What has prompted the "terrorism" row is a television ad campaign launched by a group called the Detroit Project which aims to get Americans to think about oil consumption.
The commercials show an average American, called George, filling up his SUV, and a soundtrack linking this to the funding of terrorists who are shown at a training camp.
"These are the terrorists who get money ... every time George fills up his SUV," says the voiceover.
A second ad. in the series has an SUV driver saying "I gave money to a terrorist training camp in a foreign country."
The ads are a parody of a current campaign run by the government which suggests that young people who take drugs are thereby helping to fund terrorists and kill judges and police officers.
And another blow to one of motor manufacturers' most popular and profitable product lines, the top US motor safety regulator said sport/utility vehicles and pickup trucks aren't safe enough due to rollover risks.
Consumers should think twice about buying them, according to a report published yesterday.
"The thing I don't understand is that people, when they choose to buy a vehicle, they might go sit in it and say, 'Gee, I feel safe,'" says Dr. Jeffery Runge, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Well, sorry, but you know gut instinct is great for a lot of stuff, but it's not very good for buying a safe vehicle."
Runge added that rollovers accounted for just 3% of all US motor accidents in 2001 but caused nearly a third of all vehicle-occupant fatalities, and an SUV occupant was more than three times as likely to die as a result of a rollover than an occupant of a passenger car, the paper reported.