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The A&E Report: How to Solve the SUV Problem

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Were we too unsympathetic toward SUV drivers with our last A&E Report? Aren’t they just another abused minority in a city designed for small vehicles, forced to search extra-hard for those few parking spaces where their mammoth vehicles will fit? And what of those poor souls who have to navigate our city while driving that poster child for arrogance and entitlement, the Hummer? Can’t we be more understanding when they hog two spots because their car is too big to fit in just one?

Um…no. Sorry, that’s not what the A&E Report is about.

If you're finding it difficult to park in this city because you drive an oversized vehicle, good. SUVs not only take up more space in garages, they take up more space on our roads. Try navigating down a narrow residential street with an SUV coming at you; it slows the process down for both drivers. SUVs are also more dangerous, worse for the environment, impossible to see around when you're behind them or next to them (and thus, again, more dangerous) and completely impractical for city driving.

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Sure, some people have legitimate uses for driving oversized vehicles. Buying a minivan because you have five kids or a pickup truck because you run a landscaping business is one thing. Buying an SUV because it looks cool or makes you feel powerful makes you part of the problem. The solution isn't to grab up parking spaces that weren't designed for you. Unless you're in that small minority that really needs an SUV, the answer is not to buy one in the first place.

Here’s an idea: what about imposing a statewide SUV tax? The more expensive SUVs become, the less likely people will be to buy them and the fewer we’ll have clogging up our roads. Whatever money is collected from the SUV tax can be put directly toward repairing roads and cleaning up the environment in order to neutralize the damage SUVs do. The tax would be collected at the time of purchase, so current owners wouldn’t have to worry about their registration fees rising. And anyone who could demonstrate a legitimate need for an oversized vehicle would be exempt.

As to the tax structure, we humbly suggest the following: SUVs: $1,000; Mercedes SUVs: $3,000; Hummers: $1,000,000. Doesn't that make more sense than our current laws, which actually encourage people to buy SUVs? We realize our proud Hummer-driving governor is about as likely to pass such a measure as he is to make Jingle All the Way 2, but if we’re talking about arrogance and entitlement, don’t get us stated on him