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Gas mileage law threatens large SUVs

Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007, at 9:45 AM

Are days numbered for those big 'ol SUVs?

A law was officially signed Wednesday calling for an average 35 miles per gallon for cars, trucks and SUVs by 2020. That compares to 27.5 for cars and 22.2 for SUVs today.

I'm sure, sarcastically speaking, Escalades and Navigators can meet that standard.

More likely we'll see a larger marketing push for smaller cars. Those numbers quoted above represent an overall average. The more smaller cars sell, the more super-sized SUVs can be sold while keeping the overall corporate average near 35 mpg.

I sometimes wonder why people who aren't pulling horse trailers or the like, or those without large families, need those huge vehicles. I sometimes also wish I'd bought one myself.

But some statistics show sales are falling. I've owned smaller SUVs for nearly seven years and am getting itchy for a regular car again. My Honda CR-V's decent, but it definitely doesn't roll like a car with handling package upgrades.

Outside the United States, small cars are the norm with the exception of Australia (where some higher-powered GM cars are sourced from now) and some oil-rich Middle Eastern countries.

I wonder if Americans could adjust to smaller vehicles? Somehow I doubt it.

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we as American's could easily adjust, but most people just don't want to. My family own's a full size chevy truck to pull the horse trailer with. But our main vehicle has been a Toyota Camry for years. At 30+ mpg it is easy on the wallet and gives a decent ride.

-- Posted by Bill H on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 2:59 PM

We were a family of five growing up with yearly trps to Myrtle Beach, SC. We did not own a van until I was 13 years old, so you can imagine how crowded those trips were. The van was the best thing my parents ever bought.

We have two kids, and plan on getting a bigger vehicle when we have a third in the future.

We have done our research, and when the time comes, we will choose the best fuel efficent SUV or mini van that will have to meet our needs. We are converting to "Going Green," so it will have to have GREAT MPG!

I could not make my all of our kids sit in the back seat of a car squished up like I did growing up.

-- Posted by Mary on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 7:55 PM

After years of driving a smaller car, I bought an SUV last spring. I always felt my smaller car was too small, and your point about why anyone other than someone with a large family or someone with a trailer or the like would need a larger SUV was well taken. I love my Jeep, but I don't really "need" it. I find myself simply "storing" more junk in my extra space. I'll admit, though, it would be quite an adjustment going back to something smaller now that I've gotten used to my SUV. Perhaps the money I'll save will make it easier to go back to a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle...when the time comes.

-- Posted by sfowler on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 9:04 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.