Tim Haab at Environmental Economics explains why he drives an SUV:
Evidence of what I am willing to pay for my sanity, by Tim Haab, Environmental Economics: I'm packing up my big honkin' SUV tomorrow with my oversized family of 5 and driving 280 miles (one-way) to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky to visit with friends from Atlanta--who will be driving their oversized family of 5, 330 miles (one-way) in their big honkin' SUV. Based on the paltry gas mileage we will get--about 18 mpg--I'm figuring our family will consume about 31 gallons of gas.
At $3.50 a gallon that's $109. If we could somehow double our fuel efficiency to 36 mpg and still fit the family--say by buying a Toyota Camry Hybrid--we would save $54 in fuel cost round trip*. For a 4.5 hour one way trip, we are paying an extra $6 per hour to drive the SUV.
So I ask myself, am I willing to pay $6 per hour to have my 3 kids separated by 2 feet each--two in the middle row, one in the back--rather than be touching each other the whole trip.
Ummm...can I get a big 'Hell Yeah'?
*For those of you wondering who will pay for the externalities I create, that's an easy one...YOU. That's why they're called externalities. Voluntarily internalizing my own externalities would ruin my faith in rationality and cause me to have to completely reinvent economics. I'm just too lazy for that right now. Yes, I'm a jerk.