June 16, 2003

SUV owners group responds to restrictive California legislation

Washington, D.C. – The Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) President Jason H. Vines issued a statement in response to proposed legislation that would restrict the State of California and any of its agencies from purchasing or leasing sport utility vehicles (SUVs), unless the agency received an exemption from the Director of the Department of General Services (DGS):

“Once again, as policy makers are joining a very vocal minority of celebrities and celebrity wannabes attempting to punish SUVs and their owners, hypocrisy is running rampant. SUVs are purchased by millions of individuals and governments because of the utility and safety these vehicles provide.

“We ask, if the debate is about energy use, why stop at vehicles? The average house in California is 1,600 square feet. All state employees and celebrity spokespeople with larger than average houses and therefore using greater energy should sell their homes now and ‘rightsize’ for the environment.

“In this new attempt to demonize SUVs and their owners, these lawmakers say it’s not just about fuel usage, but tail pipe emissions as well? If this is true, then California must immediately sell all of its four-year-old or older passenger cars because they have dirtier tailpipe emissions than today’s most popular SUVs.

“Most important but sadly ignored, have California legislators weighed the safety consequences of moving state employees out of vehicles that have some of the lowest fatality rates (SUVs) and into vehicles with some of the highest fatality rates (small cars)? According to the latest figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the vehicle type with the lowest fatality rate is the largest of the SUVs.

“In the end, governments and individuals should select vehicles based on need, utility, safety, fuel economy, emissions, price and performance, not on political correctness. In some cases, this means buying an SUV. In other cases, it means purchasing a car, truck or minivan.”

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