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Do NOT take little eco-friendly passenger cars off road to visit the beauty and grander of the great outdoors. TV commercials are very very misleading when they show an "all wheel drive" station wagon driving out into a marshy bird sanctuary and then easily and quickly driving out.
There is a place for large off-road capable SUVs. Their place is with driving large numbers of people in and out of the great outdoors with as little a footprint on the environment as possible.
As guides, we drive a large SUV capable of transporting 7 grown adults and over 400 pounds of gear in and out of any place a vehicle can travel. We can do this in one trip without any real damage to the terrain becasue our vehicle is CAPABLE. Please keep in mind that not every large SUV has true off-road capabilities. A locking differential is essential to prevent wheel spin which causes years of damage and erosion to dirt and gravel roadways.
It breaks my heart to see one or two people per small "eco-friendly" vehicle struggling through terrain and tearing up primitive roadways that were not designed to support unsuitable vehicles.
In the world of autos, "Eco-Friendly" refers mainly to gas milage. Gas mileage is usually more efficient in smaller vehicles that can only carry 2 or 4 passengers with very little gear. This is fine in urban settings, but in non-urban settings these little cars and station wagons actually take more gas to haul the same number of people safely. Not to mention the multiple footprints made by multiple trips.
We need to think beyond gas milage and also think about the actual physical effects our vehicles will have on the terrain before we head out.
Save gas and carpool in the city: eco-friendly cars.
Save terrain and carpool in the great outdoors: off-road capable SUVs!
posted 4 years, 3 months ago
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