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FUEL ECONOMY increases for SUVs are necessary and will make the vehicles SAFER for motorists and the ENVIRONMENT.

SUVs are designated "light trucks" by the government, meaning that fuel economy standards for SUVs are substantially lower than cars.  As a result, the average 2002 SUV went 17.3 miles for each gallon of gas, compared to the average car at 24.3.

Fact 1: SUV owners pay an average of $350 a year for gas more than they would if their SUV was as efficient as a car.

Fact 2: This extra payment by SUV owners amounts to nearly $9 billion each year in additional gas costs.

Fact 3: If 2002 SUVs were as efficient as 2002 cars, 151 million barrels of oil would have been saved in that year alone.

Fact 4: Without appropriate, reasonable increases in fuel economy standards, EPA data show that automakers made use of predictable advances in technology and engine efficiency (totaling 1.9 mpg average yearly) to bulk up the weight and acceleration of vehicles while allowing vehicle gas mileage stagnate. 

Fact 5:  Applying engine and fuel efficiency improvements since 1981 towards the improvement of fuel economy would have brought cars on average to approximately 40 mpg, and light trucks to 28 mpg, without any other special effort by automakers.  On-the-shelf, currently available technology was also able to augment these gains.

Fact 6: Instead, automakers increased the weight and size of vehicles, widening the divergence of vehicle weights on the highway, and making two-vehicle crashes far more deadly. Weight is the single most important determinant in the risk posed by SUVs to others on the road.  In 1975, the difference in average weight between cars and light trucks was 3 lbs. In 2003, it was 1,185 lbs.

Click here to read the full report "SUVs: The High Costs of Lax Fuel Economy Standards for American Families."  (Sources for above facts available in the report.)

Click here to link to Public Citizen’s Fuel Economy website.

Click here to read Public Citizen’s comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration public docket on increases to light truck (SUV, pickup, and minivan) fuel economy and related safety issues.

Click here to view a list of helpful links discussing SUVs, safety, and fuel economy.

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