June 16, 2024
SUVs & Crossovers

SUVs Drive 25% of new oil demand and 20% of emissions rise

The adoration for increasingly larger vehicles contributed to over a quarter of the yearly global demand increase for oil and 20% of the additional energy-related CO2 emissions, as per the International Energy Agency.

Sport utility vehicles — bulkier, less fuel-efficient, and reliant on critical minerals compared to smaller cars — made up a record 48% of global car sales in 2023, up from 41.4% in 2020 and 20.58% in 2013, as indicated by the IEA report.

“If SUVs were a nation, they would rank as the world’s fifth-largest emitter of CO2” following China, the US, India, and Russia, the IEA remarked. “Throughout 2022 and 2023, the global oil consumption linked to SUVs surged by more than 600,000 barrels per day, constituting over a quarter of the total annual growth in oil demand.”

In addition to sustaining the demand for fossil fuels, the over 360 million SUVs on the roads worldwide last year led to combustion-related CO2 emissions of 1 billion tons, a rise of around 100 million tons from 2022.

The preference for SUVs is also evident in electric vehicle sales.

While just a mere 5% of the SUVs on the streets are electric, their presence in the sector is on the rise. Across the globe, about 45% of electric cars belong to the SUV category, with this figure climbing to 55% in developed economies. The larger size of these vehicles also presents challenges related to their increased utilization of critical minerals, given their larger battery requirements.

Several countries have raised parking fees for large, energy-intensive vehicles as part of efforts to curb pollution, safeguard the climate, and create more space for pedestrians.

Paris tripled parking fees for SUVs compared to smaller vehicles earlier this year. Authorities in other cities, such as Lyon in France and Tübingen in Germany, have likewise started factoring in vehicle weight when determining parking fees.


1. Why are SUVs considered significant contributors to global CO2 emissions?

SUVs are heavier, less fuel-efficient, and use more critical minerals compared to smaller cars, resulting in higher emissions per vehicle.


The growing popularity of SUVs presents challenges in terms of environmental impact and resource consumption. Measures such as increased parking fees for these vehicles are being implemented in various cities to address these issues.

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