A half-hearted attempt to finally close the SUV loophole
One of my biggest policy disappointments of the Obama years was that they didn’t close the “light truck” loophole that American car manufacturers have exploited for decades to make increasingly larger trucks. It’s a terrible bit of policy that has directly led to tens of thousands of deaths, and indirectly to hundreds of thousands more, because it lets car makers build bigger, dirtier, more dangerous trucks — and rip off buyers to boot.
A new set of EPA regulations will finally close the loop a bit, at least for gas-powered cars. These too-little-too-late rules will reign in gas guzzlers, but it does absolutely nothing to disincentivize selling bigger and bigger cars. And since battery powered electrics are going to be even heavier, it looks like the new rules will do nothing to make cars and roads safer. By encouraging automakers to take their trucks electric first in order to avoid the new emissions standards, it seems like we’ll be putting even more bigger trucks on the road.
This is just more bad policy. The obvious solution here is to regulate cars based on weight and height. Tall, heavy vehicles are simply more dangerous. Decades of marketing have led normal people to think they “need” a tall SUV to be safe despite the fact that SUVs are intrinsically more dangerous and now that SUVs are everywhere, it’s become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Set height limits on cars and require additional safety protocols and probably even additional licensing standards for drivers of jacked up trucks. Tax trucks over a certain weight, even if they’re electric. Force manufacturers to adhere to safety standards that take into account the non-drivers that are dying in higher numbers due to these brutish vehicles. And redesign roads to force the people driving these tanks to slow down.
It’s time to bring some sanity back to the streets not dither with half measures.