I know we're only three days into 2005 but I've already found one of those bonehead columns only a non-car person could write. Unfortunately it comes in the form of a staff editorial at the Union Leader, a New Hampshire publication. I'm guessing it's a staff editorial because it has no byline. That means I can't tell who penned this piece and give blame where it is due. In that case the entire newspaper is at fault. The premise is New Hampshire based Timberland (makers of boots and clothing) is offering a $3,000 incentive to employees that buy a hybrid vehicle. That is an amazing offer to their 6,000 workers and basically offsets the additional cost of a hybrid compared to a traditional gas-powered vehicle. So what angle of all the possible angles out there does the local newspaper take? "Unfortunately, the program might make Timberland employees less safe." What?

Color me stunned at the stupidity of the rest of this editorial which points out that less people die in crashes if they?re in larger vehicles. Well that?s it then. Pack it up everybody out there that drives a Corolla or Mazda3. You?re unsafe. Forget your good crash test ratings and airbags. Go buy a Suburban, hurry or it may already be too late. Now the topper: ?For some people, the utility of a pickup or SUV, or the safety of a heavy sedan, are more important than the higher mileage and lower emissions of a small car. If your child is killed in a collision, it is no comfort to know that at least you polluted a little less before the crash.?

Holy crap! How irresponsible is this newspaper? Oh and did I say stupid? I hate to use that word but here?s another stellar quote: ?While hybrid vehicles are a great invention, only Ford makes one (the Escape) that is not small, and it is hardly large.? So they?re saying even the Escape won?t do. How about the full-size Accord Hybrid? Breathe Dave, breathe. We have 362 more days to see what other misinformed folks are out there. Can?t wait.

Oh and before I forget, kudos to Timberland for such a cool incentive. I don?t like their products (overpriced IMO) but at least they?re doing something positive.

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