Eco-Warriors Targeting SUVs by Deflating Tires Claim To Have Struck in L.A.

Drivers are fuming after discovering tires on their cars have been deflated by a new climate change activist group calling themselves "The Tyre Extinguishers."

In the U.K., the group claims to have hit 13 major locations, including London, and it appears the movement has spread across the pond to the U.S.

A spokesperson for The Tyre Extinguishers told Newsweek they had already received reports of someone taking part in the movement in California.

They said: "Someone got in touch today from Los Angeles to say they had been inspired and had just taken the action over there! We expect to see lots of people joining in.

"We hope to see this spread all around the world."

The group struck across the U.K. on Tuesday, claiming to have let down tires on "100s of SUVs."

Their overall aim is: "To make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4x4 in the world's urban areas."

And they aim to achieve that by: "Deflating the tyres of these massive, unnecessary vehicles, causing inconvenience and expense for their owners."

The group, which has a dedicated website with tips and step-by-step instructions on how to deflate tires, encourages people to "target posh/middle-class areas."

They advise people to "practice on a bicycle tyre first," while encouraging those sympathetic to the cause to "work under cover of darkness."

Photo of The Tyre Extinguishers poster.
Photo of a Tyre Extinguishers poster. The group has begun deflating the tires on SUVs in a bid to tackle climate change. The Tyre Extinguishers

The website explains the rationale behind the movement, saying: "SUVs and 4x4s are a disaster for our health, our public safety and our climate.

"Bigger and bigger cars are dominating our towns and cities, and all so a privileged few can flaunt their wealth.

"Because governments and politicians have failed to protect us from this danger, we must protect ourselves.

"We want to make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4x4 in the world's urban areas."

They cited the cars' impact on climate change and air pollution as factors, while also claiming they're "dangerous" and "unnecessary."

After the group struck, snaps of their posters—which they leave on the windshield—began popping up on social media.

One was shared to Reddit on Wednesday, captioned: "Karens are deflating tires of Porsche SUVs because they're 'gas guzzlers'." It was later reposted across the site, garnering more than 11,000 upvotes and comments, and can be seen here.

The Argus newspaper cited Sussex Police in the U.K. saying they'd received multiple reports of car tires being deflated in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The legality of such action is a somewhat gray area in the U.K., although the Road Traffic Act 1988, part 1 section 22A, states: "A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally and without lawful authority or reasonable cause interferes with a motor vehicle, trailer or cycle." It doesn't specify if letting down tires expressly fits this definition.

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson from the The Tyre Extinguishers said: "From a legal perspective, we are prepared to risk arrest and criminal charges because we want to stop runaway climate change, we want clean air and we want safe streets."

They encouraged people to take part in the tire deflation "wherever you are" using their "simple instructions." The spokesperson said: "All it requires is someone with a leaflet and a lentil, and it could happen anywhere."

Marion Walker from The Tyre Extinguishers said on the website: "Governments and politicians have failed to protect us from these massive unnecessary vehicles. SUVs are a climate disaster, they cause air pollution and are dangerous for other road users. Everyone hates them, apart from the people who drive them.

"Politely asking for climate action, clean air and safer streets has failed. It's time for action."

And for anyone driving a hybrid or a Tesla, the group warned: "Hybrids and electric cars are fair game."

However, they stressed: "Avoid: Cars clearly used for people with disabilities, traders' cars (even if they're large), minibuses and normal-sized cars."

Photo from The Tyre Extinguishers.
Photo from The Tyre Extinguishers showing tire deflating in action. The group has tips on how to remove air from tires. The Tyre Extinguishers