The Pros and Cons of Sport Utility Vehicles for the Homestead

The benefits and drawbacks of sport utility vehicles for the homestead, including their usefulness on the farm as well as environmental harms.

| October/November 1997

If you keep your wits about you, sanely priced and dependable sport utility vehicles are still out there. (See the sport utility vehicle photos and diagram in the image gallery.)

"Wish a buck was still silver And a man could still work . . . and still would.
Wish a Ford and a Chevy Would last ten years like they should."

—Merle Haggard: "Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?"

There's good news and bad news. Which would you like first? Okay.

Don't know that the greenback dollar or blue-collar jobs are a whole lot better off now than when ol' Merle penned his mournful lyric back in the early '80s. But the last part of his wish has come true and then some.

Because Fords and Chevy's (and Toyotas and Volvos and Hyundai's and practically all the motor vehicles made around the globe today) will indeed . . . and finally . . . "last ten years like they should"—and longer if given a little care.

MOTHER'S staff, and just about everyone else who needs a car to get around in the vast distances of North America, complained for most of a generation in order to get Detroit and Yokohama to upgrade 1940s-era auto design and production technology to satisfy car buyers, meet requirements of the frequently-updated 1970 U.S. Clean Air Act and the 1975 CAFE (fuel-economy) standards, and wrestle with the mixed challenge and opportunity posed by computer-tech, space-age materials and an interdependent global market.

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