City drivers ‘should think twice’ before buying SUVs

Abbianca Makoni
·2-min read
<p>New research confirms most SUVs are bought by urban drivers.</p> (Getty Images)

New research confirms most SUVs are bought by urban drivers.

(Getty Images)

Drivers in crowded cities should think twice before buying a big SUV, a transport policy organisation has said.

Steve Gooding, from the RAC Foundation, which explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads, said: “We should all choose the right vehicle for the right trip to cut the size of our carbon footprint.

“It is right to question if suburban drivers need a car capable of ploughing over rivers, across fields and up steep hills just to pop to the shops,” he added.

His comments come as research confirms most SUVs are bought by urban drivers.

The study by think-tank, New Weather Institute, shows that large SUVs - often known as Chelsea tractors - are most prevalent in places such as Chelsea.

Other boroughs with a high intake for the big cars include Hammersmith and Fulham, and Westminster.

One in three new private cars bought in these areas is a large SUV - while the provinces also top the league for popularity of most polluting cars by UK sales volume, all of which are SUVs.

The think-tank also said that advertisers have misled consumers by pushing messages around SUVs such as 'get back to nature' and 'help the environment'.

Andrew Simms, from the New Weather Institute, said: “One of advertising’s biggest manipulations has persuaded urban families that it’s perfectly ‘normal’ to go shopping in a two-tonne truck.

“But the human health and climate damage done by SUVs is huge and needs to be undone. Just as tobacco advertising was successfully ended, it’s time to stop promoting polluting SUV’s.”

Although some, including the UK Citizens’ Assembly on climate change have supported restrictions on the cars, motoring organisations have said the analysis was too simplistic.

Edmund King, from the AA, a British motoring association told the BBC that talk of banning the advertising of SUVs is a “naive approach.”

He added: “Some of the cleanest cars come in the SUV shape but are all electric such as the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X or Hyundai Kona.”

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