There’s snow way we’re getting a 4×4!

We’re on day four of being snowed in up near Membury in East Devon. The kids were supposed to start back at Upottery School on Thursday but the school has been closed for the past two days and we’re not sure if it will be open on Monday. We’ve checked the Devon Council page but rather than that providing information on whether your school is closed prior to 9am on the day – it seems to be two days behind all the time, which is frankly – ridiculous! It’s Saturday now – and it’s showing the schools closed….last Thursday?

It’s irrelevant whether the school is open anyway as we can’t get anywhere on the snowy slippery hilly lanes near us with our little Ford Fiesta. We’re ok though as we heard about the weather forecast back on Tuesday and did a big shop. As much as it can be tempting to wish you had a 4×4 vehicle to get about in this weather, we don’t think a few days snow can justify buying a gas guzzling monster! It’s very dangerous out there (even for SUV’s) with local authorities urging to “Avoid travel unless absolutely essential”

They are saying this kind of weather only happens once in a generation – although we were snowed in for 4 days last winter too – our first winter in Devon…somewhere that supposedly doesn’t get this kind of weather. Two years in a row being snowed in – can this be due to climate change?


That’s me above (summer 2008) proudly wearing my Alliance Against Urban 4×4‘s T-shirt on a training walk for The Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity where I raised £2000 walking up the highest mountain in North Africa. The T-shirt says “not safe, not clean, not cool.”

I understand that many farmers, foresters etc in my region need to use 4×4 vehicles to enable them to do their job properly – I see them every day loading sheep into them, scrambling up steep entrances to fields etc. but I don’t really understand why someone who is not a farmer needs such a high fuel consuming vehicle in or out of the city.

You see lots of these huge SUV’s parked in our local towns looking as shiny and clean as the day they were bought. If you are reading this and feeling your blood boil because you think I’m telling you which vehicle you should drive, please don’t just think you can do what you like and it won’t make a difference.

This earth of ours is running out of fossil fuels and we ALL need to take responsibility. Please consider choosing a cleaner, safer car with lower carbon dioxide emissions. I’ve listed some sites at the bottom which can help you choose a greener car.

I’m hoping to represent the Green Party at the next election and this is what they think about transport charges & taxes: The Green Party will introduce a vehicle purchase tax on the purchase of all new vehicles, which would be steeply graded according to a vehicle’s pollution level, fuel consumption and type of fuel.

Please choose a Greener Car – try these sites for info:

Clean Green Cars

What Car has a Green Car Guide

Top 10 Green 4×4’s

14 Replies to “There’s snow way we’re getting a 4×4!”

  1. Sharon

    You asked for my opinion so here it is.

    I agree that fossil fuel supply is an issue, in fact i’m a believer in peak oil. I also want a clean environment, so on that much we agree. It’s there though that our views diverge. I don’t believe in man made climate change; the science is so flakey as to not merit being labeled science. More interesting is your view on taxation. The policy you support is a social engineering led policy rather than being motivated by revenue generation and I find that abhorent. I am an advocate of freedom liberty and free markets, and so believe that taxation for any other reason than revenue generation to support the activities of a small and limited government is tantamount to an act of violence.

    See, I said our views would differ! 😉

  2. Mark Hendy: If you like free markets and do not like government social engineering, then you hate the autosprawl system. No system in history has been more subsidized and forced down people’s throats than this. In the U.S. the streetcar system was dismantled intentionally and with malice aforethought. The autosprawl system requires massive subsidy. Fuel tax pays only a small percent of road building and maintenance. The other costs, carbon emissions, energy wars, bailouts, loan-guarantees, depletion allowance, collisions, medical, drainage, parking, congestion, traffic enforcement, insurance bureaucracy, etc are absorbed by the taxpayer and future generations.

  3. I would just like to point out that nearly all the 4×4 listed in the article “Top 10 Green 4×4’s” that you have linked too are diesels. In the article their fuel economy is being compared to a petrol family car!

    This is not a fair comparison as diesels usually have a much better MPG than petrol engines.

    The comparable Ford Focus diesel in fact does up to 70mpg ! ! smashing the fuel economy of these so called “Green 4×4” ! !

    The “Top 10 Green 4×4’s” article is just another example of 4×4 lovers trying to justify the unjustifiable…..

  4. Thanks Dan – I saw the article on 4×4’s but not being a petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson type – I don’t know if indeed this was the case that these 4×4’s were better than a family car and it just goes to show we really shouldn’t believe everything we read on t’internet!! Thanks for your input.

  5. Couple of points

    1) as has been said the whole global warming thing is a gigantic socialist scam to tax developed nations and pass money to the less developed, creaming off a load for bankers and bureaucrats. Even Tony Blair admitted as much at Copenhagen. Read his speech. He actually states the science is irrelevant! Its on the grauniad website. Even funnier is the bloke in charge of the IPCC spent most of his career working for a foundation that is part of Tata – the huge conglomerate that produces the Nano, and wants to give every Indian a car. How very green.
    I think the terms fraudster and hypocrite apply. Don’t see him living a green. low carbon lifestyle…..or indeed any other Copenhagen delegates.

    2) No car is green – I am forced to use Prius’ and hybrids at work. They are rubbish and inefficient. CO2 is not a pollutant – heavy metals found in large quantities in hybrids are (they are full of batteries). The batteries in these cars only last about 3 years, then need replacing. Aside from huge cost to the owner, with the best will in the world a significant quantity will be dumped illegally causing much bigger problems for future generations (groundwater pollution etc) than the alleged warming. Nature has a track record of adapting to changing climate – its less successful with heavy metals. Also 2nd/3rd hand Prius will become largely worthless as the cost of the batteries will soon outweigh the value of the car. So they will be scrapped, and all the embedded energy in manufacturing will be wasted. I have a 4×4 – it may use more fuel now but I know with care it will last 20+ years unlike a Prius. If the Greens are serious then whole lifecycle costing is required and hybrids and other eco-cars simply don’t cut it. And as for those idiotic G-wiz things, then they just prove the green movement is trying to take us back to the caves. The only way you can have a “green” car is by removing all semblence of safety? Whatever.

    I also assume you know that tungsten lightbulbs posed very little pollution risk to the environment or your own health, but now you have been forced/conned into using mercury vapour tubes (the engineering name for low energy bulbs). And if you break one you have contaminated that room/enviroment with mercury. Hope you haven’t got kids. Thanks greens for poisoning me and my family.

    PS Your cover photo looks distinctly photoshopped – run out of polar bear images to use?

    And what of the population issue, the biggie the greens can’t quite manage to address?

    Lets look at a few facts:

    not safe – a lie, look at the insurance industry stats. Theyt are in fact safer in wide variety of statistical measures than “normal” cars. The ABI can help here. Typically 4×4’s have less accidents than average as the visibility from being higher up is better. If you’re hit by one its worse (not for adults though as high bonnets can be better than low ones for taller adults) but statistically you’re unlikely to be hit by one. If you’re really worried about being run over it ain’t 4×4’s you need to be watching for.

    not clean – damn site cleaner than a Prius full of toxic heavy metals that will be dumped within 5-10 years.

    not cool – and a Prius driven by hollywood luvvies when they’re not jetting around the world with their high carbon lifestyles is?

    Nothing personal but why do you pick on 4×4’s? Read a copy of What Car and see the real gas guzzlers. Why not pick on 150mph BMW M3’s or Lotus’ or all the cars that can do terrifying unecessary speeds, use far more fuel than 4×4’s (Evo’s getting 4pmg when thrashed) and statistically far more likely to kill you? Please feel free to explain. We know the reason, 4×4’s are more likely to have kids in the the people who abuse 4×4 drivers get an extra buzz from upsetting children. What lovely people. Too scared to face off the boy racers but schoolkids are fine.

  6. Goodness me Tony – that’s quite a lot to digest but I’ll try and reply to a few of your points straightaway.

    1. Obviously I don’t believe that global warming is a scam, so I’ll get on with some new blog posts asap which show you a bit of the science & facts.
    2. Sorry to hear you are not happy with your hybrid car at work. We are just at the beginning of a massive revolution in eco car design so please allow for human error as we try to change things for the better. What’s that phrase…. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” !
    3. Thanks for info on tungsten lightbulbs – I will look into that more.
    4. You asked about population issues – perhaps you’d like to read my previous blog articles on this. It’s a big concern of mine personally – see Stopping at Two – a pledge to my two children and How many children should we have? There’s also Will our children have enough food.
    5. I agree that large cars and fast cars also guzzle gas. We ALL have a responsibility to stop being so greedy using up the earth’s resources like there was no tomorrow. There is absolutely no sense in people in town’s and cities driving big, fast, gas guzzling cars or 4×4’s. And like I said in the article above – I do not understand why – if you do not NEED a 4×4 for practical reasons, why on earth you are driving one. It has to be because you think it looks good, and you thinking you look good is using resources we simply DO NOT have! Please consider a smaller, more eco friendly car.

    Thank you for your comment by the way – parts of it are verging on impolite I must say, but I’ll let it pass this time as I do want to hear from my readers even if you do disagree with my posts.


  7. We have a 4×4 .. I have 3 large dogs and a caravan and needed either 2 bigs cars (1 for caravan and business and one for dogs) or 1 4 x 4 that had a seperate section for the 4 legged fiends.
    We went with a Mitsubishi Raging Bull – 2.5 litre and to be honest I have shame in driving it. We did fit a diesel saving device to it (don’t ask me what .. Im not that technical!) but it seems to work. I am a proud 4 x 4 driver and in reality the engine size of my vehicle is small than some “cars” out there!

  8. Thank you for adding your comment Jayne, It looks like your Mitsubishi Raging Bull is doing about 31 miles per gallon (at it’s best). What does the diesel making device give you? If you need a large vehicle for your 3 dogs – how about a much more eco estate car, for example the VW Passat gives double the miles per gallon you are currently using. Probably a lot easier to drive and park too – see for more ideas on greener cars.

  9. Looked at the Passat estate but wasnt big enough for caravan .. also would not be able to have seperate compartment for dogs .. only solution would be to have a large car for the caravan and another large one for the business. Mitsubishi truck saved us money and overall is better than having 2 large cars. With the thingy device we get 37 mph

  10. Why do you need something massive for the caravan Jayne – is it a really big one? Sorry – might be being thick here, but you see cars pulling caravans everyday. Can’t dogs go in back of estate with a mesh wire divide? We have a big dog and he fits in the back of our Ford Fiesta just fine. Occasionally the kids get a slobbery ear but hey – that’s the joy of having a dribbly setter!

  11. The cold is creating real problems in the High Peak, the pavements are still very icy and many kids have been hurt walking on the icy paths at our local school.

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