Gas Pains

Tired of paying $2 a gallon to fill up your SUV? Here's how America ought to respond to OPEC's crude behavior.

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, Texas Monthly hosted a meeting of editors of city and regional magazines. Most of them came from points north: Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis. After the meeting, I ferried several of the visitors to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. “Several” in this case added up to seven; nothing can match a Suburban when it comes to hauling people around. But my passengers were not impressed. “How can you drive this thing?” one of them asked. “Don’t you realize what you’re doing to the environment?” “What kind of mileage do you get?” another demanded to know. (The answer is 12 to 13 in city traffic, 17 to 18 on the highway, but it seemed prudent not to respond.) I listened to this chorus for a few more moments, and finally I said, “I feel about my Suburban the way NRA members feel about their guns. You can have my car keys when you pry them out of my cold, dead fingers.”

I have driven Suburbans for almost twenty years. My current one is my third. I can’t imagine driving anything else. Or at least I couldn’t, until the day a couple of weeks ago when I filled the 32-gallon gas tank and took a look at the price display on the pump. The digital numbers danced by faster than the eye could register and didn’t stop until they had recorded more than sixty bucks’ worth of fuel. I’m

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