Despite the opinion of some, sport/utility vehicles, including those built by Ford Motor Co., aren't the sole source of the earth's environmental ills.

Yet consumers may think they are, after reading about Ford's recent acknowledge-ment that SUVs burn more of the earth's fossil fuels, emit more pollution and pose more of a danger on the road than smaller vehicles do.

The No.2 automaker confesses its environmental sins in a 98-page corporate citizenship report to shareholders that illustrates how high a priority solving these problems is to Chairman Bill Ford and Chief Executive Jac Nasser. Ford went on the record about SUVs even though doing so gave ammunition to critics and provided mostly negative attention-grabbing headlines for the media.

"We are never going to please everybody, we know that," Bill Ford says recently. "But we do pledge to work on it. I feel our process today has been better than anybody else's."

The automaker admits in its report that SUVs present "very real conflicts between Ford's current business practices, consumer choices and emerging views of sustainability."

But Ford won't stop building monster-sized SUVs like the Excursion - at least not until people stop buying them. SUVs are the most profitable group of vehicles Ford sells. The same is true at Chevy, Dodge and even Toyota, which this fall will offer six SUVs in its lineup, the same number as Ford.

Sales of trucks this year likely will account for more than half of all light vehicle sales for the first time. Despite the fuel-economy drawbacks, buyers repeatedly trade up for bigger trucks, making it increasingly difficult for Ford to atone for its sins.