It’s war on SUVs! An environmental group in the United States set fire to a dealership selling SUVs as part of a tough campaign against fuel-guzzling vehicles.

It’s war on SUVs! An environmental group in the United States set fire to a dealership selling SUVs as part of a tough campaign against fuel-guzzling vehicles.

The reported that the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the fire at a Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership in Pennsylvania that destroyed several SUVs on New Year’s day. The group said the fire was its first move of the year to stop the sale of environmentally-unfriendly vehicles.

"There is a direct relationship between our irresponsible over-consumption and lust for luxury products, and the poverty and destruction of other people and the natural world," the group said on its website.

A large number of SUVs have been vandalised in the Richmond, Virgina, area during the past few months. The vehicles were sprayed with an acid-like chemical.

Environmental groups are concerned about the increased sales of SUVS. More than three million SUVs were sold in 2002, up from 1,1 million in 1992.

To combat the growing sales, the "Detroit Project" television ad campaign was launched last week in which SUV ownership is equated with terrorism. The ad shows an SUV being filled with fuel and a voiceover says that terrorists benefit every time the vehicle is filled. "What is your SUV doing to our national security?" it asks at the end of the ad.

Another group in Boston, called earthonempty.com, is planning to “fine” about 100 000 SUVs in May during national bike week with bright orange tickets. The ticket reads: "We made this ticket because we live in the city, and so do you, and there's something really wrong about the way the SUV is changing our streets and the air we breathe. This is not a militarised zone!"

The manufacturers are watching the activities of these groups, but some feel it will fail. "Let's face it. America loves SUVs," said Ford president Nick Scheele. "They are some of the best-selling vehicles in the world. And people do love the SUVs they drive."

Ford is introducing a petrol-electric version of its Escape SUV later this year.

"One of the reasons we are bringing out a hybrid Escape is because we recognise there is a segment of the population that wants an SUV and all that it can offer, but also wants to be sensitive to the environmental concerns that many people have," Scheele said.

Charles Griffith of the Ecology Centre said the campaigns showed that more Americans were thinking about the links between fuel-guzzling vehicles and the cost of foreign oil. "We're not condoning any of it," Griffith said. "But it indicates a larger segment of the population feels frustrated by the political system and corporate America's lack of willingness to face the issue."

Original article from Car