The unstoppable rise of the SUV 

Posted: December 6, 2019 by oldbrew in Emissions, opinion, pollution, propaganda, Travel
Tags: ,

Electric SUV concept car [image credit:]

The report headline also claims this ‘is terrible news for the planet’, because they are obsessing about harmless trace gases in the atmosphere. But the motoring public don’t seem to share their misplaced concerns, as ever-popular SUVs outnumber electric vehicles by about 40 to 1 worldwide.

Sales of hefty and heavily-polluting SUVs have doubled in the last decade – outweighing the progress made from electric vehicles, says WIRED. Can cleaner SUVs offer a way out?

The phenomenal rise of the SUV all started with a squabble over chicken.

It was 1963 – the height of the Cold War – and US president Lyndon Johnson was fuming over a tax that France and West Germany had imposed on cheap, intensively-farmed US chicken flooding European supermarkets.

In December 1963, after months of failed negotiations, Johnson retaliated.

He slapped a 25 per cent tax on imported potato starch, brandy, dextrin and, crucially, light trucks. The effect was immediate.

Volkswagen stopped shipping pickups to America and Japanese firms pulled their models from the country, while American manufacturers renewed their focus on much larger vehicles. While the other taxes were later repealed, the levy on trucks was permanent.

In that single executive order, Johnson cleared the path for the SUV to dominate the roads of the United States and then the world. Buoyed by lenient fuel emissions standards and forgiving regulations, oversized cars became the new normal.

Between 2010 and 2018 the number of SUVs in the world increased from 35 million to 200m. Now 40 per cent of annual car sales are SUVs – double what it was a decade ago.

These prodigious vehicles brought with them an outsized impact on the environment. With lower fuel efficiency and higher emissions than normal cars, the rise of SUVs is outweighing the benefits of the growth in electric vehicles.

According to the International Energy Agency, SUVs alone were the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2018 – only behind the power industry.

And our taste for heavier, more polluting and – in some cases – more dangerous cars is not abating. In the US almost half of all cars sold are SUVs, while in India that figure is approaching one in three, and rising.

But as automakers come under increasing pressure to curb their emissions, the future of conventional SUVs is starting to look under threat.

Will the rising tide of regulation and electrification be enough to undo our environmentally disastrous love affair with SUVs?

Continued here.

  1. ivan says:

    The push continues to remove private transport from the public as outlined in UN Agenda 21 and Agenda 30 but they forget the problem as outlined in . Since we appear to heading for a cold period all the electric cars and trucks will become useless for transporting people and anything else anywhere.

    But then I suppose we should expect such drivel from the MSM and their hangers on with the current green party being held in Madrid, after all if you tell a big lie often enough and long enough many people will start to believe it and in this case respond like good little slaves.

  2. I think the article is a lot of nonsense. Many SUVs (at least the early ones) were more efficient than sedan cars and station wagons they replaced. Also they were safer.through 4 wheel drive. I bought a Subaru Forester all wheel drive in 2004. It was more economical than most sedan cars at the time with around 10 km/l.It is manual with HLR (ie 10 F & 2 R gears) I still have it with 340,000 km on the clock. Our now 1st car used by my wife is a VW Tiguan also AWD.but auto with 4 F gears but in between gears which can be held. Both cars can pull the caravan having 2.5l engines. The VW has similar economy in country driving and better pulling the caravan. When the Subaru calls it a day I will replace it with a similar Subaru with a 2L diesel which will cost less to run and have a greater travel range. Australia has always had a big percenatge of 4 wheel drive starting with the Range Rover in the early 1950’s then replaced by the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Toyota Hilux is at present the largest seller.

  3. JB says:

    Perhaps there are a lot of people who are also tired of packing and unpacking themselves in/out of the little sedans considered “economy” cars.

  4. oldbrew says:

    From the article:
    Hopelessly outnumbered by SUVs, the odds are stacked against electric cars. There are currently 5.1 million electric vehicles on the planet, compared to more than 200 million SUVs. Part of the problem, says Aronczyk, is that once supersized cars start to take off in a country, consumers and manufacturers rapidly get into an SUV arms race. “When you drive in a regular old sedan on the highway, everyone else’s headlights are right in your face,” she says. “It actually is hard to drive when you are the only one left on the road in a normal car.”

  5. Gamecock says:

    ‘Volkswagen stopped shipping pickups to America and Japanese firms pulled their models from the country’

    Nonsense. A Volkswagen pickup truck in 1963? Wut?

    And what were the Japanese selling in the U.S. in 1963? Virtually nothing.

    The prevalence of the SUV in America today, as well as pickup trucks, is the result of government regulating cars out of existence. The SUV is an unintended consequence.

    Obama: “Cars must get 54.5 mpg.”

    ‘Merican: “Screw that, I just drive a truck.”

  6. BoyfromTottenham says:

    One reason for the success of SUVs may also be the increasingly onerous safety regulations that apply to sedans, and the trend to making them more like sports cars, causing them to be lower, have higher door sills, cramped cockpits and poorer driver visibility. SUVs are far easier for older people to enter and exit, have better visibility and are less claustrophobic. This is the buying public’s way of rejecting these safety rules that are strangling the sedan car market. The car makers should have pushed back on them decades ago and are now paying the price.

  7. Phoenix44 says:

    Yet not a mention of EU regulations which have massively increased the weight of vehicles because of “safety”?

    Nor the endless scaremongering about road safety which persuaded people to buy bigger vehicles?

    Nor the fact that perhaps people just like SUVs? That’s the real horror, people doing things they choose, not what their Betters think they should be doing.

  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    My first Toyota Corolla in 1976 was (from memory 660 kg. kerb weight). My latest in 2018 is 1300kg.

  9. oldbrew says:

    A quick check shows a 1980 VW Golf 1100 cc weighed 750 kg.
    A 2019 Golf Trendline 1400 cc weighs 1336 kg.

  10. Gamecock says:

    ‘The car makers should have pushed back on them decades ago.’

    Couldn’t. Politicians and the press would crush them. You couldn’t fight someone who bought ink by the barrel.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    here in the Twin Cities I own a F-150 super crew cab pickup 4,644 lbs curb weight 330 V-8 with the usual 4wd, towing package (for my 1000 pound bass boat and trailer), and a Lincoln Town Car 2004 edition 4,300 lbs curb weight 280 cu. in. V-8 .

    We keep the Town Car because it is one of the last of the full size cars and rides and handles like a dream. The pickup I haul stuff for the house as I renovate/update room by room over time and in the Fall I take four to five loads of leaves from these monster cottonwood trees, etc., etc. Then, of course there’s the snow and ice. I would only trade them up for new versions of the same design.

    While I appreciate the deft handling of a smaller car in the city, I live in the ‘burbs with mostly wide open roads and LARGE parking lots. Besides, how am I to notice the difference between -15F and -14F?

    Minnesotans for Global Warming –

  12. Russ Wood says:

    And in some countries (I’m thinking about my home in South Africa), the general state of the poorly maintained roads almost DEMANDS an SUV, to get across the potholes.

  13. Geri says:

    If you want to carry things, but do not want a truck, you are kind of stuck getting an SUV.

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