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Four Wheel Drive SUV popularity -Reply

"I would love to have one but cannot justify the need
where I live." 
BINGO!  Those SUV are so popular because
they're fun -- it has little or nothing to do with need.  
Most Americans are not nearly as concerned as
you are about wasted fossil fuel, air pollution, traffic
congestion, and all the other resources that are
sucked up by driving a gas-guzzling SUV's 50-100
miles per day.  

As for the "cost-benefit thing", I don't see any way
out of this until we radically restructure the cost of
driving in this country.  That would be accomplished
primarily through higher gas prices, which are
ridiculously low, and don't begin to compensate for
the total environmental and societal cost of driving. 
Greater use of toll roads, and taxes on parking
might also help.  (Yes, I know that higher gas prices
would disproportionally hurt the poor, but that would
eventually even out if a large share of the money
went into mass transit.)

Good Luck accomplishing any of this because it is
going to take a massive shift in American thinking
and a wresting of power out of the hands of auto
makers and oil companies.

Thanks for the opportunity to rant on one of my
favorite subjects.  Opinions are, of course, my own.

Nancy Helm
EPA Region 10
Seattle, WA

03/26/97 06:37am >>>
Ever since going thru the 1972 fuel shortage I have
been a proponent  of using less. And so have a lot
of other people. Something has  happened to
change this. Today the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
is  extremely popular. Since most are four wheel
drive and heavy, they use  more fuel.  I read
somewhere that the national Miles/Gallon usage 
increased by 18% due to the popularity of the SUV.
What is driving  this? From what I gather many are
buying them because they feel more  secure driving
that type of vehicle. The other day I saw a Ford 
Explorer lightly hit by a school bus. The SUV rolled
over on it's  roof. They are much more top heavy
than sedans.  Last year I saw a number of SUVs in
the ditch due to icy conditions. The sedans drove 
slower or stayed home. Here in Eastern North
Carolina, there are no hills,  little or no snow, and I
have'nt seen a dirt road in years, yet SUVs are all
I would love to have one but cannot justify the need
where I live. In  western PA or similar snow belt
place they would be great. Must this waste 
continue? Any thoughts on how to push the
cost/benefit thing?  

Rudy Moehrbach
Waste Reduction Resource Center
P.O.Box 29569
Raleigh, NC 27626-9569,Tel 800-476-8686,FX
Homepage http://owr.ehnr.state.nc.us/wrrc1.htm