as Katie Price need an SUV?

Personally I drive a Skoda Superb Estate because an SUV - apart from being bloated, dangerous, expensive to run and horribly overpriced - cannot carry decent length loads.

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