August 06, 2004
Truck Bloat, Truck Fine

Ron gets a very stout no-prize for bringing us this Slate editorial that reveals the very largest SUVs available are actually illegal to drive on residential streets in California and other places:

I discovered this secret ban after noticing the signs at both ends of my narrow Los Angeles-area street (a favorite cut-through route for drivers hoping to avoid tie-ups on bigger roads). The signs clearly prohibit vehicles over 6,000 pounds.
It turns out every big SUV and pickup is too heavy for my street. Here's just a sampling: The Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, the Range Rover, the GMC Yukon, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes M Class, the Porsche Cayenne S, and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.

Includes confirmation of something Ellen and I both thought I was mis-remembering... the H2 weighs in excess of 8k pounds (and gets 9 mpg).

While the author is busy gloating with clever disapproval, he is also uninformed about what the market is doing to these beasts... it's killing them. To take two examples, H2 sales are far below expectations, and Ford has had problems moving Expeditions for years. Gas prices have made owning any of these behemoths damned expensive.

As to the tax exemption, so what? Repealing the exemption won't matter much to the doctor or lawyer in their Cayenne, but it'll kill a small trucking company with a fleet of two dozen Isuzu panel vans. Putting hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hard working folks out of a job just to stick it to a few dozen rich people is a high price to pay for a self-righteous liberal "warm n' fuzzy".

But actually, I rather do hope the laws are enforced. Nothing gets a dumb law changed faster than vigorous, even-handed enforcement. Somehow, though, I don't think a repeal of the law is what the author has in mind.

Posted by scott at August 06, 2004 10:12 AM

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