I am disappointed by the demagoguery I sense in some of the letters and commentary (i.e., "Keep pounding on the CAFE whiners," Letters, April 8) addressing the issue of corporate average fuel economy and sport-utilities.
Those who rant and rave about SUVs don't tell us that the biggest impetus behind the popularity of SUVs is that many people have been downsized out of the sedan market by CAFE regulations.
Thanks to our CAFE requirements, the Big 3 can't make sedans and station wagons large enough to meet the needs of families.
Since SUVs are classified as trucks, their CAFE requirement is 20.7 mpg, rather than 27.5 mpg for cars.
Thus, SUVs and front-wheel-drive vans (i.e., the Chrysler design) make it possible for car companies to build vehicles with enough room for families to travel together.
If you want to see fewer gas-guzzling SUVs on our roads, take the CAFE handcuffs off the Big 3 and let them make traditional, full-sized sedans and station wagons.
With first-rate aerodynamics and use of lighter materials (aluminum, magnesium, plastics/composites), an up-to-date full-sized sedan still won't get as many miles per gallon as small cars, which nowadays also have fine aerodynamics and lighter weight.
But it will be more economical than large SUVs, which tend to be heavy and have poor aerodynamics.
Congress was right to refuse to impose draconian fuel economy requirements on pickups. For many people these vehicles are not toys; they are their livelihood!
If we allow the Big 3 to concentrate on large vehicles (which they do best) and leave the small-car market to the Japanese (where they do best), everybody will be happy.
Those who like small cars prefer Toyotas and Hondas anyway, so why not recognize reality?