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Editorials About the EPA, OSHA and the Environmental Field - From Professionals in it!

EHSO's Environmental & Safety Editorials

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SUV Fuel Economy

Automobiles have a large impact on the quality of our environment and public health. Automobile use affects virtually every aspect of environmental quality - including noise levels, air quality, water pollution, and urban sprawl. Ninety percent of the environmental impact of automobiles occurs through the operation of the cars: about 10 percent from the production, raw materials and disposal of automobiles.

  • Federal law permits Sport Utility Vehicles to waste 33 percent more gasoline than passenger cars.
    • SUVs can spew 30 percent more carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and 75 percent more nitrogen oxides than passenger cars.
      • Since 1990, the inefficiency of light trucks (including SUVs) have led to Americans wasting an extra 70 billion gallons of gasoline.

      Sport utility vehicles present a paradox to consumers -- television advertisements present them as a way to return to nature, yet they actually accelerate existing environmental problems. Commercials often depict happy families driving on mountain roads, avoiding fallen rocks and enjoying the flowered wilderness in leather-seated comfort. The truth is that these vehicles are contributing to the destruction of our natural resources with their low fuel economy!

      There is no reason why SUV's can not be made with more fuel efficient engines, every bit as powerful as the less well-engineered truck engines currently in most SUV's. The federal government is currently considering requiring a 1 mpg increase! Wow, what a huge increase!

      I have an SUV myself - after many years of driving light, small, fuel-efficient cars, I bought one after moving to Atlanta, where the average driver demonstrates an unique mix of aggressiveness and stupidity. (they drive very fast, while weaving in and out of lanes, never using turn signals, then from the far left lane, realizing they are about to miss their exit, they cut perpendicularly across 4 lanes of traffic, all the while giving the finger to the drivers in their path and visibly cursing them. Now, that is both aggressive AND stupid!

      I also needed the extra carrying capacity! But the low fuel economy drove me... to take mass transit - so my suv now goes only 6 miles per day round trip to the train station. But why does it get a mere 14 mpg? It is not THAT heavy!

      As consumers we should demand better fuel-efficiency from the makers of all vehicles!

      To see a comparison of fuel efficiency, greenhouse gases and gasoline costs for U.S. cars and SUV's click here.

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      The preceding is an opinion! Facts and figures are recalled mostly from memory, but I could dig up witnesses and documents and win in court, I'm sure, if that fat P.o.S. wants to try me.

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