6 Reasons SUVs Pollute More Than Cars (Explained)

Pollution is a severe growing danger in our world & emissions from the cars we drive are a significant contributor.

We have found ways to reduce pollution from the vehicles we drive, but SUVs are quickly eliminating the progress we have made.

They pollute more than any other type of vehicle, & I’m going to tell you why.

The International Energy Association (IEA) has stated that despite the pandemic, SUVs’ carbon emissions continued to climb in 2020 when all other vehicles’ carbon emissions fell in the same time frame.

Suvs produce more climate-damaging emissions than much larger vehicles, including semi-trucks and planes.

Even so, these carbon-belching giants continue to increase in sales worldwide, making them one of the best-selling cars globally, although, for the following reasons, they poison our world and health.

1. There Are Uncountable Numbers On The Road.

People around the world love the SUV. As a result, millions worldwide are being driven at any given time.

That number is increasing rapidly.

Every single one of those SUVs is throwing out greenhouse gases at an alarming rate.

People like them because:

  • They are roomy. People are growing larger. Waistlines are expanding. They choose the SUV for comfort.
  • The SUV is a status symbol, especially in less wealthy communities where lower-income earners achieve higher-income earning power. An SUV announces that you have moved into a higher income bracket.
  • The SUV has become the new “soccer mom van or family car” since there is room for everything and everyone.
  • People like being the biggest car on the road and how they can see everything better when sitting up higher than most cars.

Additionally, sales are encouraged at the dealers because they bring a much higher profit.

The IEA says that in 2020 sports utility vehicles were 42% of recorded new car sales!

So, by basic math, more SUVs on the road cause more accumulation of dangerous emissions, poisoning the air.

2. They Leave a Long Footprint On The Environment.

SUVs cause more pollution than other cars long before a new owner takes the keys. Their large size means more materials are required to make them.

So more plastic & metal have to be produced for construction.

Then all these materials that were made into parts need to be taken to the production facilities.

It all boils down to more machines being run to produce the materials & parts. Then trucks, ships, or planes have to transport these. Afterward, the completed products need transporting to businesses for sale. Much of this process involves oil & gas in large quantities, which in turn creates a massive carbon footprint for the SUV.

All this before the SUV is even driven daily. Billions of greenhouse gases are hitting the environment in this process.

3. The SUV is Not Aerodynamic

SUVs are big, bulky & wide. Most cars cut through the wind with their aerodynamic design. The Boxy design is one of the things that characterises SUVs.

Aerodynamics works with the wind instead of against it.

The SUV instead tries to plow through the wind because of the shape of the SUV. This causes the vehicle to drag instead of glide.

What is the result?

The drag slows you down a bit, and without even thinking, you’ll hit the gas to speed up.

More gas used converts into more SUV pollution in the atmosphere.

4. Their Fuel Efficiency is the Worst.

Bigger cars use bigger engines, especially sports utility vehicles. SUVs tend to have bigger gas tanks and also use more gas than regular cars due to their bigger size and heavier construction.l

An SUV takes a lot of gas & goes less further on a tank. With some newer SUV models, your gas mileage may be slightly better.

However, the fact remains they weigh so much, no matter the model, that the engine won’t run efficiently or as long as they are driving.

The SUV was never designed to be a family car or for everyday use to begin with. It’s a sports utility vehicle initially created for the military and going off-road. So it has been designed to be extremely powerful from the start. Fuel economy wasn’t precisely a consideration at the time.

We need to consider fuel efficiency as vital to our society.

It’s not just about saving money on a tank of gas or getting further down the road before having to buy more. It took 200 billion years for the oil reserves to form.

In 200 years, we’ve used half of them.

Sports Utility Vehicles pollute as they create a greater demand for a resource. that is almost gone and non-renewable.

For every gallon of gasoline an SUV burns, 26 pounds of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Fuel inefficiency leads to damaging the environment and our breathable air.

5. SUVs Are The Top Emissions Producers

  • According to the IEA, SUVs produce more emissions than any car.
  • 2021 saw SUVs raise energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by a whopping 120 metric tons in one year alone.

They are one of the top reasons for carbon dioxide emissions growing for the last ten years!

One-third of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States is produced by transportation. SUVs cause a massive part of that.

Plus, carbon dioxide is not the only emission from fossil fuels like gas and oil. The more SUVs use fossil fuels, the more they need at an alarming rate.

It creates an endless cycle that releases more in emissions than carbon dioxide.

These are from:


  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Methane

Air Conditioner

  • hydrofluorocarbon

These types of emissions are smaller but still do damage to global warming.

The smaller ones are essential components that create smog in some cities, with this issue becoming normal every day for some. But, unfortunately, it’s a dangerous normal.

In any case, with any of these pollutants, SUVs create more than any other passenger car due to their massive size.

As the carbon dioxide & other pollutants caused by SUVs around the world is released, it traps heat in the earth and raises temperatures. This causes global warming that is causing extreme weather routinely.

It’s also causing crucial changes to wildlife habitats and, for human beings, depleting food sources where food now refuses to grow. Lush lands become desserts. Polar caps melt.

Of course, other types of vehicles also pollute, but SUVs and the reasons for adding the most pollution are vitally important.

6. SUVs are useless after a crash

Not every aspect of pollution is about emissions. For example, SUVs have a very high rollover rate.

Since they are heavy and not centered low, they tend to roll over before crashing in an accident. A vehicle that rolls tend to be a total loss. It’s the same for an SUV.

Of course, the main concern is the safety of the people involved, but eventually, that totaled SUV will end up in a junkyard or a landfill.

Once there, components such as glass and plastic could take decades to decay. Some materials never do.

It’s a different kind of pollution, yes.

As we move to forms of renewable energy, at one point, another reason these sports utility vehicles pollute is that they will fill up the earth with those that have crashed.

There is some hope. Some SUVs are a hybrid version now, plus some electric models are being created. So there is a way to go, but now that drivers are starting to hear the message, they seem willing to compromise with a safer & better version of the SUV. Also, recent SUV models last longer.

These have fewer emissions or none at all with the electric version.

Still, in spite of all these reasons, people still love sports utility vehicles, and more “gas guzzlers” are sold every day.

It’s safe to say time will tell on the SUV. If enough changes are made, for example, making it more aerodynamic, working more on the hybrid models, or convincing people the electronic version is better for themselves and the planet.

Scientists, & experts on weather, global warming & the environment have all mentioned sports utility vehicles, how they pollute & why they pollute.

The reasons they pollute are dangerous but changeable. We don’t need any more reasons but instead solutions.


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