Big car, little car: the sustainability implications of growing vehicle sizes

Download pdf


8 November, 2023


The rise of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has been a defining feature of the car market in the UK as it has across the world.  

SUVs pose environmental challenges; petrol and diesel models use more energy than their smaller counterparts, keeping greenhouse gas emissions high. Due to their size, battery electric models create unnecessary demand for critical raw materials and generate higher emissions during manufacturing. 

Washington DC, Norway and France, have started to take action to slow down the SUV trend, introducing weight taxes on vehicle purchases.  

In this briefing, we make the case for the UK to follow suit, with a new weight tax encouraging people to only buy the vehicle size they need, rather than going for outsized vehicles which have a bigger environmental impact. 


Johann Beckford, policy adviser, Green Alliance

We use cookies, just to track visits to our website, we store no personal details.

Accept Cookies

What are cookies?