If gas costs too much, then why are people still burning it in their assault trucks?

As I pumped about $70 worth of liquid gold into my tank in preparation for the three-day weekend established to memorialize three-day weekends, I noticed that the guy next to me put quadruple that into his.

His was attached to one of those ginormous RV things that always seem to be in front of me on the mountain passes of Colorado.

A friend has one of these. He says they get about six miles to the gallon. I think he’s got that reversed.

Those monstrosities are a pet peeve of mine, and so are their RV’s. Admittedly, that alone is not a knock on them. Regular readers (I know I’m flattering both you and me to suggest there’s anything regular about my readers) are aware that I have an entire petting zoo of pet peeves that I lovingly pet.

But anyhow.

I’m always tempted to say to the pilots of these Hindenburgs, “Excuse me, sir, but I just came from the direction that you’re headed. I can assure you they have motels in that direction. I’ve seen them. So why are you bringing a little house on wheels along with you?”

To which our Lindbergh in the Hindenburg might growl, “’Cuz I wanna camp.”

To which I would reply, “So, again, why are you bringing that little house on wheels along with you?”

As I drove away, I noticed that his little house on wheels was towing a car bigger than mine. There’s something mixed up about this scene, especially when you factor in that a-hole Vladimir Putin.

And then there are the pickup trucks. You know, the big black ones with black windows. Everything about these pickups is black except the driver. You never see a black person driving a pickup.

They have names like “Ram” or “Titan” or “Malignancy” or “”Canyonero” or “Leviathan” or “Jim Crow.” (I made up some of those names; it’s telling that you don’t know which.)

Pickup trucks used to be two-seaters, but now they all have a back seat too. Behind the back seat is the flat part. That flat part is called the “bed,” and I don’t want to know why. Altogether, it’s something like a gargantuan car with an open-air trunk.

In the old days, the purpose of the bed was obvious. You loaded it with the dogs and kids so that they didn’t distract you from Waylon Jennings on the 8-track. But now that’s frowned upon. You’re not supposed to put dogs in the pickup bed. Or on the roof.

You can get a hint of the purpose of the bed by looking into it. This bed is always beautifully made. This bed has seen nothing but down comforters, an occasional chocolate mint, and maybe some chew.

Another clue is in the grille. Not the Weber BBQ in the glove compartment, but the front radiator grille between the headlights, which are 9 feet above the pavement. There’s no danger of a deer being caught in these headlights. Heck, the whole truck could easily straddle an eight-point deer and the deer would emerge unscathed from under the chrome tail pipe.

But on the U-turn, the 30-06 in the gun rack would get him. Big time.

These grilles are designed to imitate a Mack truck or maybe a locomotive. They are expressly intended to intimidate other drivers.  I suspect they were designed by the same people who designed scary-looking black assault rifles.

Connect these dots, which are about the size of truck tires. The purpose of these assault trucks is the same as the purpose of assault rifles: Self-defense.

HAHAHAHA!

No, just kidding. The real purpose of both is of course to de-emasculate the owner. Regarding the automobile, the Porsche company got out-maneuvered by American and then even Japanese(!) manufacturers in the market for virility-enhancing transportation, now available at your nearest male showroom clinic.

The standard prescribed treatment looks something like this: The driver plunks down half a year’s salary for a down payment and then commits to paying monthly lease rates approximating one-twelfth his yearly salary. Then he shoots off with his BBC – his Big Black Car. His woman swoons.

Whenever he spots a threat to his manhood – another car on the road – he accelerates to within inches of the competitor’s rear bumper and seeks to penetrate said rear bumper with his BBC like a MoFo who sees a dropped soap bar in the showers at Leavenworth. His woman swoons some more.

Never mind what lane the competitor is in. Left lane, right lane, turn lane, straight lane, curvy lane, gay lane, whatever. Our patient’s goal is not to arrive at geographical coordinates, but to get where he’s going. Where he’s going is to own the guy in front of him.

Of course, these needle-dicks are the ones who bitch loudest about high gas prices, oblivious to the fact that they could lower their costs dramatically if they just traded in their manhood-enhancing gas guzzlers for ordinary cars. Doing so might also lower the price of gas for everyone by lessening the demand for it.

Back to the question posed at the outset. If gas costs too much, then why do “people” still “buy” and “drive” these “vehicles”? If their manhood is so diminutive that they require this interventional treatment, then they surely can’t afford it. Is it possible that Medicaid is covering it?

It’s one of life’s mysteries, right up there with the question of why their women swoon at this spectacle (though I suspect they’re faking it).

Until answers arrive, I’m comforted by the fact that I personally can still afford to fill-er-up (I only get mid-grade, mind you, and so my performance is not as good as it used to be) while it costs these guys nearly a lease payment. I look forward to gas at $11/gallon.

37 thoughts on “If gas costs too much, then why are people still burning it in their assault trucks?

  1. Back in the day, the purpose of a truck was to haul things. If you live in the mountains and routinely have to haul things (like firewood), then a truck is a necessity; if you can’t afford two vehicles, then you drive a truck. The funny thing is that the most important feature of a truck is the bed, and the beds are pretty much the same size on all trucks — even the ones that look like a Peterbilt in your rear-view mirror. The break-point is when you can lay a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood between wheel arches in the bed, which requires a protruding rear axle that’s kind of silly looking, so I don’t think the vanity trucks you describe have that.
    FWIW, I couldn’t survive without my truck, and it’s my only vehicle. It’s never gotten me laid, though, or even a date.

  2. If you don’t like seeing huge camping vehicles, why don’t you leave the prime camping area of Aspen? Come down to Texas coast and live in hurricane country as flat as a pancake. Nearly every male has a truck, yes, but only the tourists drive big campers. And most of us are decent Republicans, unlike those progressive rich jerks in Aspen.

    • Not that I rub shoulders with Aspen one-percenters very often, but when I have, I find them generally agreeable. It’s the middle-class ones that are largely insufferable progressive jerks.

  3. Funny column. Was a Ford salesman in the past and occasionally someone buying an F-250 Crew Cab diesel 4×4, as an example, would bemoan the cost but still sign and drive away in it and never drive off-road but use it like a big car. Guess there IS no accounting for taste.

  4. If the drivers of these rigs were real men, they’d drive even bigger trucks — the 18-wheelers with fuel tanks that cost $1,000 to fill up, but whose owners fill them up away to drive to Ottawa in order to show Lil’ Justin what real men look like. Real men don’t haul gold-plated lavatories behind them, but learn to pee into bottles because time is money, and strive to learn how to avoid hemorrhoids and blood clots as well as how not to fall asleep behind the wheel.

    These trucks, of course, are even more likely to be encountered on mountain passes, during six-mile ascents and then six-mile descents, defying the laws of physics. The only time I was glad to get behind one was on Lookout Pass in Idaho in a blinding snowstorm at night; I would have left the road, but I couldn’t even see where the exits were. Then, suddenly, I was behind the tail lights of one of these monsters, and I knew that a real man would get me through this. It didn’t help, however, that as I drew closer on the back of the truck I could make out a gigantic cactus with the words “Tombstone Pizza.” Small comfort.

    • In the non-fiction novel “The Right Stuff”, author Tom Wolfe said something about following your lead man into the ground. He was talking about fighter pilots. Good idea in a low visibility situation to follow a trucker. Usually, up high, they can see much better than you can and they may know the road you are on very well too. But then the trucker is your lead man, and if he makes a mistake, then maybe it becomes your mistake too.

  5. You absolutely nailed the a**holes whose atrophied balls have been replaced with one-ton Dodge diesel pickups.

    I cracked up at “Whenever he spots threats to his manhood – another car on the road – he accelerates to within inches of the competitor’s rear bumper and seeks to penetrate said rear bumper with his BBC like a MoFo who sees a dropped soap bar in the showers at Leavenworth. His woman swoons some more.” Forgive my laughter, but I worked the guard line at San Quentin during my college years.

    I too cannot understand the mentality behind the huge motor homes, fifth-wheels, and large trailers, most all of which are towing cars. I have some current friends who do that, and over the years have had others. They are good people, with no intent to do harm, so I just accept them as they are and never say to them what I think of their bit of craziness.

    Over eighty years, I have learned to accept what I cannot understand and cannot control. But, I still can marvel, and (sometimes) laugh, at it.

  6. Keep in mind, Glenn, that the whole purpose of the regime’s energy strangulation is to force people to drive less and drive smaller vehicles, EVs preferably, in order to save the planet. The purpose, in fact, is to punish those who drive the big rigs you describe, who in fact might be called “heroic” for refusing to give up their choices and way of life, and who have hit the road this Memorial Day weekend in force, some with American flags a-plenty. Just sayin’ . . . .

    • I believe that smaller and EVs is only a step. What the regime ultimately wants is for you to drive nothing. Then you would have to live in cities where they have control over where and when you can move about. And you must rely on them and their unions for everything.

      • The big trucks seem silly and wasteful to me but the motor homes are easy to understand. People can live in them permanently or weeks and months at a time. Most of the comforts of home AND the fun of travel without packing, unpacking every evening. The do burn lots of fuel, but the motels and restaurants that are avoided take that as well. I’m not sure how the balance sheet works out, but it’s not all that one-sided. People tell me there’s camaraderie too, in the “campsites” and real friendships are forged. I’ve always wanted to try a few months in one, but my wife has been unwilling.

      • The real reason for progressives’ passion for [mass transit] is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

        To progressives, the best thing about [mass transit] is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they–unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted–are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

        http://www.newsweek.com/will-why-liberals-love-trains-68597

  7. The headlights are right at eye level in your rear view mirror. Oncoming headlights are right at eye level and it doesn’t matter whether they dim their lights or not, you still can’t see. And that’s in the parking lot where you are sitting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . for your wife to finish shopping. You would think that maybe people would turn off their lights when they leave their vehicles . . . HA HA. What’s the fun in that? The newer ones have the automatic shut off feature, but they still stay on for a little bit . . . blinding you. You half way expect the interrogator to start in on you . . . again. Well, she will do that when she finishes shopping.

    • I dunno ’bout that. If stupidity is magically transformed into heroism merely because the other tribe objects to it, then isn’t the opposite true as well?

      Women in the other tribe think I’m smart and good looking (granted, they have a roundabout way of showing it) so what’s that make me? The question is rhetorical, so don’t feel compelled to answer….

  8. The answer to your question is because the internal combustion engine provides lots of reliable energy. More so than any of the current options.

  9. Had em all, small, mid, large pickups. The big ones were safe to drive. Had a nice RV too. They were fun to own, a pain to fill up. To each his own I guess, it’s what makes our country so great.

  10. My two youngest sons both have class A CDL driver’s licenses, what you need to drive a tractor trailer truck in the USA. Both of them marvel at the fact that you can walk into a place, put down what amounts to a month’s rent payment on your condo and can drive off in a 45ft RV, with a little Yaris car behind it on a tow dolly, and don’t have to have any special license or demonstrate any skill at handling a vehicle that size. Try backing that right up Martha!

  11. Oversized vehicles don’t seem to be hogging the road where I live even though it is a rural region. I saw plenty of the them in the form of loaded 3/4- and even one- ton dual cab pickups in the conservative outskirts of the Seattle area, where I once lived. My conclusion about them, apart from their function as a means of asserting status and the territorial imperative, was that there was kind of an arms race going on. At lot of the high-income men there were building contractors of various descriptions, in light industry, or owners of independent businesses that supplied services and equipment to other businesses involved in contracting or light industry.

    If your competitor had a $70,000 pickup truck, you had to have one too or your image and then possibly your ability to obtain work or business might suffer. There was a practical side too. The high end truck did provide a mobile habitat which was less stressful and exhausting to be in all day than a cheaper vehicle or smaller would have . When it was necessary to drive around customers or prospects, it made a better impression. Then there was the practical side of it. It could be used for hauling cargo when that was necessary and a business owner could drive around multiple employees also when necessary. Driving the workers around in the boss’s truck could be a nice way of giving the workers a little perk and a way of maintaining morale and masculine camaraderie within the business. Especially if the boss bought everyone breakfast or lunch.

    After a while, I got pretty adept at spotting who actually had a need for the massive pickup truck they were driving. The rate, I thought, was below 50 percent. But a number of them, I thought, did legitimately need them.

    Another advantage of the loaded, dual cab pickup is that it can serve as an all-purpose vehicle. It is at once a work truck, an image builder for the business, a mobile habitat during the work day, and a prestige vehicle you can drive even to a dinner party or a social event, especially in the suburban or exurban milieu.

    For someone who doesn’t need one, it is a money pit. The capital cost (aka price) is double that of a very good car and so is the cost of operation. Needing to haul something once every two years or so that won’t fit in the trunk or the back seat is no justification for the expense. If you buy a washer and dryer or a freezer, better to pay a delivery charge once or rent a truck than to pay double at the pump every time you fill up and a double the payment every month for five years too. The independence you think you gain is an illusion. Every step you take in life in the world we have today, you’re dependent on infrastructure you are not the creator of. A loaded $70,000 dual cab pickup truck or a $200,000 house-on-wheels doesn’t change that.

    • During the construction boom prior to the 2008 meltdown, I watched a lot of people enter the construction biz. The first thing they’d do was buy the brand-new $70,000 turbo diesel dualie. Definitely an ego thing. For one thing, trucks on construction sites get beat up. A lot. One of the quickest ways to turn a $70,000 investment into a $20,000 one was to use these trucks on a construction site. You knew the people who really used their trucks in the business by how beat up they looked. If they still looked shiny and new after a year, you knew they were never actually used on a site.

  12. Glenn: the FIRST definition of “Assault Rifle” is “capable of automatic or burst fire, with a cartridge length of less than 50mm–or something like that, as an M-14 on full auto is NOT, by definition, an assault rifle–and that means, since 1934, civilians CANNOT have them, LEGALLY! Just call them semi-auto black scary looking guns! Leave the incorrect definitions to the rest of Aspen.

  13. Heh … as a gag I think some sneaky conservatives ought to take you up on your “Jim Crow” model. They could float the idea that some enterprising red-necks with a Deep South custom automotive business are designing and building custom made street legal monster trucks with the model name “J Crow” that has a Confederate Flag painted on the roof, and with a musical horn that plays Dixie (like that Dodge Charger in The Dukes of Hazard TV show.)

    Watch the Left, the MSM and even Joe Biden run with this goober bait and rail against it like you would expect them too. I could see Biden lambasting such a truck as the “Joe Eagle” of climate destroying vehicles and even calling it the “Ultra” J Crow of trucks. Pelosi and Schumer would hold congressional hearings; the DOJ would investigate; the witches on The View would cackle their outrage.

    The Left loves to gaslight normal Americans with such allegations. It might be fun to watch them go on a snipe hunt to give them a taste of their own medicine …

  14. Yikes. What a peek into to rarified word of effeminate soy boys in Aspen. This author needs a testosterone booster, stat. With a side helping of mind your own business, and a dessert course of nobody cares for your ladyboy opinion. YEEEESH.

  15. Yikes. I thought the author needed a testosterone booster after reading his squealing whiny drivel, but MAN the comments!! This peek into the rarified world of Aspen SoyBoy cultists has been hilarious and illuminating. Y’all need to get back to making your wife’s boyfriend some breakfast.

      • I’ll translate the Shakespeare: This fellow may suspect that HIS wife is swooning over your trenchant, witty analysis and relative sophistication. And if you can afford to live in Aspen, well . . . .

  16. As someone who lives in a region of the country where ones very manhood is questioned if they drive anything less than a 20-foot long 7-litre turbo diesel dualie, I do have a certain amount of sympathy for your contempt of these things and many of those who drive them.

    If it makes you feel any better, I get along with a “mid-sized” pickup just large enough to tow our 29-foot camper. White doing so we average 11 mpg, or about the same as my first car, a station wagon from the early ‘70s. Also in my region of the country, there often aren’t motels where we want to go, and many of those that do exist are places where you probably wouldn’t want to spend the night anyway. I don’t know if you’re married or not, but my wife got over traditional “camping” about the time Al Gore’s movie came out. So it’s this or nothing.

    If it makes you feel any better, my pickup only has two seats because I really don’t want to take anyone else along other than my wife and dog. (When I bought my 2-seat pickup, it was so rare that it had to be shipped in from out-of-state) And yes, I’ve actually had my manhood questioned for the diminutive size of my truck and camper. But at least I can go to an order of magnitude more places than those guys in their megayacht-sized rigs can go.

    As for the ginormous size of these vehicles these days, you can blame Democrats for that. In the wake of the oil crises of the ‘70s and ‘80s, they legislated that passenger cars use less fuel. The industry responded by making engines smaller and less powerful and replacing as much metal with plastic as practicable. Soon those giant metal and rubber 5-mph bumpers required by law in the ‘70s were eventually replaced with plastic. (and have since seemingly disappeared altogether from passenger cars today)

    By the late ’80s after all the low-hanging fruit of weight and power reduction had been picked, it got harder to build a car that anyone wanted to buy. The 4-door station wagon that had been the standard issue suburban family hauler for the last quarter century was effectively outlawed.

    Enter the SUV. SUVs were not legally considered in the same category as passenger cars and were not subject to the mileage requirements. SUVs were effectively pickup trucks with extra doors and passenger seats and a hatch in the back instead of a bed. Or in other words, a cooler station wagon with a bigger engine, wheels, and 4-wheel drive. From the ‘90s and for the next 20 years, manufacturers couldn’t build enough of them. In fact, the extreme profit margin from selling SUVs went to subsidize the sales price of the micro-cars that Democrats required the manufactures to sell and that lesser affluent or virtue signaling Americans had to buy.

    Democrats, pissed off that capitalism had foiled their grand scheme to define every aspect of our lives tried again. They started to demand that SUVs get better mileage like ordinary passengers cars do. So was created the “crossover”; a kind of SUV that retained the 4 or all-wheel drive of the truck-based SUVs, but were smaller, lighter, and more car-like. But those looking to supplement their testosterone found them lacking.

    This led to the rise of the “crew-cab” pickup. It was everything the SUV used to be, and more. It could haul a nominally-sized family, and it was a truck! And the manufacturers made the insides soft and luxurious just like higher-end passenger cars to get the ladies’ buy-in.

    Now it was the Obama Administration, and the smart people there saw this happening and were not amused. In the wake of the ’08 financial crisis, they orchestrated the sale of a bankrupt Chrysler to Fiat in hopes that the Italians would revive the company by flooding America with those obnoxious little Fiat 500 micro-cars that they thought everyone should buy but very few people actually did. What the Italians really wanted to do was sell Jeep SUVs and Dodge RAM trucks.
    So the once again outsmarted smart people in the Obama Administration went after the fuel economy of trucks. They came up with some sort of convoluted formula that based the fuel economy that a pickup truck should get on certain dimensions of the truck.

    So the smarter people working at the manufacturers figured out that the new regulations said that more dimensionally ginormous a pickup truck was, the less fuel efficient it had to be! Viola, so just as Progressive “we know what’s better for you” policy created the SUV, the Obama Administration begat today’s monster trucks! Thanks Obama!

    So yes Glenn, I agree with you that so much of this is silly and excessive. Few of the people buying these things have what we’d both agree are any legitimate reason for owning them. But so what? That’s America, one of the only places on the planet founded on the notion that our betters have no f-ing business telling us what we should or should not want or have. LA is full of Range Rovers that will never see snow, mud or even rain much less dust. I’d also agree that few if nobody “needs” a semi-automatic rifle with a laser sight and a more than 10-round clip. Nobody needs to live in an ecologically sensitive region like a mountain ski town. But I’m not about to agitate for the power of state to tell these people otherwise, just as I’ll utterly dismiss the opinion of anyone who thinks I have no legitimate need of my pickup and camper.

    • How regulations made the small-pickup segment a dinosaur park

      “Why can’t we have new little trucks? One answer: the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard. It has several inputs to its complex calculation, including sales of a particular model as well as the model’s footprint. When the formulas were rewritten in a 2008 revamp of CAFE, domestic automakers argued that they were unfairly penalized because their product mix tended toward large trucks (which are safer, they noted), especially the kinds of essential work trucks favored by the heartland. The argument, however patriotic, disguised a growing truth in 2008: Trucks were increasingly purchased as family vehicles. Nonetheless, light trucks and especially the higher footprint classes were let off the hook with lower fuel economy standards.

      Seeing a loophole, automakers rushed to redesign more products to meet the incredibly broad definition of “light truck” specified in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Today, vehicles ranging from the wee Honda HR-V to the Subaru Outback to traditional pickups like the F-150 are all classified as light trucks, the sales of which have consequently swelled to three-quarters of the U.S. light vehicle market.

      The footprint rule endures, effectively discouraging carmakers from building body-on-frame trucks in smaller sizes owing to the cost and difficulty of meeting tougher mileage standards. Being car-based, the lighter Maverick and Santa Cruz (both circa 3800 pounds) skate through with four-cylinder engines and hybrid options. They’ll even tow up to 4000 and 5000 pounds, respectively. But buyers don’t have the kinds of choices in cabs and bed lengths that they once did with compact pickups”

      https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/how-regulations-made-the-small-pickup-segment-a-dinosaur-park/

      Thanks, government!

  17. Here is a related WSJ write-up … one person’s frustration with the limits of EVs.

    This problem with EVs and the sheer advantage of gasoline powered cars are that EVs require lots of time, frequently several hours to charge, while filling up a gas tank takes only a few minutes.

    The notion of using EVs for trucking is sheer folly … time = money. The same for diesel powered agricultural equipment and construction vehicles like tractors, bulldozers, and loaders.

    If you want to plan a family vacation to Yosemite or Yellowstone in an EV, be prepared for lots of down time as you will be frequently delayed finding and waiting for charging stations to “fill up” at.

    Transitioning the nation to all electric is a goofy idea … another social utopian vision that fails, like all other utopian visions of the past, to consider unintended consequences.

    Read “I Rented an Electric Car for a Four-Day Road Trip. I Spent More Time Charging It Than I Did Sleeping” at:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/i-rented-an-electric-car-for-a-four-day-road-trip-i-spent-more-time-charging-it-than-i-did-sleeping-11654268401?mod=djemalertNEWS

    • As long as the capabilities of EVs are oversold, people will be disappointed. In their current state of evolution, EVs are still no where near direct replacements for conventional automobiles, and placing charging stations all over the place will not change that.

      Nobody (beyond those who wish to do so for their eco-vanity virtue signaling) who regularly requires that their car travel more than 100 miles a day is going to seriously consider an EV, even if charging stations are available anywhere. So placing charging stations all over really isn’t going to make EVs substantially more popular than they are. Not going to happen.

      EVs are optimal for repetitive daily commutes of a finite distance; a scenario where a user can confidently leave home with a full charge, drive it to work or errands during the day safely within its range capability, and return home to recharge again overnight. Nobody is going to be satisfied with a car that they must constantly monitor for range and then find a place to charge, and then wait a half-hour or longer for it to do so. Not when a conventional auto can for a fraction of the price travel 5 or 6 times the distance and can be refueled in 5 minutes.

      If you are an apartment or condo dweller who does not have assigned parking where your EV can charge overnight, then charing your EV is going to be a pain. EV ownership is probably not for you.

      EVs will only retain popularity with short-range commuters or for wealthy people considering a 2nd or 3rd car. EV evangelists who are overselling the EV’s capability is doing their movement a disservice, and are actually discouraging EV adoption.

  18. I have a 1995 F150 long bed 2-door. Eastern Wyoming. In the past year I have: made numerous trips to town to get livestock feed (250 – 500 lbs each time), hauled a riding lawnmower to town for repairs, hauled building materials for two small buildings (one finished, one in progress), hauled a load of fence posts and barbed wire to build/repair fences around our horse pasture and goat pens, hauled 800 lbs of sakcrete and all the lumber to build two decks on our house, hauled a stock trailer home from auction. and hauled a refrigerator home from another auction. Try doing that in your Tesla. (By the way, the dogs ride in the cab with me.)

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