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4 surprising stats on how SUVs are used

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In 2021, light-duty trucks, including SUVs, accounted for 71% of new vehicle sales in Quebec. This figure is even more shocking when you consider that they are responsible for 50% of the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Quebec between 2015 and 2019. A new report by Équiterre, conducted by CIRANO, which looks at how SUV owners use their vehicles, confirms that many Quebecers do not need all the features of SUVs that are touted in ads to influence purchasing decisions.

Needs vs. reality, the gap is clear

People use many reasons to justify an SUV: the family is growing, they go camping in the summer, they need more trunk space for a renovation project. But depending on the actual use of the vehicle, is an SUV really necessary, or is it more of a perception? Our new report highlights how Quebec motorists actually use their SUVs. The stats may surprise you:

  • 74% of SUV owners never use it to tow something.

  • 38% of owners use the entire cargo space of their SUV at least once a week.

  • 39% of owners use the majority of the seats in their SUV at least once a week.

  • 15% of trips made by SUV owners are for outdoor escapades, vacations and travel.

What type of vehicle fits your actual needs?

Car advertising is very effective in influencing us

Clearly, automotive advertising has succeeded in convincing many people that they need an SUV when they don't necessarily, especially since SUVs don’t align with what the report says are the most important purchase criteria: price, safety and the cost of gas.

It’s well documented that light-duty trucks, including SUVs, are more expensive to purchase, more dangerous to other road users, and are typically less fuel efficient than smaller vehicles.

  • An SUV costs on average $10,000 more to purchase than a car.

  • SUVs are twice as likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians than cars.

  • SUV collisions are 10% more frequent and 28% more deadly for other drivers than car collisions.

  • SUVs use 20% more gas on average than cars.

We must prevent automobile advertising from influencing our perceived needs

Sign the petition

Buying a vehicle is a very permanent solution that attempts to address changing needs. It’s important to take the time to evaluate our needs, when and how often they arise, and what options or solutions are available to us. The sharing economy, for example, can provide many solutions and many benefits!

Before considering the purchase of a vehicle, regardless of the type, Équiterre encourages you to evaluate your real needs.