Archive for February 4th, 2011

February 4, 2011

Pet peeve

Hummer in compact spot. Had to add the dots on the U which makes it duemmer = more stupid in German , pic:

I have a few pet peeves, one is big cars in general and another those same vehicle sparked in “compact cars only” parking spots thereby blocking two parking spaces, then there are people who skip the line (unless it’s me, of course), people who drive less than speed limit or text while driving, or have terrible table manners, or slam car doors shut in front of my window at 2 am and then have really loud, drunken, meaningless discussions, …

That might have made the meaning of pet peeve clear, if not, here is a definition:a pet peeve is something about which one frequently complains.  It is something (often small) that really irritates one which nobody else out there is bothered with.

The origin of the word is unexciting, its first usage was around 1919. The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning  ill-tempered.

February 4, 2011

Bigger is better, part 4

I have to return to my pet peeve of big cars.

Let me start 12 years back when I moved to California.  A gallon of gas was like $1.10.  A whole tank for my small VW cost me less that $15.  Then all sorts of bad stuff happened and gas prices were up to almost $4.60 per gallon in mid-2008.  Had I told my SUV-owning friends in 2000 that it would come to this they would have thought me crazy.

People were shell-shocked as they had come to expect cheap gas as their natural right.  Gas prices declined to somewhere between $2.50 and $2.80.  “For Sale” signs started to show up on SUVs and pick-up trucks, smaller cars started to sell better and the incorrigible optimists among us thought that – finally – something had clicked, that people did understand that those gas guzzlers guzzled too much gas and that a small car serves the purpose: moving people from A to B.

I was naive.  Even with as prices up again to almost $3.40 and further price increases likely to happen the car sales statistics for 2010 tells us in no uncertain terms that Americans taken as a whole want big cars, unreasonably big cars – at any price.  $3 + per gallon would have scandalized  people a decade ago but has now become the new “cheap”.

My evidence: the best selling vehicle in 2010 – vehicle, not truck – was the Ford F-150, a monster of a pick-up truck.  Ford sold 391,219 of the trucks, a 38% increase from 2009.   Number 2 was the Toyota Camry, the long-time number 1 up until 2009, and in third position the Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 – another monster.

With high unemployment, stagnant if not declining wages, high gas prices, a shaky economy, dwindling oil reserves, a huge oil spill in the Golf of Mexico (seems almost forgotten by now) people go out and – buy trucks!

Somebody please explain this to me!!