Supervisors Limit SUV Purchases

From a Times Staff Writer

Ventura County supervisors agreed Tuesday that department managers should no longer be able to order sport utility vehicles for their fleets unless they can justify a significant need for the gas-guzzling behemoths.

The county has about 116 SUVs in its 1,500-vehicle fleet. Supervisor Steve Bennett proposed the restrictions as a way to save money and reduce tailpipe emissions.

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors directed county staff to come up with language formalizing the new policy. Ventura County is the first local government in California to adopt such restrictions.

"This is another example where Ventura County can show some leadership in setting public policy," Bennett said.

Board Chairwoman Judy Mikels predicted that the rule would trigger more thoughtful purchases by county managers. Although carmakers have indicated they are working on more fuel-efficient SUVs, Mikels said she isn't holding her breath.

"The world has asked auto manufacturers to clean up their act on SUVs and it hasn't happened yet," she said.

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