RESOURCES AND SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
Every major automobile company produces at least one SUV, and some produce as many as eight or nine models. Hundreds of thousands roll off assembly lines each year, weighing from 3000 to more than 7000 pounds the Ford Expedition weighs in at 7087, but the winner is the Hummer H1 Wagon at 7600 pounds! Most of the material used to produce vehicles is virgin stuff (not recycled), but 15-20% of some vehicles (e.g., the Ford Excursion) is recycled steel, aluminum, rubber, and plastic. However, it is the 80+% virgin material that impacts the environment most dramatically. The big two (Fe and Al) come from ores with metal contents of 25% to perhaps 45%, but what we have termed the little eight (Cu, Ag, Cr, Pb, Zn, Sn, W, and PGE) are concentrated from ores with grades often far less than one percent, and they are excavated from large surface mines.
Owners of all types of vehicles drive around in pretty large holes in the ground, but drivers of sport utility vehicles may need their four wheel drive to get out of the holes they create. Look for the results of our discussions coming soon at http://geology.ohio-state.edu.