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Go Back   Hummer Forums by Elcova > General Hummer Talk > In the News

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  #1  
Old 04-15-2004, 06:25 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Mary McLeod loves her Lincoln Aviator sport-utility vehicle. So when a conservative Web site recently alerted her to a Bush administration proposal that would encourage auto makers to reduce the weight of their heaviest SUVs, she fired off an e-mail to the Department of Transportation.

"This is America," wrote Ms. McLeod, a real-estate agent from Livonia, Mich. "It's an American's right to drive a small car if they choose, just as it's my right to drive an SUV if I choose."

Ms. McLeod's e-mail is among more than 1,000 messages urging the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drop its plan to tie fuel-economy standards to vehicle weight. The agency is soliciting comments until April 27, but many political observers don't expect a decision before the November election.

This fight features an unusually well-organized campaign stoked by an owners group with ties to the auto industry and by conservative Web sites eager to energize voters in an election year.

Bush administration officials say the proposal addresses auto makers' longstanding argument that fuel-economy rules prod them to make vehicles lighter and thus more vulnerable in accidents. To discourage this, NHTSA officials propose to divide today's "light trucks" -- a category that includes minivans, SUVs and pickups -- into different weight classes. Below a certain weight level -- about 5,000 pounds -- the standards would be less stringent as vehicles get heavier.

But NHTSA also is proposing tougher fuel-economy standards for vehicles above 5,000 pounds, including the Hummer H2 and the GMC Yukon Denali XL, hoping to slim some down to reduce the damage the heaviest models inflict in crashes with lighter vehicles.

Some SUV owners fear this is an attempt to restrict production of SUVs, which critics see as a symbol of Americans' profligate use of gasoline. "They're trying to pass a law to ban the manufacturers from making SUVs," says John Walker of Columbia City, Ind. The 69-year-old retired machinist drives a 1997 GMC Jimmy.

Others complain the rules don't make sense. "There are a lot of vehicles on the road that are even larger than my vehicle," says David Coston of Carmi, Ill., who drives a 1997 Chevy Suburban. "You've got the same issue with a semitrailer and a pickup."

Many of the e-mails sound similar. "We all want better mileage, but rules that ruin the usefulness of sport-utility vehicles won't solve anything," is a common line. Perhaps that's because many writers say their complaints were sparked by the same sources -- grassfire.org, conservativealerts.com and Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America, among others.

"We've been working our tails off" to alert drivers, says Ron DeFore, spokesman for the SUV owners' group. He says the proposal "may force people into vehicles that are smaller, less powerful, and not as safe as our current options."

Mr. DeFore also wears another hat. He is a partner in Stratacomm, a public-relations firm that shares offices with the SUV owners group and whose clients have included the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and DaimlerChrysler AG. Stratacomm's executive director until recently was Jason Vines, a seasoned auto-industry spokesman who now works as vice president for communications at DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group.

The SUV group hasn't commented formally on NHTSA's proposal, but its pronouncements closely track the Big Three's. The Big Three say the change would force them to stop making certain models or redesign them in ways that consumers won't like.

Some consumers aren't sympathetic. "There is absolutely NO reason for anyone to drive a Hummer on public roads," Jeffrey Plate, 52 years old, a retired teacher in Marshfield, Mass., wrote. "They should be taxed out of private (including business) ownership."
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Old 04-15-2004, 06:25 PM
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Klaus Klaus is offline
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WASHINGTON -- Mary McLeod loves her Lincoln Aviator sport-utility vehicle. So when a conservative Web site recently alerted her to a Bush administration proposal that would encourage auto makers to reduce the weight of their heaviest SUVs, she fired off an e-mail to the Department of Transportation.

"This is America," wrote Ms. McLeod, a real-estate agent from Livonia, Mich. "It's an American's right to drive a small car if they choose, just as it's my right to drive an SUV if I choose."

Ms. McLeod's e-mail is among more than 1,000 messages urging the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drop its plan to tie fuel-economy standards to vehicle weight. The agency is soliciting comments until April 27, but many political observers don't expect a decision before the November election.

This fight features an unusually well-organized campaign stoked by an owners group with ties to the auto industry and by conservative Web sites eager to energize voters in an election year.

Bush administration officials say the proposal addresses auto makers' longstanding argument that fuel-economy rules prod them to make vehicles lighter and thus more vulnerable in accidents. To discourage this, NHTSA officials propose to divide today's "light trucks" -- a category that includes minivans, SUVs and pickups -- into different weight classes. Below a certain weight level -- about 5,000 pounds -- the standards would be less stringent as vehicles get heavier.

But NHTSA also is proposing tougher fuel-economy standards for vehicles above 5,000 pounds, including the Hummer H2 and the GMC Yukon Denali XL, hoping to slim some down to reduce the damage the heaviest models inflict in crashes with lighter vehicles.

Some SUV owners fear this is an attempt to restrict production of SUVs, which critics see as a symbol of Americans' profligate use of gasoline. "They're trying to pass a law to ban the manufacturers from making SUVs," says John Walker of Columbia City, Ind. The 69-year-old retired machinist drives a 1997 GMC Jimmy.

Others complain the rules don't make sense. "There are a lot of vehicles on the road that are even larger than my vehicle," says David Coston of Carmi, Ill., who drives a 1997 Chevy Suburban. "You've got the same issue with a semitrailer and a pickup."

Many of the e-mails sound similar. "We all want better mileage, but rules that ruin the usefulness of sport-utility vehicles won't solve anything," is a common line. Perhaps that's because many writers say their complaints were sparked by the same sources -- grassfire.org, conservativealerts.com and Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America, among others.

"We've been working our tails off" to alert drivers, says Ron DeFore, spokesman for the SUV owners' group. He says the proposal "may force people into vehicles that are smaller, less powerful, and not as safe as our current options."

Mr. DeFore also wears another hat. He is a partner in Stratacomm, a public-relations firm that shares offices with the SUV owners group and whose clients have included the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and DaimlerChrysler AG. Stratacomm's executive director until recently was Jason Vines, a seasoned auto-industry spokesman who now works as vice president for communications at DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group.

The SUV group hasn't commented formally on NHTSA's proposal, but its pronouncements closely track the Big Three's. The Big Three say the change would force them to stop making certain models or redesign them in ways that consumers won't like.

Some consumers aren't sympathetic. "There is absolutely NO reason for anyone to drive a Hummer on public roads," Jeffrey Plate, 52 years old, a retired teacher in Marshfield, Mass., wrote. "They should be taxed out of private (including business) ownership."
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2004, 06:25 PM
Klaus's Avatar
Klaus Klaus is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: CSA
Posts: 2,509
Klaus is an unknown quantity at this point
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WASHINGTON -- Mary McLeod loves her Lincoln Aviator sport-utility vehicle. So when a conservative Web site recently alerted her to a Bush administration proposal that would encourage auto makers to reduce the weight of their heaviest SUVs, she fired off an e-mail to the Department of Transportation.

"This is America," wrote Ms. McLeod, a real-estate agent from Livonia, Mich. "It's an American's right to drive a small car if they choose, just as it's my right to drive an SUV if I choose."

Ms. McLeod's e-mail is among more than 1,000 messages urging the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drop its plan to tie fuel-economy standards to vehicle weight. The agency is soliciting comments until April 27, but many political observers don't expect a decision before the November election.

This fight features an unusually well-organized campaign stoked by an owners group with ties to the auto industry and by conservative Web sites eager to energize voters in an election year.

Bush administration officials say the proposal addresses auto makers' longstanding argument that fuel-economy rules prod them to make vehicles lighter and thus more vulnerable in accidents. To discourage this, NHTSA officials propose to divide today's "light trucks" -- a category that includes minivans, SUVs and pickups -- into different weight classes. Below a certain weight level -- about 5,000 pounds -- the standards would be less stringent as vehicles get heavier.

But NHTSA also is proposing tougher fuel-economy standards for vehicles above 5,000 pounds, including the Hummer H2 and the GMC Yukon Denali XL, hoping to slim some down to reduce the damage the heaviest models inflict in crashes with lighter vehicles.

Some SUV owners fear this is an attempt to restrict production of SUVs, which critics see as a symbol of Americans' profligate use of gasoline. "They're trying to pass a law to ban the manufacturers from making SUVs," says John Walker of Columbia City, Ind. The 69-year-old retired machinist drives a 1997 GMC Jimmy.

Others complain the rules don't make sense. "There are a lot of vehicles on the road that are even larger than my vehicle," says David Coston of Carmi, Ill., who drives a 1997 Chevy Suburban. "You've got the same issue with a semitrailer and a pickup."

Many of the e-mails sound similar. "We all want better mileage, but rules that ruin the usefulness of sport-utility vehicles won't solve anything," is a common line. Perhaps that's because many writers say their complaints were sparked by the same sources -- grassfire.org, conservativealerts.com and Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America, among others.

"We've been working our tails off" to alert drivers, says Ron DeFore, spokesman for the SUV owners' group. He says the proposal "may force people into vehicles that are smaller, less powerful, and not as safe as our current options."

Mr. DeFore also wears another hat. He is a partner in Stratacomm, a public-relations firm that shares offices with the SUV owners group and whose clients have included the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., and DaimlerChrysler AG. Stratacomm's executive director until recently was Jason Vines, a seasoned auto-industry spokesman who now works as vice president for communications at DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group.

The SUV group hasn't commented formally on NHTSA's proposal, but its pronouncements closely track the Big Three's. The Big Three say the change would force them to stop making certain models or redesign them in ways that consumers won't like.

Some consumers aren't sympathetic. "There is absolutely NO reason for anyone to drive a Hummer on public roads," Jeffrey Plate, 52 years old, a retired teacher in Marshfield, Mass., wrote. "They should be taxed out of private (including business) ownership."
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