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US drivers switch cars for SUVs in Unintended consequences

A technicality in how 'light trucks' are classified by the EPA of the US encouraged drivers to choose SUVs instead of smaller cars. A great example of government failure.


This article is quite meaty and has some nice charts, as well as some broader lessons about classification difficulties causing government failure.


Lots of activity options here:

  • Making a timeline of events

  • Considering the lessons from the history of light trucks in the US, what recommendations would you make to today’s energy regulators to avoid similar unintended consequences in defining "good stuff" for clean energy policies?

  • Create a chain of analysis from 'EPA policy' to 'Decreased environmental harm'

  • Create a chain of analysis from 'EPA policy' to 'Increased environmental harm'

  • Research other examples of unintended consequences

  • Essay - "We would likely be better off not making a distinction between cars and trucks—it erodes environmental regulations, gives automakers a reason to tweak cars for compliance benefits, and has the unintended consequence of making automobiles less safe." To what extend to you agree with this statement?


Alternatively, if you are looking for something more accessible, try this one which is shorter.


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