Eric Voytko's May 22 letter, "Better Living With SUVs" [Free for All], conveniently ignores one indisputable aspect of SUVs. Whether you love them or hate them, whether they are built on truck frames or stretched car frames, SUVs are passenger vehicles and, as such, should be subject to the same emissions and CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards as other passenger vehicles.
To turn Voytko's argument around, it is completely absurd to exclude SUVs from CAFE standards when those vehicles constitute a significant percentage of the passenger vehicles sold.
Voytko's argument that SUV owners buy the vehicles to improve their chances of surviving a collision implies that it is impossible to find a safe passenger vehicle other than a SUV. This contradicts recent crash test results of a number of cars and minivans. Voytko also suggests that buyers who want or need a vehicle with a large passenger or cargo capacity must purchase SUVs, since no station wagons are to be found. On the contrary, station wagons of various sizes are offered by a number of manufacturers, and minivans are available for those who require even greater passenger-cargo capacity.
Voytko does not care whether SUVs are politically correct. Neither do I. As one of several million asthmatics, I do care about SUVs being required to meet the same pollution standards as other passenger vehicles.
-- John Kupiec