SUV Owners of America at it Again

March 1st, 2007 by William

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Get their side of the story on the SUVOA website

I admit I am hugely biased against the Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA). They put out some incredibly stupid press releases and they come across extraordinarily arrogant. Supposedly they stand for the rights of SUV and light truck owners. What a noble cause. I didn’t know that SUV owners had special rights that the rest of us normal people didn’t, or that those rights needed protecting. I own a light truck that you might even call an SUV (my old Jeep) and I’ve never felt that my rights as a truck owner were being stepped on. But maybe the SUVOA knows some things that I don’t.

I got a press release from them today saying they are available to discuss the negative impacts of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) changes currently being debated in Congress. Communication is a good thing so I won’t harp on them for making themselves available to talk, but the release went on:
With sustained high gas prices, everyone wants better fuel economy so why shouldn’t policy makers tighten CAFE standards? Because history has shown that forcing vehicle fuel economy beyond what is technologically affordable results in vehicles that are more expensive, smaller, less powerful and with reduced towing and hauling capacity. There is no “magic carburetor” that the government can force out of the closet. There is no free lunch at Uncle Sam’s CAFE. If there were, why wouldn’t any one of the profit-driven car companies already have produced a full-sized family sedan or SUV that gets 5, 10, 20 more miles per gallon or more without these tradeoffs?

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First of all CAFE is not that old–1975 I think–so there really isn’t that much information to draw conclusions from, and history will often times tell you whatever you want it to tell you. Secondly many of the profit-driven car companies also make money from oil profits. It’s no secret that there is a strong link between the two industries so making cars more efficient might not make certain people more money in the short term, although as Toyota has shown thinking ahead does pay off down the road. As for magic carburetors, dudes, new cars are fuel injected. But I have to admit a magic carburetor sounds pretty cool in a Jambi from Pee Wee’s Playhouse kind of way.

The bottom line is this: If there is a demand for SUV’s and light trucks that are affordable, get good gas mileage and have decent towing capacity than auto manufacturers will figure out a way to build them. Someone will develop (if they haven’t already) affordable technology to make this possible and the car companies will make massive profits and you can tow huge boats wherever you please. Or if you’re really bent on getting crappy gas mileage by a giant SUV from the last 10 years, Lord knows there are plenty on the market.

Let me restate that I have nothing against small trucks and small SUV’s (in fact I like them) or large trucks and SUVs for that matter when they are a necessity. I just don’t think higher CAFE standards will cause a crisis where there are no more SUV’s and light trucks with decent towing capacity on the market.

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but they keep sending me these releases and it’s hard to ignore them.

-Bill Mertz

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One Response to “SUV Owners of America at it Again”

  1. Mr Toad Says:

    It seems that SUVOA’s biggest concern is that big SUVs will be legislated out of existence. Based on recent sales figures, which show smaller, more efficient, car-based SUVs to be on the rise, and fullsize SUVs to be going down in popularity, it seems that any decline in large SUVs will be based more on whether or not people actually want to BUY these cars and not any government conspiracy. Plus, there will always be some demand for trailering horses, sheet rock, pieces of the space shuttle, etc, so I don’t think big fat tow rigs will ever go completely extinct. If that’s the case, then maybe SUVOA’s main concern is not whether or not THEY will be able to buy a fullsize SUV, but whether or not guys like you and me will be able to. And that’s not their concern. They might also be worried about the cost of fullsize rigs, but a full blown Ford Super Duty has been a near $40k truck for years. Perhaps they should be more concerned about vehicle styles that really ARE endangered, like the small, lightweight, affordable, RWD coupe and sedan.

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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.

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