A Veteran Defends The SUV On Which He Depends
R. E. Blanton, a physically-challenged 70 year old veteran and member of the Grassroots Network, discuses the security, comfort and flexibility provided by his SUV. Mr. Blanton, who spent 11 years defending his country, considers the advantages of his vehicle to be well worth the fuel costs. Anyone who favors restricting vehicle choice should consider just what that would mean for Mr. Blanton –- and the countless other people who depend on SUVs every day.
Click to read R.E. Blanton's comments
Click to Comment
FuelEconomyIn.US Launches Stakeholder Dialog with NHTSA
FuelEconomyIn.US is initiating a substantive dialog between our Grassroot Network members and NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). We are asking our members to write us discussing the questions, comments and issues you want to raise with NHTSA regarding SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans. We will provide the letters to federal officials and report back to you with their responses as well as our own analysis. We will also be making space available on our FuelEconomyIn.US for important safety messages from NHTSA.
To encourage substantive discourse, $50 Amazon gift certificates will be awarded to the writers of the twenty best letters. You must be a registered member of our Grassroots Network to participate. All letters should be e-mailed to comments@FuelEconomyIn.US.
Click to read FuelEconomyIn.US letter to NHTSA
Click to Join Grassroots Network
Click to Comment
The Minivan of Evil?
If Albany's Times Union opposes consumers having the right to choose the minivan, pickup
truck or sport utility vehicle that they believe best meets the needs of their family or business, the
paper should at least be forthright enough to say so directly. Instead, in its recent editorial,
“SUVs, still guzzling,” the paper attempts to hide its anti-consumer, anti-truck views. The
editorial castigates, albeit inaccurately, SUVs but doesn't even mention other types of light
trucks such as minivans or pickup trucks. Why? According to the most recent data on the
federal government's FuelEconomy.gov website, there are 32 SUVs from seven different
manufacturers that get better city gas mileage than the highest mileage minivan. There are also
an additional 10 SUVs that match the highest city mileage minivan. This is not to say that
minivans are not fuel efficient, simply that they serve certain specific consumer needs
(transporting families, friends, pets, groceries, etc.), just as pickup trucks serve a variety of
personal and business needs. However, given that there are more than 40 SUVs from 10
manufacturers that are at least as fuel efficient as the highest mileage minivan, why is the Times
Union not excoriating the owners of minivans? Why not complain about the owners of pickups?
If the Times Union is going to decide what types of vehicles consumers should be able to buy, the
paper needs to explain the basis for their decision. Of course, the editors should also explain
why their views should replace the judgment of millions of consumers.
However, if the Times Union is going to focus only on SUVs, than at least they should get their
numbers right. For example, the editorial claims that SUVs account for 48% of all vehicle sales
today... However, according to the February 2003 edition of J. D. Power and Associates' The
Power Report, the actual sales share of SUVs for 2002 was 23.62%.
The editorial claims that SUVs are heavyweight vehicles, with high-horsepower engines that
guzzle gasoline... Not only are there a very wide range of SUVs available to meet a wide range
of consumer needs (just as there are many different sizes and styles of pickup trucks and
minivans) but many of those SUVs are smaller vehicles. Furthermore, small SUVs are a hot
growth segment. Even back in 2001, USA Today, in an article Small SUVs catch on, especially
with women, noted Sales of small sport-utility vehicles are roaring up 37% this year from
last, on track to hit 1 million while the rest of the new vehicle market is idling.
Although there were a number of serious factual flaws in the Times Union editorial, none
compared with their assertion that, If SUVs are so popular with consumers, they will likely buy
them even if the price tag were to rise... Thus, it is apparently the view of the newspaper's
editors that consumers are able to afford what they like, regardless of price; an unreality
completely in keeping with the rest of the editorial. Before making unfounded assumptions
about consumers, the Times Union may want to try a little research, such as speaking with SUV
owners. The paper could start with the Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America,
www.suvoa.com. Perhaps a little education would go a long way to erasing the Times Union's
stereotypes about the owners of SUVs and other light trucks.
Click to read "The Power Report", February 2003
Click to read USA Today, "Small SUVs catch on, especially with women"
Click to read Times Union, "SUV's, still guzzling"
Safety, the Environment and the Future of SUV Regulation
Theresa Sickmiller, a Grassroots Network member from California, provides us her provocative views on a range of SUV-related issues. Of particular note, Theresa provides her thoughts on how SUVs should be regulated.
A Grassroots Network Member Recommends Changing the Way SUVs are Regulated
Who do I contact to push for SUV's to be correctly categorized as passenger cars instead of light trucks? That is how they are primarily used. They are used to run to the grocery store, not to haul construction equipment. As passenger cars, they would then be held accountable to realistic fuel consumption and emissions laws. I think this would be far more effective in helping the environment than trying to get people not to buy SUV's. Lets face it, Ford and Chevy have way too much invested and can spend millions on ridiculous ads to make people think they need SUV's. So, fine. Lets let them buy SUV's and use them as passenger cars. And lets TREAT them as passenger cars. These are soccer moms not construction workers buying luxury SUV's. When was the last time you saw someone actually using the cargo space for something other than a Costco run? Thank you for listening.