Episode 35: Suburbans in the City

 

[ARCHIVE CLIP: If the Chevrolet Suburban were a feature film, it would have all the makings of a cult classic. It’s bigger than life, older than almost anyone can remember, and it’s won a whole new generation of audiences.]

[ARCHIVE CLIP: Bad guys love them. Cartels gots to have them. And of course, you can’t forget that they’re loved by the biggest, baddest authority figures of them all: moms.]

[ARCHIVE CLIP: What kind of car you got here?]

[ARCHIVE CLIP: A Chevy. Yeah, the Chevy Suburban.]

[ARCHIVE CLIP: Oh, that’s nice. I like Chevys.]

Sarah Goodyear: Welcome to The War on Cars, the show that’s trying to take the Suburban out of the city.

Doug Gordon: And to be fair, to get the Suburban out of the suburbs too.

Aaron Naparstek: Yeah, exactly.

Sarah: Today we are gonna be talking about the Chevrolet Suburban. A vehicle that has managed to be all things to all people. It’s, you know, all-American family car, drug dealer status symbol.

Aaron: Mayoral convoy must-have.

Doug: Yeah, all politicians can be seen in Chevy Suburbans.

Aaron: Your executives. Your Goldman Sachs guys.

Doug: It’s the corner office of cars.

Aaron: Absolutely.

Sarah: Yeah. I’m Sarah Goodyear, and I’m here today with my co-hosts Aaron Naparstek and Doug Gordon.

Doug: Hello.

Aaron: Hey.

Sarah: And so I am really excited about doing this episode because I have been low-key obsessed with the Chevy Suburban for a while now. It’s—I get to share that with all of you.

Doug: You know, my favorite podcasts are where people share their weird obsessions or where weird people share their obsessions. You are not a weird person, but this is a weird—this is a weird obsession.

Sarah: Thank you, I guess.

Aaron: You’re arguably weird.

Doug: And we are—we are weird, actually. But this is a weird obsession. I wouldn’t have pegged you for a Suburban obsessionite.

Sarah: Well, okay, so it all started when I was watching HBO’s show Succession—which I’m also obsessed with. And I noticed that there were a couple of Suburbans that these very super rich people were getting in and out of.

Aaron: Right. So, like, the Suburban in Succession, which I am also obsessed with, it’s an awesome show is this—it’s like one of the signifiers. Like, everything in that show is a signifier. They’re really careful about how they choose the clothing, the puffy jackets, the interior design. And the vehicles are very much chosen as signifiers. So the Suburban really means something in that show.

Sarah: Right, right. So I was looking at it, and then I found myself on the street in midtown Manhattan, and was just standing at a corner. And I looked around and I realized that there were five or six Chevy Suburbans within, you know, my eyesight. And then I just went down a rabbit hole about what is the Chevy Suburban? Why is the Chevy Suburban? And what does it mean in terms of the way that SUVs are just kind of taking over the world?

Doug: Okay, so hold on a minute. Before we get further into Sarah’s Suburban obsession, we have some business we need to take care of. We rely on you, our listeners, to contribute via Patreon to help us produce this podcast. If you go to Thewaroncars.org click “Donate,” you can contribute. You’ll get t-shirts, stickers, all kinds of goodies. You’ll get access to special episodes, all kinds of great stuff.

Aaron: And in addition to our Patreon sponsors, we actually have a sponsor sponsor.

Doug: That’s very cool.

Aaron: Yeah, our first real sponsor. This episode is brought to you by TransitCenter.org. And Transit Center has a new podcast. It’s called High Frequency. It is a podcast about the people who are fighting to make transit faster, better, more reliable in cities all around the US. They’ve got three episodes up and running right now. It’s a really nice listen. They’re short and sweet. Have you guys had a chance to check it out?

Doug: I have. It’s great. You can just dip in and really get a good overview of specific transit issues, and how they are so important to fixing cities. It’s great. It’s really well done.

Sarah: If you like The War on Cars, you know, you’re probably gonna resonate with this.

Aaron: Definitely. And Transit Center, if you’ve never heard of the organization, they’ve really become the nation’s leading think tank on transit. And not just in New York City, but in cities all around the US. And they get great people coming in every day, and many of whom are dropping by their podcast. So do check it out. High Frequency on Apple, on Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts.

Sarah: Also, some very exciting news for us personally, which is that we’re taking the show on the road. We’re going to Denver, Colorado, and we’ll be there Monday, February 10 at Bicycle Colorado’s annual Moving People Forward Conference. And you can still register for that event at BicycleColorado.org. And we’re super excited about going there and doing a live show.

Doug: We’re also going to be in Washington, DC, in March. March 16, we’ll be doing a live episode taping at the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit, which should be a lot of fun.

Sarah: All right. So let’s get back to the Suburban. The Suburban is kind of amazing once you start looking into it. It is, among other things, the longest-running nameplate in automotive history. That’s the industry lingo.

Aaron: Good jargon.

Doug: Yeah.

Sarah: There has been a Suburban manufactured, rolling off the production line since 1935, which is kind of incredible.

Aaron: Wow. So which came first: the suburban or the suburbs?

Sarah: The suburbs came first, yeah. By that time, there already were suburbs, and this was marketed to families living, you know …

Aaron: Who were fleeing the city, basically.

Sarah: Yeah.

Aaron: It’s like, “Here is your vehicle to get out of the city. We’re actually naming it the ‘Get out of the city vehicle.'”

Sarah: Right.

Aaron: “It’s the Suburban.”

Sarah: Right. And so even though it was much smaller then than it is now, it was still a large vehicle that was—you know, you could put your family in, and your picnic gear or your fishing gear or whatever, and get out into nature. That was always part of it. And it was always also not a car. It’s never been a car. It was a station wagon body on a truck chassis.

Doug: So that’s basically like how almost all SUVs today are just passenger cars on truck bodies.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. So they pioneered that concept. And, you know, it was always big, and that was its thing. But then it just kind of kept getting bigger and bigger over the years. It had two doors for the longest time, until the late ’60s when they added a third door, which is …

Doug: A third door, but not a fourth door.

Sarah: Not a fourth door. There were two doors on the passenger side of the vehicle, but only one on the driver’s side.

Aaron: The image that’s coming to mind is Clark Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster. You know, from National Lampoon’s Vacation? Am I dating myself?

Doug: Yes, yeah. But that’s a smaller, lower vehicle.

Aaron: It’s too small, isn’t it?

Doug: Yeah, that’s your, like, 1970s, 1980s station wagon. That’s not the trucks.

Aaron: It’s even bigger.

Doug: Yeah.

Sarah: It was also used as a work vehicle, because it had this sort of smooth ride. But, you know, also towing capacity. You know, it could haul a lot of stuff. So it was used for some very specific uses like popular for ambulance, and also hearse.

Aaron: I was gonna say hearse.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s still used a lot for that.

Doug: So get hit by a Suburban, get hauled off to the morgue and the cemetery in a Suburban.

Sarah: Yeah. So it’s evolved over the years, and its evolution has mostly been about it just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And now it is one of the biggest vehicles out there that people buy for themselves and actually drive around. The 2020 model is 18.7 feet long, okay?

Aaron: Let’s put that in perspective.

Sarah: Let’s put that in perspective. What is the scale of that?

Doug: So I looked that up. So the Chevy Suburban, 18.7 feet long. For comparison, a full-sized African elephant …

Sarah: Okay.

Doug: The largest among them are 16 feet, six inches long. So this thing is bigger than the largest land animal in the world.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s about the length of a really sizable great white shark.

Doug: Yeah. Isn’t it so interesting, though, like, if you put your bag down on a seat next to you on the subway or you spread your legs, you’re manspreading, you’re committing, like, a faux pas.

Aaron: Huge crime.

Doug: It’s terrible. It’s not a thing you should do. If you hug the pole on a subway or a bus, like, you’re taking up too much space. But you can drive this thing that is a mobile living room, and nobody bats an eye. It’s no big deal. You get a free parking space for it, too.

Sarah: And on top of actually taking up more physical space, Suburbans and all these other SUVs are actually muscling other cars out of the market, like sedans. They’re just becoming much more common. And that’s really scary because every impact that cars have, SUVs have that impact but worse—exponentially worse. For instance, SUVs were the second leading cause of the increase in carbon emissions between 2010 and 2018. And that was at the same time that car emissions actually went down, but SUV emissions were increasing during that time.

Doug: So every gain in efficiency we got from better fuel standards was just lost by the weight of these things, the power of these things.

Sarah: Right. Like, the Suburban gets 14 miles per gallon in the city.

Aaron: Right. And they’re allowed to because they’re not cars, they’re light trucks.

Sarah: Right.

Aaron: So they’re just categorized differently.

Doug: Yeah.

Aaron: But so how do we get from this place where the Chevy Suburban is mom’s family car of the burbs to it becoming this sort of status symbol for drug dealers, politicians and executives? How do we get from there to here?

Sarah: So one of the explanations is that it’s just been a brilliant marketing campaign on the part of GM that’s gone on for generations. And, you know, this vehicle has appeared in about 1,800 movies and TV shows, including, you know, just about everything that you could imagine, but things like …

[FILM TRAILER: My name’s David Byrne, and I made a movie.]

[FILM TRAILER: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.]

[FILM TRAILER: Cars 2.]

[FILM TRAILER: Waking Up in Reno.]

[FILM CLIP: Friends, capisce? Got it!]

Sarah: That’s why it recently became the first vehicle to get its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aaron: Really?

Doug: How does that happen?

Aaron: Yeah.

Sarah: Hmm, I don’t have any idea. It couldn’t be anything to do with the amount of money the automotive industry puts into film and TV. But, you know, it’s just in your face all the time. You don’t even realize how often you’re seeing these vehicles. But if you start looking for them, that’s the thing. They’re everywhere.

Aaron: It’s interesting how the Suburban has kind of supplanted the limo, right? Like, when we were kids, the status car was, like, the stretch limo. Like, Donald Trump used to roll around Manhattan in his stupid white stretch limo or something.

Doug: Or even the term “limousine liberal,” which wouldn’t exist today.

Aaron: Yeah.

Doug: Which wouldn’t exist today.

Aaron: It doesn’t make sense.

Doug: Because there aren’t limousines in the same sense anymore. I mean, a stretch limousine. I mean, we all know that it’s kind of shorthand for a stretch vehicle, which you just don’t see anymore, except for maybe proms and weddings, perhaps.

Sarah: Yeah. So to talk about what SUVs are doing to streets around America, I called Angie Schmitt, and she is a journalist who lives in Cleveland. She used to write for Streetsblog, and she’s currently working on a book about the pedestrian safety crisis in the United States. It’s going to be out in August from Island Press. And she started writing this book because of this surge of pedestrian deaths over the last decade. The number of fatalities has gone up more than 40 percent since 2008. In 2013 alone, 6,227 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the United States.

Aaron: And tens of thousands more injured. I mean, we barely even count the maimings and injuries.

Sarah: Angie says that the proliferation of SUVs bears a lot of responsibility for those numbers.

Angie Schmitt: Actually, it’s probably the factor we can point to most clearly. It’s probably the factor that we have the best data about. Over the last several years, within the last decade, more pedestrians have been hit by cars, but when they do get hit, those crashes are 29 percent more deadly. So either cars are hitting people at faster speeds—and I actually think that’s probably happening as well—but part of the thing is they’re being hit with heavier vehicles.

Sarah: And it’s not just the weight of the vehicle, it’s the height, the hood height of these vehicles just keeps going up as well.

Angie Schmitt: The way it impacts what happens to a person in a crash is a lot different. With a normal sedan, the pedestrian might be thrown up onto the hood, right? But with some of these bigger trucks, yes, especially children pushed under and run over, which is really not good, obviously.

Doug: Right. So with a sedan, though, you know, if you’re not killed, your legs are broken, you fall onto the hood, you roll off to the side, hopefully you survive. With the SUV, it’s got a flat front. It pushes you, knocks you straight back and runs you over.

Sarah: There was actually a video going around New York City Twitter this morning of a pedestrian who had been trapped underneath an SUV.

Aaron: That was hideous.

Doug: Yeah. And tons of people came and lifted the SUV off of her.

Sarah: Yeah. And really …

Aaron: And that was lovely.

Doug: That part was great, yeah.

Sarah: You know, but it’s like you always say, Aaron, this thing of, like, these vehicles are like the wolves in the forest that, like, come, and then the villagers have to …

Aaron: Oh, yeah. Got too close to the edge of the forest.

Sarah: Yeah. And all the villagers came and saved this woman by lifting the SUV off of her.

Aaron: I mean, it was striking. You know, we did that episode last year, last spring about the auto show, the New York Auto Show, and the thing that was really striking about the auto show were how enormous the fronts of the SUVs and trucks were getting. Just like, every truck seemed to be competing to have, like, the taller hood. You know, so now, like, I’m 6’2″, and you could barely see—it was just my head poking over the hood on a lot of these new SUVs that are coming out this year, which is totally insane. It’s like the driver can’t see anything in front of them.

Sarah: Yeah, and we’ll link to some interesting visuals that have been done about, you know, if there are things in front of the car, there’s a blind zone when those hoods are so high, that includes, you know, children and smaller people pretty far in front of the vehicle.

Doug: Well, there’s been a lot of coverage of back-over deaths. You know, people pulling out of their garages and running over children. And now because of SUVs, there’s a new crisis emerging, which is front-over deaths where people cannot see a child right in front of them in their driveway, and they run them over—their own children, their neighbor’s children. And it’s a huge problem.

Sarah: Yeah. And what’s very disturbing to me about this is this is not news. Like, the fact that these vehicles are deadly and pernicious in a thousand different ways has been well documented for a long time. And as a matter of fact, in 2002, a New York Times reporter named Keith Bradsher really wrote the book about how terrible SUVs are, it’s called High and Mighty. Highly recommend that book to anyone.

Doug: It’s very good.

Sarah: And it’s just as relevant today as it was when it was published—and actually maybe more so, because everything that Bradsher writes about has just been supersized.

Doug: And actually, I’m such a nerd about this that there was a—I think when the book was released, there was a 60 Minutes exposé on just the danger of SUVs. And so yeah, it’s been known for a long time.

Sarah: One of the things that he writes about very powerfully, and he really did the research and reporting on this, is the way that politicians and other powerful people, cultural figures, were even then moving from luxury sedans and limousines to SUVs.

Angie Schmitt: A lot of these big SUVs have very luxurious interiors, but the outside puts on this pretense of being sort of rugged and working class. So a politician in New York that jumps into, like, a tricked-out explorer instead of, like, a limo, can put on this pretense of being, like, more of a man of the people.

Aaron: Do you guys remember when they started really popping up in earnest? It was like right after September 11, actually. It was that 2002-2003 period. And I remember being struck by thinking like, gosh, like, the vehicles are just getting really big, and they all have these, like, yellow 9/11 ribbons, magnetic ribbons attached to the back. And it just felt like it was like some kind of—I started to think of it as, like, a weird response to 9/11. Like, “Oh, we need to be protected now.”

Doug: Yeah. Where everything got militarized in a way, and started to in a big way.

Sarah: It telegraphs this sense that, like, it’s me against the world. It’s me and my family, who are sometimes represented in those, like, stick figures.

Aaron: Yeah, the little stick figure guys.

Doug: Right.

Aaron: Yeah.

Sarah: You know that it’s us in this vehicle, we’re gonna survive. Yeah, and I do think it has to do with this military survivalist mindset that has come up. And it’s not the best of the stuff that happened after 9/11, right? Which was everybody pulling together and, like, coming together as a city and whatever, which was a really strong thing that happened.

Doug: That lasted for about a week or two, and then it was off to war with bigger vehicles and guns everywhere, yeah.

Sarah: Yeah.

Aaron: It was like, when I need to get out of the city, I’m gonna have the largest vehicle to do it. Which, of course, you will then be stuck at the Verrazzano Bridge, but okay.

Doug: Right.

Sarah: Yeah. Well, what’s interesting is that Keith Bradsher’s research showed how the automotive companies had actually done the research, the market research, that showed that people who drive SUVs actually are less community-minded and more individualistic and more selfish. And that was actually something that the auto companies understood about marketing these vehicles, as opposed to, say, minivans.

Angie Schmitt: If you’re driving an SUV instead of a minivan, it allows you to sort of like pretend that you don’t have kids, that you’re single. The windows are tinted. Maybe you can’t see, you know, the car seats in the back. [laughs] So they were, like, a little bit less committed to their families, he said. Whereas the minivan drivers were, like, running the carpool, very community-oriented, much less concerned with keeping up appearances and, like, vanity, was basically his point. And again, that was from these marketing executive sort of insights about who gravitates towards what kind of vehicle.

Aaron: Man, one of the more interesting meetings I ever had was with some Chevy design executives who visited Boston when I was living there. And we were talking about, like, what kinds of cars would bike advocates want to see in cities? Like, if bike advocates could design cars, what would you design? And one of the things I brought up was like, well, sliding doors would be really nice because then as a bicyclist, you wouldn’t get doored if every car just had a sliding door on it. And they were just like, “Whoa, man. Sliding doors are for minivans, and those are, like, sissy cars. You can’t sell those.”

Doug: I mean, even the nickname for minivans is—some people call them “loser cruisers.” That’s not a thing that anyone who wants to project masculinity or strength would want to be driving.

Sarah: Angie and I talked a lot about that.

Angie Schmitt: You often hear people sort of dragging and making jokes about someone who would drive a minivan. And nobody really does that for SUVs, and I think that’s a big part of our problem, as advocates, just trying to point out these problems, those kinds of things really matter. Those are the kind of messages we’re hearing and internalizing that a minivan is a shameful car to drive, a small car as maybe effeminate and quirky, and a big car is just kind of above ridicule.

Sarah: The people marketing these things understand what they’re doing so well, and they’re shaping public taste at the same time as they’re responding to public desires and changing public mores and fears and anxieties, right? So it’s like, I think that they hit this sweet spot where we’re increasingly militarized, increasingly feeling like the homeland needs to be protected. And at the same time, they’re making more people into the kind of jerks who would drive SUVs. It’s like this vicious circle.

Aaron: Well, and the thing I always wonder about this, is if you took the best automobile marketing executives in Detroit, in New York, LA, wherever they are, and you said, “Guys? Make minivans cool.” I actually think they could probably do it.

Sarah: Of course they could, because you could—one way you could do that is to, I don’t know, have Ryan Gosling or some guy that women just love because he seems nice and have him—sexy guy—driving a minivan and, like, sort of playing on that thing that women actually don’t just like brutes. They also really respond to guys who seem like they might take care of them and their children.

Doug: Yeah, but the history of marketing in the United States is essentially preying on people’s insecurities, right? Like, you don’t actually need deodorant, for example. It’s a really good example. Deodorant was created as a need because they created this campaign that basically said, like, you don’t want to stink around other people. It wasn’t a thing before marketing created that insecurity. You know, minty toothpaste was not a thing until they created halitosis as a total construction of the marketing industry. And I wonder, any marketing campaign that’s gonna make minivans cool would somehow have to prey on people’s insecurities, because aspirations are also based on insecurities as well. It’s what you are not. So how do you do that with something like a bicycle or a minivan or a scooter?

Aaron: I wasn’t thinking of Sarah’s approach of just, like, making Ryan Gosling like a good dad. I was thinking more like the Michael Bay. Like, there’d be like an explosion in the background and then, like, a sliding door of a minivan would open. And then like, Ryan Gosling in, like, body armor.

Doug: Slow motion?

Sarah: No, not Ryan Gosling. Like The Rock.

Aaron: Yeah, okay. The Rock.

Doug: So I mean, back to sort of like the point of marketing is like, yes, because all of this stuff is an invention, and they can invent whatever they want. So there is a possibility that this could happen if only they would pour the money into it.

Aaron: So we’re talking about marketing and psychological reasons why Americans want these bigger and bigger vehicles, but there’s just a bottom line reason to the whole thing too, right?

Angie Schmitt: Auto companies want to sell SUVs because they’re way, way, way more profitable. Like, auto companies are netting, like, $10 to $15k more on SUVs than they are on cars. And a lot of times they’re based on the same frame. Like they—bam, they’re able to convince everyone SUVs are better. They get a $15,000 profit, where before they would get $2,000.

Doug: Part of it, I think, is that we’re up against, obviously—I just saw an ad with Matthew McConaughey in some sort of Lincoln.

Sarah: Oh my God! Oh my God, those ads are just insane!

Doug: It’s the Lincoln Glacier Melter or something like that. And he literally is out in the snow-covered mountains sitting in his car, like, at some cabin where he’s sleeping or something. And so that’s what we’re up against is celebrities, the tastemakers, the people that people look up to selling us stuff we don’t need.

Sarah: Yeah. What we need is celebrities and tastemakers to maybe care enough about this that they would put themselves into—you know, that they’d be selling something else that’s actually good for people.

Aaron: Well, there was an interesting ad that just came out with LeBron James advertising bicycles, essentially. And I thought that was a really interesting development to see a celebrity of that stature and global renown essentially doing an ad for, you know, biking as transportation, and talking about how the bicycle gave him freedom as a kid. And it was an ad for Lyft, the ride hailing company, so that was kind of an interesting twist.

Doug: But Lyft owns all the bicycle share companies in many of the cities across the United States. So they’re selling that.

Aaron: But it really is one of the things we have to think about is like, we’re up against this enormous profitable corporate juggernaut in the automobile industry and, like, what are the market-based solutions that are gonna change that, or how do governments regulate these companies to change that?

Doug: But I think the problem we’re up against, too, is that cars are products that are marketed as a lifestyle. And what we often talk about on the podcast is a lifestyle that needs to be marketed as a lifestyle. So what’s missing there is a product to sell. There isn’t billions of dollars for some company to make in me not buying a car, and me buying a $300 bicycle.

Aaron: It’s the problem of, like, bikes are just not expensive enough to be worth anyone’s while.

Doug: Yeah, exactly. Or smaller cars, as Angie is saying, like a $2,000 profit margin on a single sedan is not gonna put dollar signs in the eyes of Detroit executives who can sell $15,000 in profit margins on an SUV.

Sarah: Yeah. So, I mean, I keep thinking of the World War II-era ad campaign, you know, “When you drive alone, you’re driving with Hitler.” You know, those kinds of ad campaigns, which I think were very powerful, and people really took those messages in, about conserving resources, that that came out of a crisis. Like, that’s the other thing, right? Besides just sheer naked capitalist greed, that occasionally can motivate this country to do things on a large scale is crisis. And, of course, we have a crisis in the climate crisis. And if there were the right leadership, that would be another avenue, you know? But in the meantime, LeBron, thank you for being a celebrity who is standing for something different. And it’s genuine. The thing about the LeBron thing is it’s not just, you know, he has a personal story about what bicycles meant to him as a child, and he really wants to give that to children who are growing up today. And so that makes that especially powerful.

Aaron: And, you know, we’ve done this before. Like, the American people have forced the automobile industry to change before. You know, cars didn’t used to have seatbelts and airbags, and automakers fought seatbelts and airbags. Like, just things that we consider the most basic safety features for cars—crumple zones. You know, cars were insanely dangerous before the 1970s and, you know, sort of the American people banded together in the form of government and forced them to change. And it’s kind of what has to happen again today is, like, these guys are not gonna change unless they’re regulated to change.

Sarah: Yeah.

Doug: I was also thinking about cigarettes, because cigarettes were marketed as a very glamorous product. Magazine ads showing beautiful women smoking them. They appeared also in lots of movies—Humphrey Bogart. I mean, if you watch movies from the ’50s, from the ’60s, from the ’70s all the way through the ’80s, you see main characters smoking for no real reason. Now in a movie, when someone’s smoking, it’s because of a very specific character choice. The movie industry has stopped glamorizing smoking and taking money from tobacco companies. So I think that could be part of it, too. Like, maybe there’s a shaming campaign that needs to go on. Cities eliminated smoking for the most part by taxing them, and telling you where you could and couldn’t do them.

Aaron: Right. Restricting where they could go.

Doug: Tax them and restrict them. Do the same for SUVs.

Sarah: Yeah. And there needs to be like the major environmental organizations, which have been really, really lame when it comes to advocating for vehicle regulation. That has never been a priority for the Sierra Club or similar organizations. They need to take the lead.

Aaron: Yeah, it feels untouchable a little bit, but I think there’s a place for cities to band together somehow or another to really start to drive the change. If a bunch of major cities were like, “Look, we’re gonna create a new set of regulations for what kinds of vehicles are allowed on our streets, allowed to park at curbsides, allowed to drive into our core of our downtowns,” the auto industry might be forced in some way to change. Just like they’re forced, like, when California changes environmental law, often the auto industry has to change too, just because one state did it.

Doug: And maybe that gets us back to the beginning, because the people we are relying on to kick these SUVs out of our cities, rely on these SUVs to project an image of status and power.

Aaron: Our mayors and politicians.

Doug: We need especially—yeah, we need a new generation of politicians who don’t care about being seen in one of these things.

Sarah: On that note, that’s it for this time. Thank you for listening to this episode of The War on Cars, and indulging my obsession with the Chevrolet Suburban.

Aaron: Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcast, because that helps people find us. And write with any comments, questions or suggestions to Thewaroncars@gmail.com.

Doug: As always, we’d like to thank our top Patreon sponsors: Charley Gee of Human Powered Law in Portland, Oregon, the law office of Vaccaro and White in New York City, Huck and Elizabeth Phiney and Drew Raines.

Aaron: And don’t forget to check out the new podcast from Transitcenter.org. It’s called High Frequency. You can find it on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Sarah: This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was produced and edited by Matt Cutler. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo is by Dani Finkel of Crucial D Designs.