Mark Dolliver’s Takes: Can’t Keep SUV Owners Down

For those who view SUVs as the embodiment of vehicular evil, high gas prices have a silver lining: At least (they tell themselves) the owners of those gas-guzzlers must be suffering! Alas, it turns out they’re hurting less than owners of ordinary cars. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 22 percent of SUV owners said gas prices are causing them serious financial hardship, while 29 percent of car owners said so. SUVs burn more gas, but their owners have significantly more income and are better able to afford it. It doesn’t stop them from bawling, though. SUV owners were more apt than car owners (53 percent vs. 42 percent) to say they’re “angry” about gas prices.

With summer looming, the same poll found 29 percent of respondents saying gas prices have dissuaded them from planning a long-distance driving vacation. Undaunted, 39 percent of SUV owners (and 28 percent of car owners) do plan such a road trip. In an Ipsos Public Affairs poll, 42 percent of respondents said gas prices had led them to change vacation plans “to stay closer to home.” In a Gallup poll, barely half the respondents said they’ll take a vacation this summer. Of this cohort, 29 percent said they have changed plans due to gas prices. Just 7 percent of plan-changers will fly instead of driving.