So Can We Have Our SUVs Back Now?

When President George W. Bush criticized “opening up the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling” during his 2003 State of the Union address, I knew the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) had made serious inroads into our culture. And as he downplayed drilling, emphasized conservation, and announced he had set aside $1.2 billion for the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, I knew he had either purposefully or inadvertently fallen in lockstep with those who were pressuring the American people to trade in their big SUVs for little cars that ran on something other than fossil fuels.

In other words, Bush, a former resident of Midland, Texas (a.k.a. Oil Town U.S.A.), was telling Americans he had taken the bait and swallowed the eco-myth that life on our planet was endangered by the use of oil and oil byproducts. And although Bush never went full-blown greenie on us, these kinds of comments emboldened groups like the Sierra Club and Earth on Empty, who in turn upped the ante in their war on SUVS.

It was the Sierra Club that shamed Ford Motor Company into ending the production of its biggest SUV, the Excursion, by labeling it “the Valdez” during Bush’s presidency. And it was Earth on Empty that sent group members out to ticket SUV drivers for “[failing] to pay attention to [their] behavior” (i.e., for burning too much gasoline).

Of course, President Obama has not only picked up where Bush left off, but has pushed, as mainstream, limitations on greenhouse gases that Bush would have rejected as extreme. Obama hinted at this push during the 2008 presidential campaign when he said, “We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times.” And he continues down this path today, although it’s widely known that crucial data supporting the theory of AGW is missing and that some of the data that remains is inaccurate.

His intentions were especially clear during last year’s “cash for clunkers” program. Following an all-out media blitz designed to convince the nation to swap their gas-guzzlers for newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the option of getting the gas-guzzler back was taken away by a government mandate that all trade-in vehicles be destroyed. Therefore, if someone traded in their Ford Explorer for a foreign hybrid or a Smart Car, and then grew tired of being crammed into the little vehicle, trading back for the Explorer wasn’t even a possibility.