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advanced - idiomatic expressions and collocations

advanced - idiomatic expressions and collocations

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Published by: yamissch on Oct 21, 2009
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02/01/2013

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\u00a9Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Taken from the News section inwww.o n e sto p e n gl is h. co m
1. What does SUV stand for?

a. Super Useful Vehicle b. Sports Utility Vehicle c. Safe Use Vehicle

2. Why are environmentalists opposed to SUVs?

a. They are only owned by rich people.
b. They consume much more fuel than ordinary cars.
c. They take up a lot of space in cities.

3. Why do many Americans defend the use of SUVs?

a. They believe people should be free to choose the type of car they drive.
b. They regard buying an SUV as a patriotic act.
c. They don\u2019t care how much fuel they use.

Now look in the text and check your answers.
Match the following idiomatic expressions used in the text with their meanings.
1. gas-guzzling
a. a play on words meaning \u201cunpleasant cars\u201d
2. bete noire
b. filling a space completely; everywhere
3. axles of evil
c. fanatical environmentalists
4. hot-button issue
d. using a huge amount of fuel
5. Gotham
e. the favourite target for activists or protesters
6. envirocrazies
f. a very controversial topic
7. wall-to-wall
g. another name for New York City, derived from the city in the
Batman movies
\u00a9Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Taken from the News section inwww.o n e sto p e n gl is h. co m
Axles of evil

Arnold Schwarzenegger has
five. Mike Tyson has four.
And they account for a third of
all car sales in the US. But
now environmentalists are
going to war against the SUV.

It's Tuesday night on the
Upper West Side in New York
and Adam Weinstock has his
work cut out. As we turn the
corner on 68th and Lexington,
an entire block of sports utility
vehicles awaits him. Half car,
half truck they have names
like Navigators, Excursions,

Expeditions, Pathfinders,

Cherokees and Escalades -
names designed to evoke the
great outdoors parked in the
wealthy heart of densely
packed Gotham. Weinstock
approaches each one with a
critical eye. "You'll notice the
front grilles," he says, pointing
to the bars framing the
bumper. "They're particularly
important for all the trees
you're going to run into when
riding around New York City."
And then he slaps them with
a fake parking ticket.
"Violation: Earth," it says.
"Open your eyes, take a few
deep breaths, and get honest
with yourself . . . Why do you

need such a huge car? This is
not a militarized zone."

Ron DeFore, the
communications director of
SUV Owners of America
(SUVOA), says if anyone like
Weinstock touched his SUV
(what others call a four-wheel
drive or off-road vehicle), he
would "hire a private
investigator, track that animal
down and get them put in jail
for defacement of personal
property". He is tired of
"envirocrazies" giving
Americans a hard time for
their vehicle choice and
believes their arguments
about the environment and
safety are bogus. His
message to them? "Get on
with your life and stop
bitching."

The SUV is all the rage.
Along with its even bigger,
uglier, warlike cousin, the
Hummer, it makes up almost
a third of all the cars sold in
America. It has made "light
trucks" the most successful
category the US car industry
has ever known and one of
the most profitable. Indeed its
popularity is matched only by
the controversy it provokes.
Its gas-guzzling reputation
has made it the bete noire of
environmental activists. In

January some SUVs were set
alight by protesters in
Pennsylvania; in Washington
state they have had their
windshields smashed; in
Massachusetts they were
spray-painted with the slogan:
"No Blood for Oil". Branded
the "axles of evil", they have
been the target of a
nationwide advertising
campaign. They are ticketed
in their millions and attract
bumper stickers declaring:
"As a matter of fact, I do own
the road," and "I'm changing
the environment, ask me
how."

The row has transformed the
SUV from a car into a national
metaphor that envelops just
about every hot-button
political issue and cultural
touchstone from religion to
sex, from tax-cuts to the first
Gulf War. These are iconic
cars for iconic people.

The message from SUVOA's
founder on its website begins:
"Is this a Great Country or
What? Yes it is." Why?
"Because we have the
freedom to own and operate
the vehicles of our choice and
to express our belief that
freedom must not be
diminished because some
individuals dislike SUVs."

\u00a9Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Taken from the News section inwww.o n e sto p e n gl is h. co m

When fighting in Iraq was at
its height, Hummer drivers
regarded their choice of
vehicle as a patriotic act.
"When I turn on the TV, I see
wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm
proud," Sam Bernstein told
the New York Times. "They're
not out there in Audi A4s," he
said of the troops.

Someone who drives an SUV,
according to its critics, does
not care about the
environment. At the heart of
this controversy, like so many
here in recent years, is
America's favourite drug - oil.
Federal figures show that
four-wheel-drive SUVs
average 17.3 miles per gallon
and on some larger models
that goes down to 12.

Hummers are even worse. In
comparison, the average
petrol-fuelled saloon

manages 30mpg. In a
country where, according to
the US department of energy,
per-capita energy
consumption has been about
4.5 times greater than the
world average, the debate
over SUVs is linked to the
broader national debate -
namely what responsibility
America has to the rest of the
world and how it should go
about fulfilling it. "You could
say that the American way is
to do what you want when
you want," says Weinstock.
"But there's another American
way where people pull
together for the common
good and we try to set an

example for the rest of the
world."

So far the protests have had
little effect on the American
conscience. Sales of SUVs
continue to climb faster than
those of any other type of car.
One of the reasons that the
protesters' entreaties may
have converted so few is that
while the SUV's fuel
consumption makes a big
difference to the environment,
it has little effect on the wallet.
At about $1.67 a gallon (3.8
litres), gasoline in America is
so cheap that an extra five
miles to the gallon would save
the average American only
$135 a year.

The Guardian Weekly

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