Large SUVs pollute more than older cars: New study reports

A recent study conducted by the United Kingdom’s climate campaign group Possible has brought forward a new fact about the changing environmental trend that revolves around large SUVs in England. According to this study, it has been found that larger SUVs contribute significantly more to carbon emissions than older cars. Now, before going into the exact details of this new study, it is important to note that this study’s findings are not based on Indian SUVs or the Indian automotive market. It only brings forward the situation which is in England. But more likely than not, it will be the same for Indian vehicles as well if a study in the future is conducted in India.

Large SUVs pollute more than older cars: New study reports

Rise of SUVs and their environmental impact

According to the new study, over the last decade, just like in India, SUVs have gained immense popularity in England. However, this new trend of buying large SUVs has resulted in a substantial increase in carbon emissions. Research by the climate campaign group Possible revealed that the average carbon emissions from an internal combustion engine car bought in 2013 are now lower than those of new SUVs purchased today.

Other important findings

Other important points highlighted by the study are that higher-income individuals are 81% more likely to own higher-polluting cars compared to those with lower incomes. Apart from this, it was also found that not only are high-income individuals more likely to own large SUVs, but they also drive them considerably more. The top 20% income group drives three times the mileage per year compared to those in the bottom income bracket. The collective carbon impact of their driving habits contributes more to environmental damage than the driving practices of those with fewer resources, stated the report.

Large SUVs pollute more than older cars: New study reports

The research also revealed that there is a geographical element in SUV ownership. As per the report, in more modern and posh areas of London, such as Kensington and Chelsea, where the population is generally wealthier, SUVs are more prevalent. The study found that super-heavy, high-polluting SUVs like the Land Rover Defender are much more common in urban areas than in the countryside where these SUVs actually have more real use.

A similar trend in other parts of the globe

Apart from this, the study also reported that in general, SUVs have become a significant portion of the automotive market across the globe. In India as well, SUVs like Toyota Fortuner and MG Glosters, along with others, are typically heavier than traditional cars and contribute more carbon emissions.

Hybrid SUVs could be the solution

Large SUVs pollute more than older cars: New study reports
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

Although this has not been stated in the new study, the solution to this increasing SUV problem could be hybrid SUVs. Time after time, it has been proven that hybrids are one of the most sustainable means of transportation. So it makes a lot of sense to conclude that hybrid SUVs could become the solution to this rising pollution problem. Hybrid vehicles combine traditional engines with electric motors, making them more fuel-efficient and less carbon-intensive.