It seems the citizenry of Key West has a love/hate relationship with SUVs. A number of our bicycle pedaling environmentalist residents are livid that a tourist would even consider bringing a big, towering, fuel hungry, sport utility vehicle across the Cow Key Bridge, and then have the balls to try and park it on our narrow little island streets!

On the other hand, there are plenty of SUVs with Monroe County license tags running around town. From my front porch today there were six such vehicles close enough to flip a cigarette butt at. So it’s not just tourists that hog the narrow streets of Key West. There are plenty of locals running around in the metallic beasts.

Maybe the people that are so dead against the SUVs should move to a place where they don’t exist. You say that might be difficult since everywhere has SUVs? Actually the SUV is an American invention created by the American Motors Jeep Division. Searching for a way to capitalize on the original military sized 4-wheel drive Jeep. they designed a four-door model that had the interior amenities of a car and the ruggedness of a truck. The Jeep Cherokee was born!

The Jeep Cherokee was such a success that it didn’t take long for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Corp. to design their own versions, the Blazer, Explorer and Durango, to compete in this new vehicle market. One marketing shock was the acceptance of these big guzzlers by women. They began trading in their station wagons and mini-vans for this new form of transport faster than anyone expected. Hey, it was a great way to carry the kids around town.

The SUV has become more popular than any form of vehicle since the Model-T, yet the vocal few Key Westers continue to complain. Since the SUV is American, how about we send the “haters” to Iran. The majority of the population still travel locally by walking, bicycle, scooter or motorcycle. You won’t have to complain about the price of gas because they produce their own and it’s really cheap. And you will not find an American gas guzzler in Iran.

They also manufacture their own small cars, about 550,000 per year. Actually they are a version of the French Peugeot, which was licensed to the state-owned Iran Khodro company. They get great fuel mileage, except when they blow-up. Evidently the quality and workmanship is lacking somewhat. There have been reports of several hundred cars suddenly catching fire in Tehran during the past six months. They are still investigating the cause, but it’s interesting that Peugeots built in France do not go up in flames.

OK… if you are going to Iran, stay with the bicycle or scooter. But considering the country’s quality of workmanship, I wouldn’t move too close to the new Iranian nuclear electrical power plant. Remember the Chernobyl disaster?