Great Easterbrook column today about the harm of SUVs and large pickup trucks. He quotes research showing that not only do these behemoths pollute more than the average car (which is obvious), not only are they a greater risk to people involved in accidents with them (obvious if you think about it), but they actually increase the number of accidents and injuries in the US! It is hard to explain just how common these vehicles are over here, though not as difficult as convincing someone that their lifestyle doesn’t really necessitate an armored assault vehicle with cup holders.
I don’t know how many people I’ve met while in the US, but several hundred would be a fair guess. Of those, there are two who actually need a pickup truck, as they both own farms and have to haul hay and whatnot. I’ve also met one family that probably needed an SUV, as they lived on an unfinished road some miles from the highway in the middle of nowhere in snowy Wisconsin. They had a Ford Fiesta and a Ford Escort.
Note: We are guilty of a small sin in this regard as we drive a Minivan (or People Carrier for those in the UK). But ours is reasonably fuel efficient by minivan standards, we do only 3/4 the mileage of the average American (and less even than the average Brit), it’s our only car, and minivan’s in any case aren’t as bad as SUVs. And only having one car means that we actually do need the extra space to accomodate visiting relatives often enough that it’s worth having a minivan. So that’s why this piece is only somewhat a middle-class angst-ridden whine against whatever you’ve got.