Jan 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

SUV emissions rose during the pandemic, analysis finds

Data: IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A remarkable new finding from the International Energy Agency: While energy-related carbon emissions fell steeply last year, emissions from SUVs actually rose slightly (by an estimated 0.5%).

Why it matters: The analysis underscores the rising prominence of SUVs in the global vehicle market. It's a trend that makes cutting emissions from transportation harder because bigger vehicles generally consume more fuel.

The big picture: "Despite the effects of the pandemic on overall car use, SUVs consumed more oil last year than they did in 2019," IEA said, noting that SUVs used 5.5 million barrels of oil per day last year.

"Remarkably, we estimate that the increase in the overall SUV fleet in 2020 cancelled out the declines in oil consumption by SUVs that resulted from Covid-related lockdown measures," the analysis adds.

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