Fuel economy for SUVs has dropped to its lowest level since 1981. Despite the widespread marketing and use of SUVs as passenger cars, the auto industry has resisted any attempts to require that they meet the government-mandated 27.5 mpg standard for automobiles.

SUV Solution:
Guardian's improvements would allow it to get 27.8 mpg.  36.3 mpg for the Guardian XSE.


Here's latest on our efforts to provide Americans with a safer, cleaner SUV. Check back often for updates. You can make your own news, too by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper and sending it to us if you get published.

UCS Releases

Administration Stumbles on New Light Truck Fuel Economy Rules

Consumers Get "Extreme Workover" From Auto Lobbyists

Ford's Road to Recovery Paved with Hybrid Vehicles

Bush Fuel Economy Plan Stuck in Neutral

Fuel economy loopholes cost consumers billions of dollars

Recent News

How Green Can We Get? -- Time (preview only, must subscribe for full article)

Getting more miles to the gallon, fast -- Businessweek

Better SUV Information

New Guardian and Guardian XSE charts with updated gas price statistics (pdf)

Bush Fuel Economy Plan Fails to Relieve Pain at the Pump

Working Truck Fuel Economy: The Facts

Fuel Economy and Light Truck Technology

Fuel Economy Improvements Model

SUV Solutions Archives

August 9, 2004

Ford's Escape Hybrid SUV Will Save Each Owner More Than $400 at Gas Pump in First Year Alone
Honda Accord and Lexus Hybrids to Further Expand Green Choices

The first mass market gas-electric SUV, the Ford Escape Hybrid, will save each of its owners an average of more than $400 in fueling costs every year, according to new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The savings are based on filling up the two-wheel drive version of the hybrid (36 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway) in the first year of ownership, compared to the conventional two-wheel drive Escape (19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway).

" The new Escape hybrid is the greenest mass-market SUV ever to hit the streets," said David Friedman, Clean Vehicles Research Director at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "The new Escape exemplifies the unique ability of hybrids to combine best-in-class fuel efficiency and emissions performance with the acceleration and utility consumers have come to expect."

UCS's analysis of the Escape assumes regular gasoline prices at $1.50 per gallon and 15,600 miles driven in the first year. The superior fuel economy and lower emissions of the Escape Hybrid show it to be a good use of hybrid technology. The four-wheel drive version is not far behind, with only slightly lower fuel economy and the same low emissions. However, UCS research shows that not all hybrids are created equal and that consumers should be wary of relying exclusively on the label "hybrid" in making their purchase decisions.

" Ford has set a high bar when it comes to hybrid SUVs," said Jason Mark, Director of UCS's Clean Vehicles program. "But to cut our dependence on oil, automakers need to sell millions of hybrids every year."

Several other hybrid models are expected in the coming months and years, including a Honda Accord hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h sport-wagon, a Toyota Highlander hybrid, and a Nissan Altima hybrid. GM's first hybrid is expected in 2007. Today, the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids are the best choices for car owners concerned about high gas prices, oil dependence and the environment.

To spur development and sales of hybrids, UCS is fighting for tax credits for hybrid designs based on their energy and environmental performance. "We urge Congress to adopt strong incentives tied to vehicles that deliver breakthrough improvements in fuel economy and emissions performance," said Friedman. "This will put money in consumers' pockets and automakers' bank accounts."



SUV-TV Challenge Special News Update

Industry-front Group Mobilizing to Block Better SUVs

Final push needed to make overwhelming consumer statement for cleaner, safer highways

April 16th, Washington DC: The Wall Street Journal has reported that the SUV Owners of America (SUVOA), a group run out of a public relations firm that has represented the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Ford, GM, and DaimlerChrysler, is leading a new initiative to demand the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) make no changes to improve SUV safety and fuel economy.

Instead of working to help SUV owners get cleaner, safer options, SUVOA has unfortunately chosen to ask consumers to rehash a litany of misleading arguments to block meaningful improvements. Their suggested talking points include:

  • Don't take away my choice of SUVs
  • Don't diminish the cargo carrying capacity/towing capacity of SUVs
  • Don't include the largest SUVs in the CAFE program because their utility outweighs the need for improved fuel economy
The Union of Concerned Scientists' blueprint for a cleaner, safer SUV clearly shows that cost-effective improvements in SUV safety and fuel economy are possible without sacrificing any of the features owners have come to expect. It is therefore vital that SUV owners and all American consumers interested in cleaner, safer highways make an overwhelming statement asking our leaders to, just like with seat belts and air bags, prompt industry to get better SUV technologies off the shelves and on our roads.

UCS' SUV-TV Challenge is off to an excellent start, as more than 25,000 people have already made their statement for cleaner, safer SUVs. But with those fighting fuel efficiency and U.S. oil security mobilizing, we can't stop there--concerned Americans need to show NHTSA a landslide of consumer sentiment in favor of better SUVs. Help us reach our goal of 50,000 comments for cleaner, safer vehicles on America's by taking action today.


This SUV is better, hands down
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA - Sep 30, 2003
... The organization estimates that the added cost of the Guardian over a regular SUV
-- about $750 for the standard version and $3,000 for the upgraded model ...

Safe Green SUVs
The Nation, Sep 18, 2003
The Ford Explorer, America's most popular sport-utility vehicle, gets about 21 miles to the gallon, and like most SUVs it's got a lackluster safety record´┐Żarticle" href="http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Business/ap20030916_2229.html" target="_blank">Safer, More Fuel-Efficient SUV Developed
ABC News - Sep 17, 2003
The Union of Concerned Scientists says the SUV, dubbed the "UCS Guardian," uses
the same amount of gas as a car and is significantly safer than current SUVs ...

This article was also seen in:

  • The News Journal, DE
  • Kansas City Star, MO
  • South Bend Tribune, IN
  • Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, FL
  • Los Angeles Daily News, CA
  • Long Beach Press-Telegram, CA
  • The Patriot News, PA
  • Fort Wayne News Sentinel, IN
  • Raleigh News, NC
  • Akron Beacon Journal, OH
  • Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX
  • Miami Herald, FL
  • Wilmington Morning Star, NC
  • Newsday, NY
  • San Diego Union Tribune, CA
  • Times Daily, AL
  • San Jose Mercury News, CA
  • Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL
  • Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA
  • Montgomery County Record, PA

Scientists offer fix for SUVs
Detroit Free Press - September 17, 2003
Fuel-efficient vehicle is based on Explorer>This article was also seen in:

  • Montana Forum, Montana
  • The University of Hawaii Kaleo, HI
  • Billings Gazette, MT
  • Arizona Business Gazette, AZ
  • The Free Lance-Star, VA

Scientists conceive SUV that could get 36 m.p.g.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Sep 17, 2003
... The Guardian would also be safer than the average SUV, which is more prone to rolling
over than the typical car, said Carl Nash, a former federal auto-safety ...
Fuel-efficient vehicle is based on Explorer>This article was also seen in:

  • Arizona Republic, AZ
  • Wichita Eagle, KS
  • Roanoke Times, VA
  • Centre Daily Times, PA

Experts plan safer, fuel-efficient SUV
Baltimore Sun, MD - Sep 17, 2003
... of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and co-designer of the Guardian.
" The public is basically not aware of what they could have in an SUV. ...

Public interest group unveils SUV design
Automotive News - Sep 16, 2003
... based public-interest group said their design, the "UCS Guardian," would improve
gas mileage up to 71 percent versus the Ford Explorer, and curtail SUV-related ...

This article was also seen in:

  • Common Dreams
  • Environmental News Network, CA
  • CNN/Money

Guardian Articles were also seen in:

  • Milton Daily Standard, PA - Sep 17, 2003
  • Los Angeles Times, CA - Sept 16, 2003
  • Contra Costa Times, CA - Sept 16, 2003
  • Rapid City Journal, SD - Sep 16, 2003
  • Santa Maria Times, CA - Sep 16, 2003
  • MLive.com, MI - Sep 16, 2003
  • Press-Enterprise, CA - Sep 16, 2003
  • Houston Chronicle, TX - Sep 16, 2003