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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Friday, February 14, 2003
12:13 AM

A City Slicker tracks further discussion about Volkh Conspiracy's David Post's ridiculous attack on SUVs and Post's support for greens who trash up parking lots with fliers protesting pollution...uh, wait, I digress...

A City Slicker notes that Juan Non-Volokh takes issue with Post:
The website to which David links isn't particularly illuminating. The lead complaint on the SUV "ticket" cites claim from the Union of Concerned Scientists that "If everybody in the U.S. who drives an SUV drove a car instead, we could cut out Middle East oil imports entirely." This is simply absurd....

And Juan explains what I was merely assserting:
As for air pollution, it is well recognized that a small fraction of the vehicles on the road are responsible for a disproportionate share of emissions. For some pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) -- a component in tropospheric ozone (aka "smog) -- the ratio is truly astounding: the dirtiest tenth of the vehicle fleet is responsible for one-half the emissions while the cleanest half of the fleet barely contributes anything at all. To put this in more tangible terms: out of every ten vehicles on the road, the most polluting vehicle emits as much VOCs as the remaining nine. It makes sense to do something about this dirtiest ten percent -- but all this has absolutely nothing to do with SUVs, as SUVs (and other vehicles classified as light trucks) are not disproportionately represented in this dirtiest ten percent. The dirtiest vehicles tend to be those that have malfunctioning emission control equipment or that are improperly maintained....


As A City Slicker notes, David Post finishes his reply thus:
I am saying that the world would be a better place with fewer SUVs, and that shaming is a viable and non-coercive way to bring this about.

Better for who? Not better for the families that benefit from driving vehicles large enough for their needs. Not better for drivers braving Route 522 in December.

Here's a very telling line from Juan:
(Note: It's no answer to say that these people could use minivans or pick-up trucks, as these vehicles have the same environmental "problems" as SUVs.)

You know, I don't recall an equivalent outcry when minivans started hitting the street. Ridicule, yes. But not the attempts to knock the vehicles' drivers down a peg or two. This isn't about SUVs, it's about resentment over an attitude.

A City Slicker credits the anti-SUV campaign to "the lifestyle police." That's about right.

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