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

Emissions from SUVs elevated final yr, at the same time as total carbon emissions decreased because of the impression of the coronavirus pandemic. General emissions fell 7%—the most important drop in historical past, based on 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 as a consequence of coronavirus-related lockdowns, based on the report. SUVs additionally cancelled out reductions in oil demand introduced on by elevated electric-car gross sales.

General automotive gross sales fell 14% in 2020, however EV gross sales elevated 50%, to about 850,000 items globally, the report famous. That simply wasn’t sufficient to counteract the momentum of SUVs, which have been already outselling sedans in america 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 vehicles helped scale back international oil demand by round 40,000 barrels a day, however that was cancelled out by progress in SUV market share, to 42% of the new-car market, the report mentioned.

Most fashionable SUVs aren’t the stereotypical fuel guzzlers of previous, however they’re nonetheless usually much less environment friendly than typical vehicles. On common, SUVs eat 20% extra vitality than a medium-sized automotive for a similar distance traveled, based on the IEA. A 2019 report named SUVs the second-largest contribution to carbon-dioxide emissions will increase within the earlier decade, forward of heavy trade, trucking, aviation, and delivery.

This phenomenon has already been seen in Europe, the place elevated SUV gross sales outpaced progress 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 enhance in gross sales exhibits that the pandemic hasn’t stunted EV progress almost as a lot as anticipated.