Brakes on SUVs

Published: Thursday 31 July 2003

Oil and automobile giants love to hate California for its stringent norms. Now they have one more reason to do so. Lawmakers in this us state are promoting a bill that would eliminate several sports utility vehicles (suvs) from California's 73,000-strong state-owned fleet. The ban would extend only to purchases by the state. After being slammed for many years by all and sundry, the number of suvs in the region might finally be cut down to half.

The legislation would, however, allow state agencies and universities to purchase or lease the vehicles for emergency use as well as for law enforcement or security purposes. Local officials revealed that about 7 per cent of the government-owned vehicles in California are suvs. Vehicles that fall into this category are priced higher and consume more fuel than smaller ones.

Plans to introduce a law were announced in the second week of June by state treasurer Philip Angelides and state senate president John Burton. According to officials and environmental groups, the main objectives behind the move are curbing air pollution, saving tax dollars, enhancing road safety and lessening dependence on oil.

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