Focus Point - The War on SUVs

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Congress is holding hearings on the Ford explorer and more generally, the popular SUV.

If their concerns are genuinely about safety, fine. But I think those who are carrying the water for environmentalists are using safety as a ruse to bash the SUV because it uses a lot of gasoline and somehow represents the arrogance of the American driver.

Well, I can't change their minds on that, but I can at least take away their cover as far as safety goes - or rather, consumers' research magazine can. From 1991 to 1999 the incredibly popular Ford explorer - the SUV in the crosshairs - had fewer deaths in crashes per 100 miles traveled than similarly sized SUVs, and for that matter than passenger cars. Trial lawyers whipped up an anti-explorer frenzy because they were linked to the Bridgestone-Firestone tire scandal last summer, but otherwise, SUVs are probably safer than what you're driving.

So if congress is really concerned about safety, fine. But if the SUV-bashing continues unabated, look for something else behind it.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, choice distortions.