More and more people are driving sports utility vehicles nowadays. In the United Kingdom, SUV drivers average around 7,400 miles of driving per year. As SUVs are high-fuel consumption vehicles; they contribute carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which are almost 10% higher than the average from all non-SUV vehicles. This means millions of diesel and petrol SUVs in the UK may emit carbon dioxide totalling approximately 8.7 million tonnes.
Despite the dangerous emissions, SUVs remain popular among many drivers, particularly those who are looking for a spacious and stylish vehicle. Nevertheless, there are drivers who know that switching to electric vehicles (EV) is safer for the environment. In a poll conducted among 2,000 adult car owners, six to 10 acknowledge the environmental advantages of using EVs but only a little over 50% have ever thought of switching to electric.
A representative from EDF, one of the largest energy providers in the UK, noted that car owners who value style when choosing vehicles may not know that EVs come in stylish designs and offer comfort, too, just like their favorite SUVs. The biggest advantage of driving an electric vehicle, though, is its reduced carbon footprint, which is good for the environment. As such, EVs are environmentally functional without compromising style, comfort, convenience, and safety.
Drivers who are reluctant to switch to using electric vehicles specify EV purchase costs, limited charge points access, home charging point installation costs, and charging time (that can be quite lengthy) as reasons they might not make the switch.
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What makes CO2 dangerous?
Carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to the greenhouse effect, a process that traps the heat of the sun within the atmosphere, keeping the planet warm. While the natural process is safe, once there is an excess in greenhouse gases emissions (courtesy of humans), it becomes dangerous. The latter phenomenon is called global warming.
Global warming results in climate change, and climate change causes multiple problems, the most common of which are wildfires, heat waves, severe droughts, and tropical storms.
An increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can also cause problems in crops as they can lose protein, zinc, iron, and other nutrients.
Excess levels of CO2 are also dangerous for humans as it can lead to respiratory illnesses as an effect of exposure to air pollution.
Greenhouse gases are emitted through agriculture, forestry, land use, residential and commercial industries, electricity production, and transportation. Among the sources listed, transportation is the biggest contributor of CO2 emissions.
Carbon dioxide emissions are always in the spotlight in the UK, where the Dieselgate scandal has had quite an impact on drivers and authorities. The scandal that dates back to September 2015 involved German automaker Volkswagen and US environmental authorities. In a couple of months, though, the emissions scandal reached the UK and Europe, with car owners approaching legal teams for help in claiming their compensation for being lied to by the manufacturers. The defeat devices used in VW and other affected vehicles emitted pollutants that included CO2.
The defeat devices were allegedly intentionally installed in millions of cars, including Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Fiat, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Ford, Nissan, Suzuki, Vauxhall, Jeep, Peugeot, Jeep, Citroën, and Renault diesel models. The cheat software manipulated emissions results during lab tests, reflecting safe levels of nitrogen oxides and CO2 emitted. In real-world driving conditions, though, the NOx and CO2 emissions were way above the safe and legal level.
Although the car manufacturers have been facing court cases one after the other since the onset of the scandal, many of them have paid fines and claims, and quite a number have also recalled their affected vehicles so these could be installed with upgraded hardware. For example, even if Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly denied the allegations thrown at them, a Mercedes emissions recall program has been implemented.
The class-action lawsuits and recalls aren’t stopping anytime soon, but some manufacturers have taken additional action in ensuring that their vehicles are now safer for both the environment and human health.
Authorities and environmental groups advocating for a switch to electric vehicles are working towards achieving net zero emissions to prevent another emissions scandal.
What to do iIf you have an affected SUV
If you have a diesel SUV but cannot yet afford to make the switch to EVs, the best thing you can do for now is to determine if your vehicle is affected by the emissions scandal. You can do this by visiting your manufacturer’s website. For example, Mercedes-Benz has a page dedicated entirely to the Mercedes diesel claims. You just have to know the details of your vehicle, especially its model and year of manufacture.
Once you’ve verified that your vehicle is affected by the scandal, find an experienced team of emissions experts that can help you work through your compensation claim. The team at Emissions.co.uk will help you every step of the way, so you should consider them as your first option if you want to increase your chances of a successful claim.