Due to rapid rise in cost of fuel
Its been reported that SUV owners in California appear to be burning their SUVs in those cases where the vehicle is already relatively old and where they owe more on them than what they are worth. It is presumed that the price of 2nd hand SUVs has fallen as fuel costs have gone up.
It appears that a trend was noted in the number of arsons of SUV vehicles and the report says that the combination of high fuel costs and owner burden with large debt is the cause of the problem.
It just goes to show that SUV owners aren't satisifed with burning extra fuel and adding to the CO-2 problem, but they are adding a pollution burden on their local environments from the burnout cars.
Here's some quotes from the report:
"Because of the way the economy has gone, the gas prices skyrocketing the way they have, we started to see a peak" (in arsons), Rowe said. "People that had the gas-guzzlers that got eight miles per gallon, they started to get hit hard. They didn't want those cars anymore."
Faced with rising gas prices, people who are trapped in a high-payment lease have no easy way to escape without a stiff penalty.
"People will lease a car for 84 months with zero down and they have some outrageous payment," said Rowe. "They start to realize they are living beyond their means."
The responsible solution would be to advertise the car for sale, pay off the loan and switch to a more affordable ride (even leased cars can be bought and then sold to get out of high payments). The irresponsible solution some people choose is to burn the vehicle and let the insurance company pay what is owed.
A former firefighter from nearby Lynwood, California, said, "We used to get called out on vehicle fires and when we got there we would find a brand-new car was burning. Some of them were stolen but we knew that most of them were people trying to get out from under their car note. It seemed like it happened just about every night."
Jennifer Mieth, manager of fire data and public education at the Massachusetts State Fire Marshall's Office, said car fires are "cyclical." She added, "When times are good, fires are down. When they are bad they go up."
Full report can be found at URL below