There’s radical and then there’s radical: while American environmental activists are content to vandalize and occasionally torch SUVs, India’s Minister of Environment & Forests wants them banned from India’s roads. Not radical enough for you? He also wants driving an SUV to be considered a criminal act, according to Autoevolution. Jairam Ramesh, the Indian minister in question, even went so far as to target German SUVs as the worst offenders, despite the fact that Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW and Porsche go to great lengths to portray themselves as green manufacturers. The German automakers have pushed for sustainable manufacturing, reduced CO2 emission levels and even increased fuel economy via the use of clean diesel engines and hybrid drivetrains.
A growing Indian middle class, coupled with increased road congestion and pollution, is undoubtedly at the heart of Ramesh’s comments. While German SUVs remain out of reach for most Indian families, the popularity of affordable cars like the Tata Nano goes to show that India’s problems with pollution and crowded roads won’t be getting better any time soon. The Indian minister failed to raise issue with other means of transportation, so he’s presumably good with automobiles of all shapes and sizes. I wonder how he travels the country, especially the forests and jungles.