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SUV Debate

May 16, 2003 • Volume 13, Issue 19
Are they too dangerous and environmentally harmful?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

A Chevrolet Tahoe looms over a Toyota Camry. SUV critics say cars incur greater damage in collisions with taller, heavier SUVs, especially when SUVs hit a car from the side.  (CQ Press/Kathy Koch)
A Chevrolet Tahoe looms over a Toyota Camry. SUV critics say cars incur greater damage in collisions with taller, heavier SUVs, especially when SUVs hit a car from the side. (CQ Press/Kathy Koch)

Sport-utility vehicles have become icons of American consumption in the past decade, changing the look of the nation's highways. But few consumer products have attracted such adulation and scorn. Fans of the trucklike passenger vehicles love their spacious interiors, rugged appearance and high-off-the-ground seating. Critics see them as gas-guzzling, turnover-prone behemoths that spew pollutants and endanger the occupants of smaller cars. Like minivans, SUVs are categorized by the government as light trucks, which are held to less stringent fuel-efficiency and safety standards than cars. The Bush administration has ordered automakers to increase light-truck mileage efficiency by a total of 1.5 mpg — to 22.2 mpg — during the 2005-2007 model years. But environmentalists say that's not enough.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Automobiles
Feb. 06, 2009  Auto Industry's FutureUpdated
May 16, 2003  SUV Debate
Oct. 26, 2001  Auto Safety
Jan. 21, 2000  Auto Industry's Future
Jul. 25, 1997  Aggressive Driving
Oct. 16, 1992  U.S. Auto Industry
Apr. 27, 1990  Curbing Auto-Insurance Premiums
Jul. 14, 1989  Automakers Face Trouble Down the Road
Aug. 31, 1984  U.S. Auto Industry: Strategies for Survival
Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
May 10, 1974  Auto Industry in Flux
Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Air Pollution
Motor Vehicles
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