The International Energy Agency has revealed that SUVs (4x4s) are the SECOND LARGEST CAUSE of the global rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade, eclipsing all shipping, aviation, heavy industry and even trucks.
Each year SUVs emit 700 mega-tonnes of CO2: a disaster given that the world desperately needs to cut CO2 emissions to zero to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Manufacturers make more profit on SUVs and have marketed them heavily in recent years; about 40% of new car sales are now SUVs.
Stand against SUV advertising
We banned tobacco advertising because smoking kills. Now it’s time to put a stop to the promotion of highly polluting Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
Car manufacturers have shifted away from advertising family cars towards pushing ever bigger, more polluting – but much more profitable – SUVs. This needs to stop.
Background to petition: www.badverts.org/take-action
The reason for the high emissions is that an SUV weighs on average 40% more than a normal car, due to its size and 4-wheel transmission. When you drive an SUV, this greater weight results in higher fuel consumption and therefore greater emissions. If the SUV is partly or fully electric, it will still consume far more energy and generate more emissions than a normal car because more resources will be required for electricity generation; power stations have to be built and most grids are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
Note also that far more emissions are generated in the manufacture and disposal of an SUV than for a normal car.
Air Pollution from Exhaust and Tyre Dust
Londoners have another reason to want to cut emissions from vehicles. Air pollution in our city contributes to over 9,400 premature deaths every year. The main source of this pollution is road vehicles – but it’s not just their exhaust gases. The latest research carried out for the government indicates that dust from brake wear, tyre wear and road surface wear currently constitute over 60% (by mass) of particulate emissions (PM2.5 and PM10) from road transport. SUVs being heavier, produce more of this deadly dust. Electric vehicles do not solve this dust problem and can even make it worse, as they tend to be heavier due to their batteries.
Currently no legislation is in place to limit or reduce these particles. These fragments pollute the air and will eventually be washed into rivers and the sea.
Up to Twice as Deadly in Accidents
On top of all this, studies of accident statistics in the USA found that a far higher percentage of pedestrians hit by SUVs died compared with those hit by a normal car. Having to share the road with 2-ton monsters puts people off buying a small car or cycling – the very things we need to encourage to tackle both air pollution and climate change.
Act Now - Take the Pledge
Already the European Transport Safety Council and the UK Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change (set up by the House of Commons) have discussed a ban on SUVs in cities. Sooner or later governments will have to legislate, but meanwhile we in Ealing can do our bit: pledge to never buy an SUV. If you need a car, buy the LIGHTEST, smallest car that is sufficient for you. Doing so reduces every type of emission. And if you already have an over-sized vehicle, at least commit to never buying another, and tell your friends why.
1) Demystifying Air Pollution in London – Report by London Councils
2) Pollution warning over car tyre and brake dust: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48944561
3) Air Quality Expert Group: Non-Exhaust Emissions from Road Traffic. Prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
4) Growing preference for SUVs challenges emissions reductions in passenger car market. International Energy Agency.
SUV names are often evocative of wild places, or suggest health or vigour. It’s clever marketing but the reality is the opposite: most of these vehicles clutter cities making everyone less healthy, and the climate change & pollution they generate is destroying nature.