Even as SUV sales have dropped 33% this year, some drivers hang on to their gas-guzzlers. "You've got to have that room when you're moving around," says a Georgia man. The cost of switching is another major factor for families.
"Stephanie Torgerson, 32, of Pataskala, Ohio, said she simply can't put her three boys in her husband's Mazda 626. The 1-year-old needs a car seat, the 5-year-old needs a booster chair and she doesn't feel comfortable wedging her 8-year-old between the two.
Sure, she could probably get better mileage in a minivan, but she doesn't like the stigma."I don't want to be labeled as a soccer mom," she said.
Torgerson said her 2006 Chevy Trailblazer, which gets about 20 mpg, affords her and her kids protection -- not to mention four-wheel drive traction in the snowy winter months. But security comes with a price.
Torgerson's daily commute to Hilliard -- another Columbus suburb -- is 72 miles roundtrip. She spends about $82 a week on gas, she said."