Last year , SUVs, or sports utility vehicles, accounted for nearly half of the global cars sold, specifically in the US, India and Europe. But, this shocking sales boom comes at an environmental cost. According to the International Energy Agency, SUVs produced more planet-heating pollution than most countries last year. The amount of said pollution produced rose to around 1 billion tons. Some good news – electric cars have jumped up in numbers, shrinking the general car market. In 2022, global electric car sales rose by 60%, exceeding 1 million cars for the first time – about a quarter of cars sold in China were electric, along with 1 in 5 in the EU and 1 in 10 in the US.
Unfortunately the sudden increase in electric car sales were still unable to offset the carbon produced from the SUVs, but the acceptance of electric cars on our roads is a huge step forward in leaving fossil fuels in our rear view. The majority of these SUVs are gas powered, and due to the dense weight of each car, they are less fuel efficient than any smaller sized vehicle. On average consuming more than 20% more fuel than the average medium-sized car.
Just last year, electric SUVs sales made up half of the global electric car sales and 16% of the SUVs sales specifically. Even though these positive statistics are increasing, electric SUVs come equipped with a multitude of problems. For instance, bigger cars use bigger batteries, therefore needing more materials. The batteries are made up of materials such as cobalt, copper, lithium, and nickel, which require more energy to produce and add pressure on supply chains.
The IEA has called for car manufacturers to decrease the size of their developed vehicles and also start investing in sustainable battery technologies. “Rapidly increasing the number of electric cars on the road in place of conventional cars is a key part of reaching net zero emissions by mid-century,” stated the IEA.