Drivers Cling to Their SUVs

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."

Full Story: SUV owners keep on truckin' despite gas prices



There's always an excuse

A lot of SUV owners talk about the need for space but for the vast majority I only see the driver. How many people actually have more than 2 kids? They are a distinct minority. The HOV lanes in Atlanta are underutilized in a sea of SUVs.

"Do I pay $5,000 a year in car payments, or do I put $5,000 of gas in the Suburban?" he asked. "Right now it's cheaper for me to just put gas in the Suburban."

That's understandable when it's hard to sell an SUV right now and you've already paid off the beast.

"There will still be a niche market for them," he said. "I don't know what other vehicle affords you the luxury of carrying as much as they do."

True enough. They'll be around for people who truly need an SUV but the vast majority managed to live well enough before the SUV craze.

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