All Suvs Emit as Much CO2 as the 6th Most Polluted Country in the World!


Greenpeace criticizes Hyundai-Kia, Volkswagen, and Toyota for the significant sales of their conventional SUVs, arguing that these negate the climate gains from their electric vehicles. Erin Choi from Greenpeace Asia expresses concern, stating that major global automakers intensify the climate crisis by heavily investing in SUV production.

In its report released on November 29, 2023, just before COP28, Greenpeace highlights the substantial increase in the share of SUVs—large and polluting “sport utility vehicles”—in the total sales of leading global automakers from 2013 to 2022.

The global circulation of SUVs has risen from under 50 million units in 2010 to 330 million in 2022, exceeding 1.3 times the total number of registered vehicles in the European Union, according to the report.

SUVs: The 6th Largest Polluter on Earth!

In 2021, all SUVs emitted over 900 million tons of CO2 on roads, ranking as the sixth-largest polluting entity globally. The CO2 emissions from the use of SUVs by Hyundai-Kia, Volkswagen, and Toyota (excluding manufacturing emissions) totaled 298 million tons in 2022, while the CO2 emissions avoided by their electric vehicles were only 9 million tons, as per Greenpeace’s calculations.

This study focused on on-road CO2 emissions, responsible for “70 to 80%” of the total, rather than considering the entire vehicle lifecycle, including the production phase. Greenpeace emphasizes that, in most cases, electric vehicles generate fewer emissions over their entire lifecycle than conventional vehicles.

Elevated Carbon Footprint of Electric SUVs

Greenpeace calls for an end to “greenwashing” in the automotive industry, urging companies like Hyundai, Volkswagen, and others to reduce the size of their SUV fleets while simultaneously increasing electrified sales. The organization also expresses concern about the growing trend of electric SUVs, noting their higher carbon footprint compared to other electric cars, mainly due to increased steel requirements in their manufacturing.