A group called the “Tyre Extinguishers” has been deflating SUV tires as a protest against the climate impact of the vehicles in recent months.
In a statement released this week, the Tyre Extinguishers say activists aligned with their group “disarmed” 40 SUVs in the Upper East Side neighbourhood of Manhattan on Monday night. The group notes that this area is one of the wealthiest in the city.
SUVs were targeted specifically because, the group claims, they “cause air pollution” as well as being “dangerous”, “unnecessary” and “a climate disaster”.
A representative from Tyre Extinguishers confirmed to The Independent that the tires were deflated, not slashed.
“On June 28, 2022 at 12:20am in front of 146 East 65 Street there is a report on file in the 19th Precinct for criminal tampering,” a spokesperson for the New York Police Department (NYPD) told The Independent via a statement.
“A 49 year old male victim states upon returning to his vehicles he discovered one tire to each of his vehicles had been deflated.”
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, the NYPD spokesperson added.
A photo released by the group shows a leaflet behind the window wiper of a car with an explanation of their protest.
“Car companies try to convince us we need massive cars,” the leaflet reads. “But SUVs and 4x4s are the nails in the coffin of our climate.”
Starting initially in the UK, Tyre Extinguishers groups have sprung up in the UK, USA, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.
NYC is just the latest place and we expect other cities in the USA to follow. pic.twitter.com/4vy7WiGDOt
— The Tyre Extinguishers (@T_Extinguishers) June 28, 2022
The statement released online says that the Tyre Extinguishers would like to see “bans on SUVs in urban areas, pollution levies to tax SUVs out of existence, and massive investment in free, comprehensive public transport.”
“But until politicians make this a reality, Tyre Extinguishers action will continue,” it adds.
Transportation makes up around 27 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That makes it the highest-emitting sector, larger than both electricity production (25 per cent) and industry (24 per cent).
Fifty-seven per cent of those emissions from transportation come from “light-duty” vehicles like passenger cars and light trucks, the EPA adds.