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CO2 emissions up due to larger vehicles on the roads

In a recent investigative report published by Transport & Environment, the authors have studied the reasons for why CO2 emissions haven’t decreased despite ever more efficient car engines on the roads. Since 1990, CO2 emissions have paradoxically increased by 10% due to traffic pollution in the European Union.

The report concludes that the improved environmental effects of the more efficient car engines have been offset by the increase in car size. The cars are on average, bigger, wider and weigh more while also being more powerful. The average weight of a car sold in Europe in 2016 was 1,268 kilos compared to 1,392 kilos in 2016, a 10% increase in 15 years.

This increase in weight and size reflects the popular trend of the SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle). Larger and wider than the classical vehicles suitable for five persons, they weight about 250 kilos more and are also less aerodynamic. The growth in the SUVs popularity have had a clear environmental cost according to the authors. The laws of Physics state that the higher the mass of an object, the more energy is needed to move it. In other words more fuel is needed and therefore more pollution.

In Belgium, 57,000 SUVs were registered in the first quarter of 2018 alone. This represents 34% of all the newly registered vehicles so far this year.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times