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Old 01-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
993cc
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Something that has been on my mind for a while: *The perverse incentives created by having separate categories for passenger cars and light trucks under safety and CAFE regs, and how they have promoted the popularity of the dreaded (by me, at least) SUVs and toy trucks that clog our roads.*

When safety, emissions, and CAFE regulations first came into being, there was legitimate concern about not overburdening small businesses and industry with the cost of the expensive upgrades meeting them would require, so the vehicles they used were exempted, for the most part. *Those exemptions have narrowed, but the distinction still survives in its application to CAFE standards. *

The definition of light truck, however, remains so broad as to include everything from a PT Cruiser to an Escalade. *Has any one of us ever seen either used as heavy hauler? Manufactures can thus give themselves an edge in meeting their CAFE numbers by shifting their customers who want a "useful" vehicle (say a station wagon) to a "Utility Vehicle" which can often end up being less useful. *

Would a different definition of the category allow the original intent (reduce the cost of working trucks) to survive, while reducing its abuse in the production of fashion accessories and status symbols?

My first thought is to return to the concept of "utility". *Maybe there should be some standard based on minimum ratio of payload to seats, such as 1000 lbs. per person.*

Any ideas?
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