Obesity and Diabetes Linked to Lack of Towing Capacity?

January 23rd, 2007 by William


I was reading through press releases today when I stumbled across a particular item put out by the Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) that I found to be extraordinary. Many releases contain obvious propaganda but this press release took things further using scare tactics to push for more towing capacity.

The headline stated “99% of Car Towing Capacity Lost Since 1970s”, a fact which on its own might be just an interesting tidbit, but in the context of this article was a frightening sign of the towing apocalypse. In fact I’m a bit surprised that the Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet I got today didn’t contain any info on the demise of towing capacity in passenger cars. According to the SUVOA President Barry W. McCahill, “The gutting of car towing capacity should be a wake up call that major lifestyle consequences could loom large as the nation contemplates the next wave of energy policy changes”. Sounding like another President I know McCahill continued, “The threat is on several fronts — California’s carbon dioxide law and the 10 states that have chosen to follow suit”.


SUVOA is deeply concerned that cars no longer have the towing capacity that they use to in the 1970’s. Their fear is that this lack of towing capacity will have a negative impact on our ability to recreate outdoors. But the SUVOA is not alone in this feeling; the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) sees the end of (towing) days coming as well. Derrick Crandall, President and CEO of the ARC, says that trucks and SUV’s are under siege as well, “Ironically, the only vehicles left that enable people to enjoy the great outdoors — SUVs and pickups — are under attack and could also lose towing capacity. Nobody intended to kill off the station wagon that was the mainstay for family transportation and recreation. But it happened”.


In a bold move worthy of a Ford commercial Crandall brought out the big gun and used the rise of obesity and diabetes over the last 20 years to his advantage. Cleverly, he pointed out that these health problems can largely be prevented by a good diet and plenty of exercise, like the type of exercise you get doing outdoor recreation… the kind of out door recreation that requires towing. Ah ha!

The war on towing capacity is upon us ladies and gentlemen and if we don’t act now, pretty soon our children won’t be able to tow little red wagons behind them as they walk down the street.

Sarcasm aside, I like towing just as much as the next man, but I don’t feel threatened in the least bit that passenger cars tow less then they did 30 years ago. It isn’t a conspiracy; it is simply that the demand for cars with high towing capacities isn’t substantial. That’s why we have trucks and SUV’s that can tow Boeing 747’s, and no I don’t think pickup trucks are at risk of becoming wimpy little toys that can’t tow a thing. Also who said the station wagon is dead? Last glance up and down my street and I saw about 5 of them, a Dodge Magnum, two Volvos, a Subaru Legacy, and a Mercedes.


Now my biggest point of contention with this article is the link between towing, outdoor recreation, and health. I spend plenty of time doing motorized recreation from four wheeling to vintage rallies and I would never claim that it helps reduce my risk of becoming obese. Similarly I feel that the majority of tow-related recreation won’t help much either. Just think of the things that people tow for recreation, Jet Skis, boats, 4×4’s, motorcycles, camping trailers etc… All of these things help you see and enjoy the outdoors in some manner but do any of them really reduce the risk of diabetes (ok dirt bikes are pretty physical)? But when doctors tell you to get outside because you need more exercise they mean go for a hike or a swim not go blasting around in your power boat. I know you can swim from a power boat, but you certainly don’t need a power boat to swim, see what I’m getting at?

So fear not, we won’t become a nation of obese people with trucks that can’t tow a thing. Obesity may be inevitable but towing capacity is here to stay.

-Bill Mertz

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3 Responses to “Obesity and Diabetes Linked to Lack of Towing Capacity?”

  1. OPTIMUSCRIME.COM - » This Explains All Those Lardass Prius Drivers Says:

    […] We’re happy to award the Causal Arrow Award for Creative Induction to the American automobile industry, which is apparently trying out the argument that obesity is the result of (wait for it) a decline in automotive towing capacity. […]

  2. Mr Toad Says:

    I want to see an average weight comparison between Prius and Suburban drivers.

    Fun fact: The regular-cab Dodge Ram SRT-10, which has a 500+ horsepower V10 engine, has a payload capacity of just 1131 pounds and is “not recommended” for towing. Maybe there is a conspiracy at work.

  3. Nathan Says:

    or perhaps it is that we’ll need more towing capacity to support the inflating average american :-/.

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.