Do We Deserve a Ticket?

Matthew Craig makes a point I like very much in his new National Policy Analysis paper, Anti-SUV Activists Versus the American Family. That point is that liberal do-gooders are responsible for mandating air bags in cars, a development which made front seats unsafe for children under 12. Logically, then, families with four children will need, at minimum, a station wagon or SUV with a third row of seats, or a minivan. Families with three children or fewer will be able to travel in most sedans, but will have a strong incentive to buy a minvan or SUV/station wagon with a third row of seats because they are likely to want to be able to transport additional passengers, at least once in a while.

Station wagons, as we have said more than once, were largely pushed out of the market by environmentalist-supported corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Environmentalists and liberals who supported CAFE and airbags now decry the growth of the SUV/minivan market. But what did they expect?

At our house, we have two vehicles. One is a compact sedan and one is an SUV with a third row of seats. We have three three-year-olds, and the entire second row of seating is taken up with their three car seats. The backseat of our sedan is too narrow to hold three child car seats. There probably are some large sedans that could hold three car seats on one row, but had we bought one, we would not be able to transport any additional passangers, as we now can with our SUV. Was our SUV — which, by our calculations, gets a bit over 20 mpg (EPA estimates are similar) — purchase an immoral choice? Do we deserve a faux “ticket” from activist do-gooders?

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