It is Socially Irresponsible for Americans to Drive SUV’s

Published 16 Jan 2017

Americans are socially irresponsible when they drive monstrous SUV’s and with the state of global warming increasing at a dangerous rate all people should make an effort to use less fossil fuel and create less pollution. Many people have the view that one person can not make a difference, this is not true. Americans for the most part have been ignoring their social responsibility. The cost of gas in America is significantly lower than other places in the world. America also has the largest vehicles on the road, and in turn use more fossil fuels that any other nation in the world.

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Fossil fuels provide roughly eighty-five percent of the world’s commercial energy, and the automobile industry–the world’s leading industry –is highly dependent on the oil industry–a close global second to the auto industry. Seven of the ten largest industrial corporations in the United States are either oil or auto companies. A substantial percentage of carbon dioxide emissions come from motor vehicle exhaust (Mayer, p. 1).

Americans use more fossil fuels than any other nation and therefore submit more emissions into the atmosphere causing global warming one a large scale. By abusing the resources available to them Americans are socially irresponsible when it comes to auto mobiles and the use of fossil fuels. The two greatest contributors to global warming are well known and publicized. Americans can help slow global warming simply by driving more environmental conscious vehicles. Americans can slow down the burning of fossil fuels by switching to hybrid vehicles or alternative energy vehicles, making sure all vehicles on the road pass emissions tests, and discontinue driving oversized vehicles that take more fossil fuel and because more emissions to be released Americans can contribute to slowing global warming.

The effects of global warming are being felt worldwide. “Global warming and the melting of polar ice cover is predicted to raise ocean levels worldwide, directly impacting on island nations who plead most strongly for restraint of fossil fuel consumption by industrialized nations” (Mayer, p. 1). Americans are the greatest contributors to global warming. Some alternative fuel methods have been tried and found to be very successful. “Another strategy for reducing fossil fuel emissions from vehicles is to shift to alternate fueled vehicles, “various choices include electric, natural gas, methane, and fuel cell vehicles” (Mayer, p. 1).

It is a great thing that the government and some environmentally conscious states have started to support energy efficient vehicles. “The federal government has provided some limited support for the development of alternate fueled vehicles, while California has mandated that companies selling vehicles there market a certain percentage of zero emission vehicles, or ZEVs”(Mayer, p. 1). Although a small effort is made by certain states is not enough to stop a global problem. Hybrid vehicles help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Americans need to accept their social responsibility, start driving hybrid vehicles, and stop driving SUV’s.

The energy consumption of the people of the United States is of great concern both to our nation and the world’s environmental concerns. Congress is well aware of our countries contributions to global warming. In 2002 the Senate passed legislation that “would raise average fuel efficiency standards to 36 mpg by 2015, a standard that would classify minivans and SUV’s as passenger vehicles rather than light trucks” (Mayer, p. 1). In less than ten years the classification will have an effect on the people on the United States. This amount of time is crucial when we consider the state of ozone layer and the steady increase of global warming. It is great legislation is being passed, but more legislation needs to be past to ensure that Americans take a stand against global warming.

As a nation we would hope that humans would make the right choice and consciously choose to support the health of the environment, the very source that sustains us. Even megastars, such as Penelope Cruz and Leonardo DiCaprio, are trying to encourage people to drive green vehicles. There have also been many celebrities choosing to go green and help save the world. Stars Penelope Cruz and Leonardo DiCaprio hosted a Pre-Oscar green party to show their support of electric cars. They, along with several other celebrities, opted to drive themselves to the Oscars in their new electric cars. The point was clear; everyone needs to take steps to prevent global warming (and you should hurry up and jump on the band wagon celebrities are giving up limo rides!).

The Pre-Oscar green party is was a genius idea as the Oscars are huge and people from all over the world partake in the nights events. The marketing behind such an event draws attention to the eco friendly cause. The same evening Al Gore was honored with an Oscar for his documentary about global warming. People are being made aware of the need for change. Now the effect needs to be played out and Americans need to held responsible for there actions. To make changes we need to specifically “explore the complex interactions and mutual influences of philosophy, evolutionary biology, ethics–conceptual enterprises all–and our primary interactions and encounters with humans and nature in everyday life”(Donnelley, p. 1).

Many previous threats posed clear and present danger; global warming is far more subtle, warning us not with roaring tanks or burning rivers but with invisible gases, slow changes in our surroundings, increasingly severe climatic disruptions that, thank God, have not yet hit home for most Americans. But make no mistake. The problem is real. And if we do not change our course now, the consequences sooner or later will be destructive for America and for the world (Johansen, p. 13).

Knowing this we as a nation need to take a stand and make changes now, not ten years from now.

Global warming trendsetters are paving the path towards a better world by trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But with every action there of course is a reaction. Many SUV’s supporters have geared up towards the cause claiming that SUV drivers are socially conscious and think before they pollute. Take a look at the thinking behind an SUV ad that appeared in Washington DC “funded by an outfit known as the Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA). Critics were asking the wrong question, the ads suggested. The right question was “What Does Jesus Drive?” Jesus, in this case, was Jesus Rivera, a proud father and Vietnam veteran.

He was also, the ad informed readers, one of 24 million who rely on their SUVs to “carpool friends and family; tow boats, campers and trailers; haul home improvement supplies; and”–lest SUV owners he accused of selfishness–“volunteer to take people to the hospital in snow emergencies.” The new group reported The New York Times, was “a fledgling association of owners of sport utility vehicles … taking aim at their critics” (Roth 1). Critics they do have and although this is one way to look at SUV’s. But the evidence is quite clear and the fact remains that SUV’s are gas guzzling environmental hazards. Everyone should take a step towards stopping global warming. Switching to hybrid vehicles is one way we could make a difference.

Other nations such as England have been encouraging the United States to take action since 1997. At that time British Prime Minister of Environment, Michael Meacher, urged Americans to take action. He said “it is now time for the Americans to show greater leadership (in environmental policies)” (Johansen, p. 48). England is taking a conscious step encouraging residents to purchase eco-friendly cars.

“London council has announced it is to give drivers of eco-friendly cars free residents’ parking permits” saving citizens over 110 pounds a year (“Free parking for”). America needs to follow in the footsteps of the British and offer incentives, fringe benefits so to say, to owners of eco-friendly cars. This will encourage Americans and help us, as a nation, take one step closer to claiming our social responsibility as inpiduals and a nation.


  • Donnelley, Astrakhan. “Natural Responsibilities: Philosophy, Biology, and Ethics in Ernst Mayr and Hans Jonas.” The Hastings Center Report 32.4 (2002): 36+. Questia. 21 Mar. 2007 <>.
  • Johansen, Bruce E. The Global Warming Desk Reference. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002. Questia. 21 Mar. 2007 .
  • “Free Parking Permits for Eco-Cars.” BBC News 15 Mar. 2007. 21 Mar. 2007 .
  • Lackner, Klaus S., and Jeffrey D. Sachs. “A Robust Strategy for Sustainable Energy.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2005): 215+. Questia. 21 Mar. 2007 .
  • Mayer, Donald O. “Corporate Governance in the Cause of Peace: An Environmental Perspective.” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 35.2 (2002): 585+. Questia. 21 Mar. 2007 .
  • Shiflett, Dave. “Guzzling, Gorgeous & Grand: SUVs and Those Who Love Them.” National Review 11 June Questia. 24 Mar. 2007 .
  • “SUVs Save Lives!.” The Wilson Quarterly Summer 2001: 84. Questia. 24 Mar. 2007 .
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