Gas-Mileage Gap For SUVs

You won't be hearing a campaign speech from Al Gore or George W. Bush calling for better gas-mileage for SUVs and light trucks.

Why the silence?

In a tight race, Mr. Gore doesn't dare offend autoworkers unions that would lose jobs if new rules lead to fewer sales of such vehicles. And both he and Mr. Bush would lose campaign money from auto companies.

And yet a Monitor poll finds 63 percent of voters want the government to increase fuel efficiency for those vehicles.

The candidates, as well as the next Congress, should listen to the voters instead of special interests. The poll also revealed a willingness among voters to reduce oil consumption by paying more for more fuel-efficient cars and to buy smaller ones.

As pump prices head toward $2 a gallon, drivers know in their wallets that the US must lessen its dependence on the OPEC oil cartel. And yet, due to lobbying by the auto industry, Congress has resisted plugging a loophole that lets sport-utility vehicles and light trucks guzzle gasoline at high rates.

Congress was quick to pass a law after the Ford/Firestone tire fiasco which makes it a crime to hide information about product defects. But the latest oil crisis apparently didn't deserve action to force automakers to put available technology into fuel-thirsty SUVs.

Not only must the US decrease reliance on foreign oil, it must curb the pollution that comes from gasoline and that harms the atmosphere.

Good political candidates would call for such sacrifices and trade-offs.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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