COLUMN: Hummer’s big stink

Ryan deBiase

They barrel up the road, consuming an entire lane of traffic and forcing leery pedestrians back to the curb where they belong. Their appearance evokes feelings of freedom, of off-roading and of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I watch as an obnoxious box painted “machine-gun gray” tries to swing into a parking spot that is just too narrow. Forward, turn, reverse, turn, forward, reverse. In a frustrated rage, the driver just gives up on pavement and slams up a grassy hill, leaving 24 inch wide tire tracks dug into the turf. I question the driver’s identity: either a lawyer’s son in a polo shirt or a soccer mom with youngsters in tow.

As the stench of wasted natural resources drifts into my nose, I can’t help but proclaim, “Ah, SUVs! God bless America.”

The previous, semi-fictionalized anecdote featured the behemoth of the sport utility vehicle, the lumbering Hummer – the only car that is equally disgusting in both appearance and efficiency.

According to Cape & Islands Energy Information Clearinghouse, the H2 does not need to meet federal fuel efficiency guidelines set in 1975 because its weight exceeds 8500 pounds. The Hummer’s manufacturer, GM, is not required to provide fuel economy statistics for the vehicle, though dealers estimate the gas mileage to be 10 miles per gallon in normal driving conditions. Obviously, this is not a healthy car.

Yet, small business owners and the self-employed are eligible for a tax deduction if they purchase an H2. Often, the deduction refunds the whole purchase price, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. In the U.S. tax code, a vehicle over 6000 pounds constitutes heavy-use, like construction or delivery but fails to take into account suburban dentists who like to commute to the office in a small bedroom on wheels.

“In style, in vogue,” Dr. Thompkins, D.D.S. smiles to himself, as his gas gauge drops before his eyes.

To open a discussion on America’s infatuation with BIG things is not new. Still, I couldn’t help but notice a more disgusting turn in our fetish with bigness, as it ties into the Hummer commentary.

Allow me to quote an advertisement from

“[HUMMER] A vehicle so extreme in its power, so incomparable in its appearance, that it defies any attempt to place it in a traditional category. Simply stated, HUMMER gives new meaning to the word invincible.

“In keeping with its famous heritage, HUMMER Fragrance For Men is masculine with rugged and adventurous attributes. This classic yet bold new fragrance for men embodies all that HUMMER is.”

This cologne emits a much higher musk than any other on the market, though the manufacturer cannot provide the actual statistics. The pungent scent of Hummer wears off much faster than its more efficient counterparts, so one goes through the stuff pretty fast. But that’s what it takes to smell like a man, to smell BIG.

I’ll refrain from purchasing Hummer Fragrance For Men until I can afford to buy over 6000 pounds of it, then I can reap the benefits of a tax deduction. God Bless America!

Ryan deBiase is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].