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Call for fleets to reconsider role of SUVs amid rising emissions

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In the past few years, SUV popularity has been rising, becoming a far more common sight on Europe’s streets.

The global market share of new car sales taken by SUVs has risen from 17% in 2010 to 39% according to the latest manufacturer data.

However, a new report from the International Energy Agency suggests that this surge in demand for SUVs – ranging from smaller lifestyle ‘soft-roaders’ to full-size 4x4s – is a major contributing factor to rising automotive CO2 emissions.

The report warns that SUV demand is second only to power generation as an increasing source of CO2 emissions.

UK-based fleet software and management company FleetCheck currently works with more than 800 businesses across the UK, with a total fleet size of around 80,000 vehicles.

Peter Golding, (pictured) FleetCheck managing director, said the statistics should prompt businesses to check the real-world emissions of vehicles.

He added: “The statistics in this new report are pretty shocking. Businesses should check, as far as possible, the real-world emissions performance of not just fleet SUVs that they operate but any which are used through affinity leasing and grey fleet.

“There appears to be remarkably little awareness that SUVs are heavier and less aerodynamic than cars, so tend to have worse emissions; the degree to which some are contributing to CO2 emissions is genuinely shocking.

“Businesses need to decide, at a corporate level, whether it is right that vehicles of this type should have a place as company transport and look at whether their policies need to be amended.”

Golding warned that a potential error made by fleets is to buy plug-in hybrid SUVs in the belief that they will solve emissions issues.

He said most PHEVs only achieve emission reductions in specific circumstances, when they are mainly used for short trips and kept fully charged.

“For higher mileage fleet drivers, they are generally poor choices,” he said.