Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Those five words aren’t to disparage the research relating to global CO2 emissions, but merely to point out that statistics can tell any story you want, providing you ask the right questions, or the right people.
‘If all the world’s SUV drivers were a country, it would be the 7th largest producer of CO2 emissions’ is a reasonable headline, I’m not arguing the veracity of it, but perhaps add in the fact that by their very nature, it must mean that they’re one of the largest contributors to funding alternative transportation through taxing, both direct and indirect.
Or that the study only relates to carbon emissions from fuel combustion at point of use – nothing from the manufacturing processes (that includes aviation, shipping and other forms of transportation).
Second biggest cause of rising carbon
With some commentators using this report as an ideal vehicle to urge a ban on all SUVs and 4x4s, it’s important to clarify that despite the headlines, you can’t just make the decision to outlaw these vehicles based on such a report.
The fact that the global share of the SUV market has almost doubled to 39% of all car sales between 2010 – 2018 shows that manufacturers are making a product that the world wants to buy, even bucking the trend of declining car sales of around 2% in 2018; if the market wasn’t there, the manufacturers would stop making them.
Further, the same study shows that the average mass of a vehicle has risen by around ten percent since 2000, which ‘shows the trend for larger vehicles’, but says nothing of all the technology fitted by the manufacturers to improve emissions or safety, as regulations require.
From 2004, average vehicle CO2 emissions have fallen by around 23%, and fuel economy has risen by 29%, the equivalent of 5.6mpg. In the intervening years, fuel economy and CO2 emissions have improved in 11 out of 13 years (to 2016) and new records are constantly being set. Despite piling on the weight, their footprint has never been lighter.
Also, the report claims that CO2 emissions from SUVs alone is higher than shipping and aviation – 700 megatonnes for SUVs, 233 Mt for aviation, and yet some quick research shows that the UK alone produced around 80 Mt of CO2 in 2018, not including any other country.
New car sales
Of course, the fact that they’re the least efficient models typically on sale doesn’t help, but the real problem isn’t so much how much gas they guzzle, but the popularity of them – nearly 40% of all new car sales worldwide in 2018 were SUVs, or nearly 35 million vehicles all told. In Europe and the UK, one-in-three cars sold is an SUV, in America, that figure is closer to one-in-two.
Perhaps part of the responsibility of the popularity could be placed at the doors of the politicians and environmentalists who insist that modern cars should be super-efficient – small, 3-cylinder engines, lightweight body panels, minimal structural reinforcement (replaced with the crash cell), smaller wheels … all in a bid to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) across the range of models offered by the big brands.
In all honesty, until we’re all driving the same electric vehicle, with our other article this week, charging only from sustainable power sources, there will always be one element of the motoring society that’s going to be victimised, penalised or hard done by.
We’ve discussed how the government needs to change the way they tax our usage of our cars, and even when we’re finally all-electric, the motorist won’t escape further taxes – just as we now pay VED, fuel duty, congestion or ULEZ, you can almost guarantee that a new element will be introduced, such as rubber pollution from our tyres, or air pollution from brake dust.
The good news is that once we’ve hit ‘Motoring 2.0’, at least we should (in theory) be treated equally; no more exemptions for the wealthy motorist who can afford the latest in technology, or penalising the poor for having the audacity to run a car that’s a few years old, and in that case, purely paying per mile of usage would be fair, and right.
What do you think to this latest report? Is it just another cheap shot at a specific group of motorists? Perhaps an early warning of impending taxation? Let us know in the comments.
Good, more CO2 means a healthier and greener planet. CO2 is NOT a pollutant it is the gas of life. MORE CO2 is needed, for optimum growth the earth needs 0.12% of CO2 whereas currently it is 0.04% massively BELOW optimum levels.
If co2 goes up 1% we all get head aches. If up 2% we die. So all things in moderation I believe.
The writer of this article does not dispute the veracity of these figures. So why go on to defend the indefensible. To claim that taxes from polluting vehicles fund research into funding alternative transportation is an unsupportable dissonance. To further deflect responsibility by saying – Oh there are bigger polluters than this, is further evidence of the avoidance of responsibility. Large vehicles contribute more CO2 than small ones and therefore contribution more towards global warming. This article is unnecessary journalese.
I had the misfortune of listening to the news last night, where some hempy idiot scientist was going on about how much CO2 a hairdryer throws out and we should ban them, yes a HAIR DRYER, at that point I turned over to don’t know how he got to this conclusion and don’t care, to me this is just an example of how stupid this is getting.
I watched a programme the other night about land fill and how we are still putting to much in, in the break there was an ad for a mop, flash mop I think it was, which you pull this cloth thing out of a pouch stick it on end of mop, chuck it around your floor then throw the disposable cloth bit in your bin????
Am I missing something here, we whinge about SUVs and CO2, we are now whinging about hair dryers, we whinge about land fill yet we are promoting mops you throw the end into your bin which goes to LAND FILL!
End of the ad the documentary starts again about land fill, I think someone is taking the hiss!
I think the first question to ask is ‘How many people who drive an SUV can really justify driving such a polluting vehicle’? Very few I imagine as to most it’s just a wealth/fashion statement.
I need an SUV, as we live in an extremely hilly area, and in the winter, our estate becomes impassable.
So in winter your estate becomes impassable, I assume this is not your country estate, ie large property in extensive grounds, but a group of ordinary houses.
A hundred yards of road may become difficult for a short period and you think this justifies an SUV. I’ll bet my front wheel drive car can get anywhere that you can get with your SUV.
Laughing Emojis !!!
Yep, every SUV (shed) driver has a reason don’t they YAWN…
I have the same problem as JP but put winter tyres on my Golf and the problem was solved also much better in the wet as well.
Is that a lung blackening diesel golf?
Most people who own an suv vehicle have them because they are shockingly poor drivers!
I think that unless you have a genuine need for one, say because you are a farmer etc where you genuinely need to drive in rough terrain you shouldn’t be allowed to buy them!
Living in a hilly area just isn’t a reason to own one! And let’s face it, you can only drive a 4×4 up to the nearest traffic jam anyway!
If you drive in an appropriate manner in snow you won’t get stuck in an ordinary car I’ve never been stuck in snow ever!
It makes me laugh watching how some people behave in the snow in their cars.
Very often they floor the accelerator, wheels skidding and sliding. They think the faster their wheels spin the more grip they get, when it’s quite the opposite that they should be doing!
I quite agree, if you get stuck a friendly tractor driver will always help you out as I have found out. These SUV vehicles are only bought to bully other drivers.
I know this is not what the article is about but I believe a big part about SUV’s is the space they take up on the road and in parking spaces. Also the drivers are often overtly aggressive because in an accident they will not come out worst.
And let’s not get SUV’s mixed with proper off-road vehicles, they are not for this purpose and mostly completely inappropriate for agricultural use due to incorrect tyres, compromised 4WD systems, if any, often poor ground clearance. I know of an X5 driver who wrecked his engine for wading through water less than a foot deep!
Anyway back to fuel consumption, physics tells us that for a given speed and engine size, a larger vehicle shall use more energy at speed due to the volume of air it displaces. If they are big, they will always use more fuel.
Your first sentence lost me with ‘ I believe a big part about SUV’s is the space they take up on the road and in parking spaces’ I think you will find the footprint the average SuV takes up is the same as an estate or people carrier.
Or are they to be banned to ?
The reasons for me owning a LandRover are many and varied but appreciate your point about the X5.
Not long ago had to pull one out of a muddy carpark as driver had overestimated his or the cars capabilities !
I drive a small SUV because I need it for my business and I feel safe driving it. Its petrol so definitely better than harmful diesel. CO2 is what plants use to breathe is what the cows and volcano emits, so definitely better than diesel emissions with low CO2…
4×4 is a lot of fun the winter or any bad weather.
Try walking or have you forgotten how to
They obviously never learnt how to walk or run lol!
1) You can apply that to any vehicle use
2) Anything over a couple of miles isn’t practical, especially if a commute
3) Happily walked over 10 miles the other day – no, I haven’t forgotten how to.
3) So the 6 mile trip (each way) for my weekly shop at the nearest available – I should try walking? Really?? And carry the shopping how?
One group that can justify DISABLED drivers who like me need to carry a mobility scooter. Without this facility I would become house bound
Sounds a great idea you should sell your SUV and get a Motability 4×4 disability scooter, I’m sure it will handle any situation just great!
Yes my wife is disabled and can only get in and out of high off the ground car. It just happens to be a SUV but it has a smaller more fuel efficient engine in it than the car it replaced. 1600cc.
I have arthritis, and find it difficult to get in and out of my current car. I would find it a lot easier if my car were higher off the ground.
They pay their road tax like everyone else. A LOT MORE INFACT.
Exactly my point it’s a status symbol, these people also have more money than sense! And certainly don’t care about anyone else on the road.
it a free country can driver what you want and all these people hoo jump on the bandwagon just to have a moan get a life
I’ve just bought one. My justification is that I changed from diesel to petrol, I am disabled and needed a car tall enough and with a big enough boot for my scooter. I also needed a car that’s easy for me to get into. Other reasons : it helps me in many ways when driving such as lane assist, automatic braking etc. Also parking sensors and rear camera. It even turns the lights in for me! I tried many cars out before choosing this one, it’s not a fashion accessory, but I love driving it!
Yes a simple status statement, tells you a lot about the sort of people who drive them, pig headed don’t care simpletons in my opinion! All SUVs should be banned from the family brigade, why drive one when it has no other practical use and so should thier extra bright fancy LED lights.
Think you’ll find all modern cars have (in my opinion) overly bright LED lights, especially the ridiculous front running lights that don’t extinguish when the headlights are used. Nothing to do wit being an SUV/4×4.
you are taking rubbish
None of this addresses the lethal effect of SUV’s on pedestrians and normal sized vehicles and their occupants in an accident.
Add to this the obstruction to other drivers views of the road. How many times are you waiting to turn left when some muppet in a Range Rover pulls up next to you turning right and we all have to wait because you can no longer see approaching traffic.
I have a solution for you, whether you are turning left or right! Spread out on junctions so as to prevent the Muppets of the road can’t get along side you and block your view! On approaching the junction if you’re going to turn left keep tight to the centre line on your right indicating left and at the last yard or so manouver you fronf to block anyone getting down your left! They cant get on your right side because that would put them on the wrong side of the road! If you are turning right approach the junction near to the kerb indicating right, turn right in the last yard of travel up to the junction!
This way the law breaking Muppets can’t block your view because you are occupying the whole junction outlet like it’s meant to be! Never approach a junction to the extreme left or right because you’re just encouraging people to squeeze down the side of you, hold the centre of the lane, you are in the right to do so, it’s a single lane and it’s illegal for someone to double up at junctions causing dangerous blind spots.
I always block in the above manner
What a nob head!
Wow you would make a brilliant driving instructor, love to join you out on the road, it would be worth it just to annoy the Muppets driving the SUVs lol
Yes, why not drive like a thoughtless idiot, great solution.
Nothing addresses the lethal effect of lorries on pedestrians and normal sized vehicles and their occupants in an accident either, but most of the newsworthy fatal accidents on our roads involve them, yet nobody seems to worry..
What a load of turds your comments make you out to be. Transport for loads ,animals are important for some. But you narrow minded tossers can’t accept that fact
How refreshing to see the tone of debate raised to such a level that it increases our knowledge of the subject so substantially.
Absolutely refreshing indeed! My knowledge of turds and tossers has grown immensely lol!
How rude of you to say that you are the only one allowed to get a toss off in your vehicle. And as for turds judging by the size of an SUV they block the drains up which means you must be a rather large scale one, or are you actually a lost fatberg lol!
It’s entirely reasonable to try to alert new car buyers to the environmental impact of the choices they make. For those ‘following the herd’ to buy an SUV or 4×4 primarily because it’s fashionable, rather than because they really need a car that large, or with off-road capability, there’s value in flagging up the environmental downsides. Just as the fashion industry itself is guilty of major eco-sins, so is the profit-driven motivation of car manufacturers to make their most expensive products ‘aspirational’, regardless of their inferior eco crrdentials.
They are talking about suv switch over toy off roaders? Most of the suv are just silly cars put on stilts, why would you want a front wheel drive car that looks like an off road vehicle? Anyway, on to my point, most of the small SUVs do good miles to the gallon, in fact they are as good as small cars. Only the massive q7 an BMW x5 an range rover are gas guzzling cars, but even the new models are better on fuel than some older normal vehicles. I tend to see more older people in small cross overs as they were known, probably because they struggle getting down into a low car but find higher vehicles easier to get in/out of.
I personally own a landrover discovery 4 but it Is actually a van version that I use for my business to tow a large trailer loaded with equipment & private & I only own 1 vehicle not 2 like some families um people need to stop generalizing not everybody uses there 4×4 as a Chelsea tractor what people dont realise some older smaller cars emit more crap than the modern 4×4
Refreshing to see a sensible and objective comment sir – sadly you are in a minority here!
There is no such thing as global warming, this crap has been on the table for fourty years and before that it was an ice age, nothing but scaremongering to continue growth in world economies and when this fails we will be in world war 3, drive what you want or can afford the more co2 the healthier your greenhouse
Oh dear, here we go again! I thought the years-out-of-date attacks on 4×4’s or anything bigger than a smart car had died out with the dinosaurs that make those comments. Yes I own one and I average 40ish mpg, without driving carefully. The CO2 emissions are similar to the dozens of huge people-carriers we see clogging up the roads on the school runs, and massively better than the thousands of vans barging through traffic everywhere, yet nobody anywhere slags off owners of people-carriers or vans.
All you eco-warriors with electric cars smugly claiming you are ‘zero polluting’ are totally deluded to the point of being conned. Yes, you have no tailpipe emissions WHILE DRIVING, but when you charge the thing, your emissions come out of the power station instead, so you are still polluting the planet. Don’t try to say you charge it with renewable energy only because that’s NOT the case, your electricity comes from ALL power stations regardless of who you pay for your energy.
If you own an older vehicle, or a van, or tow a caravan OR DRIVE A PETROL VEHICLE, you are producing more CO2 than my modern SUV!!
Sadly, common sense doesn’t come into many arguments here!
I need my all wheel drive Kuga for towing, where it’s more the weight of the car that dictates how much you can pull. It’s capable of getting over 50 MPG on a long run with careful driving. That’s better than the automatic 3 cylinder 1500cc Mini One I used recently.
Depending on how you drive dictates more to the efficiency than the quoted manufacturing figure.
My comment on driving a petrol vehicle should have said ‘OR DRIVE A MID-SIZED PETROL VEHICLE’….
My Dinky toy is very polluting lol
I still have a choice,so I will drive what I think fits my needs.
My house is powered by fully renewable energy thus saving emissions.
I have never seen a country so divisive as the UK.
“I walk so you must walk”
“I have a 900cc motor so you should not have a bigger one”
But there you all are everyday on your school runs and heading into N Wales every weekend.
We are free,let’s keep it that way.
That’s nothing I drive a Tiger tank no one gets in my way and gets away with it lol. and I don’t need to use the main gun either! Bring on the Tanks!
No parking problems either, just park on top of other SUVs…….
What about China and all the needless wars?
electric guns and planes, and when bombs n shells go off they are full of flowers, welcome to ECO WAR
Interesting stuff, nukes full of turds lol!
What are they at war? I missed that one.
as the authour says, you have to look beyond fuel combustion at point of use, and if you do, those oh so “Green” electric cars are worse, the sunk CO2 cost in a vehicle size Lithium Ion Battery is huge, so huge infact that you need to run an EU6 Diesel for over 10 years to generate that much.
Lithium Ion Cars are a parial solution to smog, but they are not the solution to reducing the environmental impact of travel.
whats needed is a better, less exotic metal required storage medium for electric charge and a greater research into power distribution and storage.
Umm well said, even though I didn’t understand the double dutch! Good try though!
You need to know that some suvs are not so poluting as you and the general public think, there are some that use Adblue that makes the vehicle less poluting.
only reason I drive an SUV is to pull a caravan safely. Find me a car that will do this safely and within GOV guidelines and I will switch to it. Good Luck with that one
Rubbish there are plenty of cars suitable for towing, unless it is that you need the biggest caravan you can find as it’s needed to boost your ego.
I don’t think anything tows a caravan safely particularly in windy conditions.
I hate caravans too…..
Only reason I use a SUV is to pull my caravan safely. Tried looking for one that does this within GOV guidelines and can not.
Why is it always fossil fuels that are to blame,does everyone forget how the supposed clean electricity is produced and one of the dirtiest is the battery production just another excuse to backdoor tax the average motorist as I see it.
With so many SUV’s being driven by women, dare l suggest that a survey is done to ask the ladies the ‘exact reason’ (make that the ‘real reason’) why they bought one ?
Invariably the husband or partner; in an attempt to redress the ‘whose the head of the house’ imbalance; won’t drive anything smaller than her SUV, so ends up with a big Audi, Merc, or similar…or a bigger SUV to compensate.
Yes it’s an extension of their certain anatomy! Or maybe it’s just the ladies would like a bigger sausage lol!
HOW ABOUT ALL THE AEROPLANES THERE IS NO NEED TO PICK ON CARS OR LORRYS
Roger, using capitals is the equivalent of shouting., anyway whilst we cannnot really influence the type of aircraft we fly in, we can pick a greener car.
What load of Bollocks, my Jeep runs LPG, THE emissions are .0009 and I drive no more than 1000 miles a year and I pay £305 on VED, I drive a Jeep because I have trouble getting in out of low cars due having 3 discs out and I only drive locally, , never at peak times,
16 of the world large containers ships produce more than all cars in the world but they are not counted because they are out at sea but we are on the same planet
4 x4s and SUVs have long been demonised as public enemy No1 but come the snow and appeals go out for 4×4 drivers to help emergency vehicles to reach people in need and get them to safety/hospital etc. And with the state of roads they are the logical choice. BTw I don’t drive one, just an observation and the increased road tax means that they pay more than most, and the governments policy on pollution leads me to think it’s ok to pollute if you can afford to pay the penalties they impose.
That’s a laugh, how many SUVs are actually equipped with proper tyres to cope with snow, and how many ever venture out into the countryside, and how many of their drivers have any experience of driving in seriously slippery conditions? The answer to all these is very few.
The only 4x4s that are any use in poor road conditions are the proper Landrovers as used by farmers etc. All the others should remain on their drives doimg what they do best, pose.
Correct tyres are certainly the way to go (I put cold weather/snow tyres on when the temperature drops below 8C). No front wheel drive car I’ve had using these tyres has had any problems in snow and ice. It handles much better than AWD or 4×4’s with all season tyres.
Steering and stopping are no better using all wheel drive either.
However, all wheel drive IS much better for getting up hills in snow and ice. It’s doesn’t need to be an SUV though. In fact when looking for a towing vehicle that had reasonable MPG, the Kuga all wheel drive was one of the few soft-roaders that actually had anything other than front wheel drive!
Not for posing, but needed for towing.
Government carries out the most blatant discrimination in persecuting the normal motorist who drives a petrol or diesel vehicle but runs scared of applying the same laws against trucks and buses/coaches and does not even mention of all the generators, and other machinery that runs on Petrol or diesel because if they did the county would come to a halt with in a very short period. Politicians there is no lower form of life.
My old Peugeot 308 did 33 mpg but my Qashqai dci over 60mpg. So emissions well down and yet diesels get the bad press.
Diesel fuel is dirty I agree, but the latest engines more than compensate. I drive a 4×4 because of my work and disability, sure I can get in an ordinaty vehicle but that’s the problem getting out, Now if you want to complain about fuel usage petrol is more polluting than diesel. MPG is a good example petrol delivers less power and fewer miles per gallon where as diesel produces more power at less RPM and gives better economy, this clobbering that diesel usage gets is nonsense as is electric vehicles, to produce diesel, petrol and electric power, consider the production of these
Oh! so this week is SUV owner bashing, the main reason I drive one is I have better control over my caravan when I go away, every week-end come rain or shine. Plus I have no intention of taking notice of some idiot that doesn’t know the law or regulations on towing a trailer, I won’t waste my time or anyone else’s time explaining them because there is a very good saying, you can’t polish a t*r*.
SUV is just a “name”, high riding vehicles are NOT sporty, My “SUV”, I have had Qashqai’s and now Kadjar, 1.5 diesels, yesterday for example drove 350 mile round trip, reached 69MPG, on return average 65MPG, and 550 miles left in tank, very economical in my mind, would not change this kind of motor, not a gas guzzler, very green, could not do this regular trip in an EV, do not tar all SUV’s as gas guzzlers