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Press release  •  2 min

Report shows how Quebecers actually use their SUVs

Montreal, March 20, 2023 - A new report by the Centre interuniversitaire de recherches en analyse des organisations (CIRANO) on behalf of Équiterre shines a light on how Quebec SUV owners make use of their vehicles. While the auto industry invests heavily to boost sales of SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles), the report demonstrates a profound disconnect between the needs of the population and what is being promoted and offered.

The report was based on an online questionnaire conducted in July 2022 with a representative sample of 1,020 Quebecers who own a vehicle.

Highlights of the study

  • 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.

  • Price, safety and cost of gas are the most important criteria for purchasing a vehicle*.

*It is 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.

"The report's findings are clear. In Quebec, the auto industry has succeeded in convincing many people that an oversized vehicle is necessary, even if it doesn’t align with their real needs. As a result, SUVs are being purchased en masse, with major impacts on climate, road safety and household finances."
- Andréanne Brazeau, Climate Policy Analyst at Équiterre

"The report shows that the majority of SUV owners use them mainly to get to work, school or to the grocery store - trips that are often quite short and that don’t require the SUV features that car manufacturers push with advertising," adds the expert.

It should be noted that light-duty trucks, including SUVs, accounted for 71% of new vehicle sales in Quebec in 2021. They are responsible for 50% of the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Quebec between 2015 and 2019.

The impact of SUVs

  • 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.

About the campaign

The "Assess what your true needs are” campaign is coordinated by Équiterre with the financial support of the Government of Canada. A webpage has been created for this campaign and an online tool is available to compare the impacts of different vehicles.

Several partners are collaborating on the initiative, including Accès Transports viables, the Automobile Protection Association, CAA-Québec, the Canada Research Chair in Human Mobility, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Quebec Road Safety Education Foundation, HEC Montréal, Option Consommateurs and Piétons Québec.

Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty, which we now call Montreal and Quebec City. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have protected their territories since immemorial times and have used their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters. We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them. Read more »

For more information:

Communications Officer, Media Relations (514) 605-2000
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