Brian Caulfield, a Terrain-AI member and Trinity College Dublin professor in the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering, has said that ever-increasing sales of SUVs are cancelling out the emissions benefits of EVs, contributing to transport emissions rising just when they should be going down.

He called for SUVs “to be phased out of the market”. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) interim energy balance report for 2022 showed that despite annual energy-related emissions in Ireland’s carbon budgets falling by 1.9% in 2022, the pace is too slow to meet 2030 targets. Furthermore, there were “significant increases in demand for road diesel, motor petrol and jet fuel” largely due to a post-Covid rebound. Prof Caulfield said the transport emissions increase is a worry, considering that huge fuel price increases last year should have led to a drop as people had a good reason to drive less. He suggested additional taxes and parking restrictions as some of the measures that could be used to disincentive SUV popularity among motorists.

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