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Story pick: Big wheels keep on turning

The SUV era is coming to a close, right? Isn't that a given, following the Great Recession, the near-death experience of General Motors, that brush with $4 gas and, most recently, the petroleum-discrediting artesian well of pollution that continues to belch oil into the Gulf. It's like the line from the Lord of the Ring: The age of the SUV is over. The time of the hybrid has come.

Right?

Ha!

Ride along with S. C. Gwynne in the most recent Texas Monthly for a look at just how socially durable the SUV has proven itself in America, especially in the Lone Star State, where the Chevy Suburban has been dubbed the national car of Texas. There was a fall from grace: SUV sales plunged from a peak of 773,000 to a trough last year of 217,098. But at a behemoth factory outside of Austin (that's a factory that makes behemoths, not the other way around), overtime crews are back to churning out the biggest of the sub-Hummer category: Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons and Escalades.

Gwynne, a driver of measly Ford Explorers himself, turns in a fascinating cultural history of the family big rig and seeks to explain our unquenchable appetite for them -- no matter the circumstances.

By Steve Hendrix  | July 14, 2010; 8:24 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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