In recent years, more Americans have purchased SUVs and crossovers rather than sedans. 2021 saw the number of global sedans on the roads rise by over 35 million, increasing emissions by 120 million tonnes. Sedans and wagons have fallen to only 31% of the market from over 50% in 2013. In the 1970s, market share of sedans was at 80%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
There are many reasons for this trend of decreasing sedan usage. Some people have decided to switch to an SUV or pickup truck because they need more space for their families and/or their belongings. Others have decided to buy a hybrid vehicle that's more fuel efficient than a sedan.
The benefits of buying an SUV include them being more comfortable to get in and out of for seniors, having increased storage space, and being easier to load and unload. In many cases, sedans are seen as impractical for the everyday tasks that people need to do. And, with the new comfortability and technologies available in many crossover vehicles, average automobile owners can have the perks of an SUV with the size of a sedan.
For example, the Ford EcoSport is close in size and dimensions to a small sedan, which makes it easier to drive and park than its larger counterparts. While horsepower is lower, resulting in slower acceleration, those wanting an SUV without the bulk can easily transition to a smaller, crossover style.
But what does this new trend mean for sustainability?
The world is becoming a more environmentally conscious place. Yet, more people are choosing to purchase SUVs and crossovers over their more efficient sedan companions. With fewer sedans on the road, emissions haven't decreased as much as they could have. Although the amount of CO2 emissions from SUVs has impacted the overall decrease in emissions by vehicles, the CO2 emission rate for all new vehicles fell by 7 g/mi to 349 g/mi in 2020, reported the EPA.
The future of SUVs
SUVs are very versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be operated for off-road driving, as family cars, or as work vehicles. Judging by the trends outlined above, the future of SUVs is going to be bright. As original manufacturers continue to evolve and introduce technology that will have fairer fuel efficiency, safer systems, and better design than ever before, we will likely see an even bigger shift. This runs even truer as we see more hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) being produced within the SUV/cross-over sectors of automobile manufacturing.
Consumer Reports has outlined new model vehicles on the menu for 2024 and beyond, which include a much higher SUV and truck availability, many of which are EV or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). These contain the midsize SUV Chevrolet Blazer EV and Silverado EV pickup truck, the GMC Sierra EV, and the Indie EV. These are only some of what's expected to meet the market in the next few years and become trailblazers in the industry.
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