Added emissions from SUVs cancelled out emissions reductions by electrical automobiles in 2020, in line with a brand new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Emissions from SUVs elevated final 12 months, whilst general carbon emissions decreased as a result of influence of the coronavirus pandemic. Total emissions fell 7%—the most important drop in historical past, in line with the report. However SUV emissions elevated by 0.5%, the report mentioned.

Oil consumption from SUVs additionally elevated, reaching 5.5 million barrels per day globally, which cancelled out declines in driving because of coronavirus-related lockdowns, in line with the report. SUVs additionally cancelled out reductions in oil demand introduced on by elevated electric-car gross sales.

Total automobile gross sales fell 14% in 2020, however EV gross sales elevated 50%, to about 850,000 models globally, the report famous. That simply wasn’t sufficient to counteract the momentum of SUVs, which have been already outselling sedans in the USA earlier than the pandemic.


Annual change in energy-related CO2 emissions, 2011-2020 (from IEA report)

Annual change in energy-related CO2 emissions, 2011-2020 (from IEA report)

Electrical automobiles helped cut back international oil demand by round 40,000 barrels a day, however that was cancelled out by development in SUV market share, to 42% of the new-car market, the report mentioned.

Most fashionable SUVs aren’t the stereotypical gasoline guzzlers of outdated, however they’re nonetheless typically much less environment friendly than standard automobiles. On common, SUVs devour 20% extra vitality than a medium-sized automobile for a similar distance traveled, in line with the IEA. A 2019 report named SUVs the second-largest contribution to carbon-dioxide emissions will increase within the earlier decade, forward of heavy business, trucking, aviation, and delivery.

This phenomenon has already been seen in Europe, the place elevated SUV gross sales outpaced development of EV gross sales between 2016 and 2019, making the fleet dirtier regardless of stricter emissions requirements ramping up at the moment.

The IEA report did ship some excellent news, nevertheless. The reported improve in gross sales reveals that the pandemic hasn’t stunted EV development practically as a lot as anticipated.