April 5, 2010
For decades they have thundered along America’s highways and choked up parking lots, a symbol of extravagance unchallenged by politicians, emissions standards or common sense.
They are the four-wheel-drive behemoths known to the US Government as “light trucks” and to consumers as SUVs (sport utility vehicles) — but their easy ride as the world’s most conspicuous mobile polluters ended this week.
In a coup that achieves something President Clinton promised but never delivered, President Obama has forced the big three US carmakers, and their unions, to accept tough mileage rules for cars and SUVs. The rules will cut emissions from vehicles by more than a third over the next four years.
Whether the new rules end America’s love affair with huge cars remains to be seen. But they are being introduced at a time when SUV sales are at a fraction of their peak level five years ago. Their demise coincides with the country’s first mass-produced “plug-in” electric car, which finally rolled off a Michigan production line this week.
This article was posted: Monday, April 5, 2010 at 4:07 am