The Reason of the Rapid Expansion of the SUV Market

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that the sport utility vehicle (SUV), which is popular worldwide, is a factor in the increase in CO2 emissions. Despite the spread of high-efficiency hybrid cars and electric vehicles, the demand for SUVs will soar, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Laura Cozzi, chief energy modeler for IEA on the 16th, SUV’s share of global CO2 emissions growth between 2010 and 2018 was second only to electricity generation. The analysis will be published in the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2019 report, which will be issued on November 13th.

The global auto market has recently stalled due to the recession. Sales of internal combustion engine cars fell by 8% in 2018 to 8 million units, the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis. Sales in the first half of 2019 also declined by 14% in China and 10% in India, continuing the trend.

On the other hand, as environmental issues draw attention, automakers plan to produce more than 350 models, mainly small and medium-sized electric vehicles, by 2025. The annual sales of EVs by the top 20 companies will increase more than 10 times from 2 million units in 2018 to 20 million units by 2030.

Reductions in sales of passenger cars, which consume about a quarter of the world’s oil demand, and increased supply of electric vehicles were expected to reduce CO2 emissions. In practice, however, automotive oil consumption is still on the rise, and CO2 emissions are also increasing. The reason is the rapid expansion of the SUV market.

Over the last decade, consumers around the world have started looking for SUVs. Last year, SUVs accounted for nearly 40% of auto sales. That’s more than doubled from 18 percent in 2010.

The number of SUVs in operation also increased sharply, increasing from 35 million in 2010 to 200 million in 2018. In the United States, 48 ​​percent of all vehicles sold last year were SUVs, and in China, sales are on the rise as a symbol of wealth and status. In developing countries, including India, demand is growing as the economy grows.

On average, SUVs consume about 25% more energy than midsize cars. Since 2010, small cars have saved more than 2 million barrels of oil per day, and electric cars replaced about 100,000 barrels a day. This is because the oil used by SUVs has increased by 3.3 million barrels per day.

The IEA forecasts that by 2040, the daily oil demand of automobiles will increase by 2 million barrels more if consumers continue to favor SUVs. This is equivalent to petroleum savings of 150 million electric vehicles.

According to the IEA statistics, the largest growth factor for CO2 emissions in 2010-2018 was 1.4 billion tons of energy production. The second was SUV with 542 million tons, while the third heavy industry increased 357 million tons. Except for SUVs, CO2 emissions from passenger cars decreased by 75 million tons.

“The CO2 emissions are related to the average size of the vehicle,” IEA said, focusing on electric vehicles and hybrid gasoline engines. Larger and heavier cars, such as SUVs, are more difficult to use electricity, and development of green, highly efficient vehicles can be delayed even as demand increases. The development of new SUVs with improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions will affect the automotive industry’s prospects and future changes in oil demand and carbon emissions.

Automotive industry officials say that electric cars are not a panacea. In order to reduce CO2 emissions by spreading electric vehicles, “decarbonization” of power generation systems must be combined.

There are currently about 6 million electric cars in operation around the world. However, it is difficult to assert that electric vehicles do not necessarily emit CO2. About half of the electric cars are in China, and China produces two-thirds of its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

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The Reason of the Rapid Expansion of the SUV Market

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