According to a report, the trend of SUVs was responsible for preventing a potential decrease of over 30% in motor emissions.
A report discovered that if vehicles had remained the same size, emissions from the motor industry could have decreased by over 30% from 2010 to 2022.
Instead, there was a significant increase in the average size of cars due to the popularity of SUVs. This resulted in a decrease in the global annual rate of energy intensity for light-duty vehicles (LDVs), averaging 4.2% between 2020 and 2022.
A recent study conducted by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) revealed that SUVs currently make up the majority of new car sales (51%), with the average weight of light-duty vehicles (LDVs) reaching a record high of over 1.5 tonnes.
New car models are increasing in size, with the average footprint now measuring 4.2 square meters. SUVs are heavily promoted by automotive companies due to their high profitability; they are sold at premium prices but have relatively lower manufacturing costs.
The report’s authors urged governments to implement regulations on vehicle sizes in order to counter the rise of SUVs.
Sheila Watson, the vice president of the FIA Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on protecting the environment and promoting road safety, expressed concern about the increasing size of vehicles. She stated that this trend poses a significant threat to sustainable transportation, affecting areas such as climate change and road safety. According to a recent report, it is crucial to shift away from these “mega-vehicles” in order to reach the GFEI’s objective of doubling car fuel efficiency by 2030. Watson emphasized the importance of vehicle size, noting that bigger is not necessarily better in this case.
The motor industry has seen a decrease in emissions due to the increase in electric vehicle (EV) usage, which accounted for 15% of market share in 2022. The report noted that regions with significant growth in EVs, like China and Europe, experienced the highest yearly energy efficiency improvements at almost 6%. In comparison, North America, where EV market uptake is lower, only saw a yearly improvement rate of 1.6%.
According to Dan Sperling, the original leader of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, the key to achieving more environmentally friendly transportation is to reverse the current trend of larger and heavier vehicles. This also applies to electric vehicles in order to create a fair and inclusive market, and to decrease the demand for essential minerals and electricity.
The report’s writers are also advocating for the allocation of funds towards renewable energy sources, a change in policies regarding subsidies for fossil fuels, implementing carbon pricing, enforcing regulations for minimum deployment of electric vehicle charging stations, and creating financial tools to make electric vehicles more accessible and affordable.