According to a report published by the International Energy Agency on 13th November, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) are the second-largest cause of the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions during the past decade, with the power sector being the most significant contributor.
The analysis was a shock to the authors themselves who discovered an intense shift towards SUVs because, in 2010, one in every five cars sold was an SUV, and now it is 2 in 5. The agency said:
As a result, there are now over 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010.
The inclination for larger SUVs is counteracting fuel-efficiency enhancements in smaller cars and carbon savings from the growing demand for electric vehicles. “If SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions,” reported The Guardian. This issue is prevalent in the UK as well, with research finding that SUVs are outselling electric cars 37 to one.
According to the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), for the past three years, the exhaust emissions in the UK have been on the rise. Professor Jillian Anable at the UKERC said:
The decarbonization of the passenger car market can no longer rely on a distant target to stop the sales of conventional engines. We must start to phase out the most polluting vehicles immediately. The time has come to implement stronger regulations to transform the entire car market towards ultra-low carbon, rather than focusing solely on the uptake of electric vehicles.
In the past four years, over 1.2 million SUVs were sold in the UK as compared to just 47,000 battery electric vehicles (BEV). The UKERC has said that the SUVs are bigger and heavier than a standard car, and thy emit 25% more CO2 than an average vehicle and four times more than an average BEV.
They have said:
Assuming the majority of these SUVs will be on UK roads for at least a decade, it is estimated the extra cumulative emissions to total around 8.2 million tons of CO2.