In today’s society there are many “personal choices” we make that we feel only affect us. But in reality we are hurting our society by the actions we do. One of the ways is driving an SUV. (Sport Utility Vehicle) It might be big, can haul a lot of stuff and make you feel safer on the road, but in reality, it’s bad for the environment, bad on the economy, and can cause accidents which put others at risk.
The American people are so dependent on oil that the supply and demand increases the cost every time at the pump. If people are willing to pay the four dollars a gallon, then the stores will charge it. The less fuel efficient your car is, the more you are going to the pump. The Hummer H2 for example, gets 12.3 miles per gallon. There are no rules right now but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require better mileage by 2011. The H2 will have to increase its mpg to 22.3. Still that is very low considering most compact cars minimal is 27.5. Ron DeFore, a spokesman for the sport-utility vehicle Owners of America, a non-profit consumer group, questioned whether the rules were needed given high gas prices. He says he fears the standards will lead to higher vehicle prices, reduced performance and fewer options such as V-8 engines and four-wheel drive. The Transportation Department says the rules will save nearly 11 billion gallons of fuel — including 2 billion from the largest SUVs alone. "Fighting America's oil addiction with these standards is like fighting lung cancer by smoking 49 cigarettes a day instead of 50," said Don MacKenzie, a Union of Concerned Scientists engineer. (O'Donnell, 2006) As part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requires automakers to comply with gas mileage or fuel economy standards set by the Department of Energy. The current CAFE standard for cars is 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg), and has not changed since 1986. The current CAFE standard for light trucks -- including SUVs -- is 20.7 mpg. This standard has been in place since 1996. But then why do some SUVs get significantly less than 20.7 miles per gallon? CAFE is an average standard applied on a fleet-wide basis for each manufacturer. So, for example, the fuel economy ratings for a manufacturer's entire line of light trucks must average at least 20.7 mpg for the manufacturer to comply with the standard. (Frontline: Before you buy an SUV) The most fuel efficient SUV is the Toyota RAV4 will get 25mpg in city and 31 on the highway. The less fuel efficient are Land Rover Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, and GMC K1500 Yukon Denali all get 12 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. (Frontline: Before you buy an SUV) The big car companies can get away from CAFE standards by having a more fuel efficient car in its lineup as well, but offer the more popular ones at a lower standard. And be honest, what do you see more of the Land Rovers and Escalades or the Toyota RAV4?
Another bad side of the SUV is the increase of air pollution it causes. Before 1975, all light trucks were classified by EPA as light duty vehicles or passenger cars. A case was brought by the International Harvester to the U.S. Court of Appeals and they concluded that light trucks should be classified differently, due to the agricultural and commercial nature of their use. Light trucks were then given their own classification and have faced less stringent emissions standards since then. Under the current Clean Air Act (CAA) Tier 1 standards, light trucks are allowed to emit higher levels of pollution with each heavier weight class. These standards for light trucks are generally less stringent than those for passenger cars. Only vehicles in the T1 class (trucks under 3,501 lbs.) meet the same standards as passenger cars. Most SUVs and pickups, and all vans, are permitted to emit 29% to 47% more carbon monoxide (CO) and 75% to 175% more nitrogen oxides (NOx ) than passenger cars. (Yacobucci, January) Even...
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