The Barbarian Invasions
Despite vocal opposition, SUVs invade Europe
European politicians spare no rhetorical flourish in demonstrating their contempt for SUVs and their owners. “I don’t want to be like Freud, but SUVs are a projection, a compensating thing,” said Rome’s transportation commissioner, Mario Di Carlo. Paris Deputy Mayor Denis Baupin called the SUV “a caricature of a car.” On the street, activists with the British group Alliance Against Urban 4×4’s put fake parking tickets on SUVs. One alliance member, Sian Berry, said, “People who see Hummers driving around think, ‘Oh, disgusting Americans.'” Despite elite and public opposition, however, SUV sales on the continent are steadily rising. A handful of European cities and countries have considered anti-SUV legislation — taxing them more heavily, banning them from city centers — but the measures have failed to pass, leaving SUV owners free to ply the streets with their oversized vehicles, if they can afford to fill them up with heavily taxed European gas.