‘Unstoppable spread of sport utility vehicles hampering progress on environment’

What should environmentally aware people have uppermost in their minds when considering replacing their cars, asks reader Alan Carn, of Whyke Road, Chichester.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 1:57 pm

Progress in the design, safety, efficiency and reduced pollution from cars over the last few decades has been astonishing. What a pity therefore that this progress is being undermined by the unstoppable spread of the SUV.

A casual observer might notice that these obese vehicles are regularly being used by just the driver, which begs the question; why does a single person need to drag in excess of two tons of metal around with them just to make a simple journey?

This excess weight requires a more powerful engine to move it around, requiring more fuel, leading to greater quantities of exhaust pollution, not to mention causing more road surface wear and damage, and taking up an unnecessary amount of road and parking space.

Particulates from tyre wear and road degradation are regularly overlooked in vehicle pollution figures, but heavier vehicles, including electric cars , generate far more of these pollutants than smaller ones.

Most advertisements for these monsters seem to be directed at people’s pride and vanity. Would it perhaps be more honest to make potential buyers aware of the environmental damage which these vehicles cause?

If our Government is going to take environmental concerns seriously, it could discourage this worrying trend through punitive taxes.