Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Great article by Gregg Easterbrook at TNR. He discusses one of my favorite pet-peeves: SUV ownership. The issue symbolizes America's lack of willingness to sacrifice a bit for the sake of the country. By adamantly proclaiming one has the right to buy an SUV, one therefore guzzles gas, wastes energy, and increases our dependence on foreign oil.

Gregg writes:

The idea that there's a right to own a monstrous personal conveyance that wastes gasoline, causes road rage, and, most significantly from the public-good standpoint, increases traffic fatalities, is nonsense. (Studies show that SUVs not only raise total highway deaths, but that even those inside SUVs are more likely to die than those inside regular cars.) There's no doubt government has the power to regulate motor vehicles for public safety, pollution reduction, national energy policy, and for other issues appropriate to the general good. That government has largely failed to do so in the case of SUVs and the misnamed "light" pickup trucks is the fault of government, especially the Congress. The failure to regulate does not mean there is any inherent right to own unsafe mega-vehicles; it only means government has not regulated such machines properly. There was a time when government did not regulate private commerce in machine guns; this did not confer any protected right to own machine guns.

Great points.

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