Surging SUV demand is canceling out the benefit from electric cars

Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
If worldwide demand for SUVs continues to grow at its current pace, the carbon emissions from these larger vehicles will outweigh the benefits from electric vehicles, a new study from the International Energy Agency found.

The number of SUVs on the road around the world grew from 35 million in 2010 to over 200 million last year, representing 60% of the increase in the global car fleet over the 8-year period.

From 2010 - 2018, SUVs were the second-largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions behind the power sector, the study found. This places SUVs ahead of trucks and aviation in terms of carbon footprint. The study also found that 100% of the increase in demand for oil for passenger cars was driven by the popularity of larger vehicles.

“If consumers’ appetite for SUVs continues to grow at a similar pace seen in the last decade, SUVs would add nearly 2 million barrels a day in global oil demand by 2040, offsetting the savings from nearly 150 million electric cars,” the researchers found.

48% of car sales in the United States last year were SUVs, which was the highest percentage worldwide, but other countries are catching up. Large cars can be seen as a status symbol, and sales are rising in countries like China and India where the middle class is growing.

 
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Jul 2014
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midwest
Better economy means people have more to spend on vehicles.

And gas.

My small SUV gets up to 40 MPG, so it's not ALL SUV's that are the problem.

My next one will probably be a hybrid and get even more MPG.

Progress is being made...
 
Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
Better economy means people have more to spend on vehicles.

And gas.

My small SUV gets up to 40 MPG, so it's not ALL SUV's that are the problem.

My next one will probably be a hybrid.

Progress is being made...
Its part the economy being healthy but there are also other factors. People that cant afford more than one car choose SUVs for space and better driving in the winter. Also elderly people with mobility issues find it hard to get into small cars. They find it easier to sit back or step up to get into one of these instead of a smaller car thats low to the ground. Plus they have a ton of space.
 
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Aug 2018
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Vancouver
I already drive a hybrid. And I won't go back. I save at least 200 dollars a month.

The technology will catch up. And public investment is appropriate to assist the advancement.

This issue will be resolved when the consumer options are simple.

Make a hybrid SUV and "they will come" .
 
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Djinn

Council Hall
Dec 2007
53,329
40,923
Pennsylvania, USA
Better economy means people have more to spend on vehicles.
And gas.
My small SUV gets up to 40 MPG, so it's not ALL SUV's that are the problem.
My next one will probably be a hybrid and get even more MPG.
Progress is being made...
According to this 2019 Carmax.com article, no SUV rates better than 33 mpg on the highway. Cars aren't my field; so I might be missing some detail.

 
Jul 2014
41,734
11,544
midwest
According to this 2019 Carmax.com article, no SUV rates better than 33 mpg on the highway.

Mine does.

My 2016 Honda HR-V was supposed to get 32-35 on the highway.

It does better, and sometimes MUCH better.

One 300 mile trip with A/C running I got about 40.5.

My MPG computer said I got 42, but when I bought gas and figured it, it was over 40.

Usually I get 32-35 in town, 35-37 on hiway.

But, I drive easy.

Sorry CarMax!
 
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Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
I already drive a hybrid. And I won't go back. I save at least 200 dollars a month.

The technology will catch up. And public investment is appropriate to assist the advancement.

This issue will be resolved when the consumer options are simple.

Make a hybrid SUV and "they will come" .
They do make a few hybrids. The problem usually is the average person that owns an SUV doesnt just drive a little bit, they tend to drive a lot. Kids, carpooling, vacations, dogs etc and high miles.
 
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Reactions: Madeline
Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
Mine does.

My 2016 Honda HR-V was supposed to get 32-35 on the highway.

It does better, and sometimes MUCH better.

One 300 mile trip with A/C running I got about 40.5.

My MPG computer said I got 42, but when I bought gas and figured it, it was over 40.

Usually I get 32-35 in town, 35-37 on hiway.

But, I drive easy.

Sorry CarMax!
Yes the HR-V is pretty new and they do tend to get better than expected mileage. My brother bought one last year and was surprised. Of course it depends on how its driven.
 
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Djinn

Council Hall
Dec 2007
53,329
40,923
Pennsylvania, USA
Mine does. My 2016 Honda HR-V was supposed to get 32-35 on the highway....
I just googled a picture of the Honda HR-V... to my untrained eye, it looks like a "car" not an "SUV."

What's the distinguishing characteristic of an SUV that makes it "not a car?"