AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF SPORTS UTILITY VEHICLES IN THE UNITED STATES

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During the 1990s, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) became the fastest growing segment of the auto industry, especially those in the medium-size category. In 1999, SUV sales reached almost 19% of the total light vehicle market and the mix of SUVs on the road, as measured by registration data, was about 8.7%. This immense popularity has been called by some a passing fad--vehicle purchases based on the SUV ''image''. But the continued yearly increases in SUV sales seem to indicate a more permanent trend. Additional explanations for SUV popularity include the general economic well being in the United States, a perception ... continued below

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Davis, S.C. August 16, 2000.

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Description

During the 1990s, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) became the fastest growing segment of the auto industry, especially those in the medium-size category. In 1999, SUV sales reached almost 19% of the total light vehicle market and the mix of SUVs on the road, as measured by registration data, was about 8.7%. This immense popularity has been called by some a passing fad--vehicle purchases based on the SUV ''image''. But the continued yearly increases in SUV sales seem to indicate a more permanent trend. Additional explanations for SUV popularity include the general economic well being in the United States, a perception of safety, and ''utility''. Generally larger and heavier than the typical automobile, SUVs require more fuel per mile to operate and produce greater amounts of pollutants. They are also driven further annually than are automobiles of the same vintage, a fact that exacerbates the fuel-use and emission problems. Although buyers believe that SUVs are safer than automobiles which they are in some cases, SUVs are more prone to roll-overs than are automobiles. In addition, SUVs, with their higher bumpers and greater weight, may be a threat to other vehicles on the highway, especially in side-impact crashes. With sales projected to grow to over 3 million units per year beginning in 2001, SUVs show no sign of decreasing in popularity. These vehicles are used primarily for general mobility, rather than off-road activities. An emphasis on better fuel economy and improved emissions control could address environmental and oil dependency concerns. In fact, recently, two vehicle manufacturers announced intentions of improving the fuel economy of their SUVs in the next few years. Also, tests simulating crashes involving automobiles and SUVs could provide valuable data for identifying potential safety design issues. It is clear that automobiles and SUVs will be sharing the highways for years to come.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2000/147
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/885680 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 885680
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892556

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  • August 16, 2000

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 6:24 p.m.

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Davis, S.C. AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF SPORTS UTILITY VEHICLES IN THE UNITED STATES, report, August 16, 2000; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892556/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.