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Sport Utility Vehicles

2002-10-3

This is the VOA SpecialEnglish ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

One of the most popular kinds of car in the United States is notreally a car at all. It is a combination of a car and a truck. It iscalled a sports utility vehicle, or S-U-V. Some people criticize thevehicles. They say S-U-Vs use too much fuel and increase airpollution. They also say the vehicles may even be dangerous in somesituations.

The market for S-U-Vs continues togrow. About twenty-two percent of all cars and trucks sold inAmerica are S-U-Vs. One reason may be that the S-U-V seems like avehicle that can do many different things. Brock Yates is anofficial for Car & Driver Magazine. He says that women likeS-U-Vs. He says the vehicles have a lot of space to transportchildren and food.

Many Americans like the feeling they get from driving an S-U-V.The vehicles are larger than other cars on the road. This gives manydrivers a feeling of safety. Yet, the size of S-U-Vs is a concern.S-U-Vs use more fuel than passenger cars. S-U-Vs are designed withlarger engines because they are meant to carry heavy loads. In fact,they are considered light trucks by the government.

Car-makers have been designing larger S-U-Vs as the vehicles growmore popular. For this reason, the average fuel use for light truckshas not changed much since nineteen-eighty-five.

S-U-Vs also produce more pollution than passenger cars do. S-U-Vscreate large amounts of carbon dioxide, a gas that is said to causeclimate change. One study found that an S-U-V will release about twotimes as much carbon dioxide as a car over the life of the vehicle.Critics say S-U-Vs also produce more substances like carbon monoxideand nitrogen oxides. These gases form polluted air, or smog.

There is evidence that S-U-Vs may not be as safe as many peoplebelieve. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comparedS-U-Vs and normal cars in deadly accidents. Its study found that carpassengers died in eighty percent of deadly accidents between carsand S-U-Vs. Other studies showed that S-U-Vs can turn over moreeasily than cars. The vehicles do not have the same safetyrequirements as passenger cars.

The Department of Transportation continues to study informationabout S-U-Vs. For now, the vehicles remain among the most popular inAmerica.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by MarioRitter.