By Lonnie Shekhtman

Fueled by cheaper gasoline, European countries are now buying SUVs at record rates.

For the first time ever, sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, were the best-selling cars in countries including Portugal, Spain, and Denmark last year, growing by 24 percent across Europe from the previous year. The gas guzzlers made up 22.5 percent of all European car sales in 2015, according to auto industry research firm JATO Dynamics, up from 19.8 percent the year before…

…But despite a trend that some may think is a setback for hard-won global gains in the overall fuel efficiency of vehicles, there are slivers of progress. Most SUVs today are more fuel efficient than the SUVs of five years ago, for example.

Plus, says Sam Ori, executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, while, yes, there are more SUVs on US roads, there are also more electric vehicles, or EVs. And not just in the US; China surpassed the US and Europe in EV sales last year, says Ori.

“I’m increasingly very optimistic about global EV trends,” he says in a phone interview with The Christian Science Monitor.

Since EVs hit the market in 2011, four of their five best months for sales have been during this current oil price slump, which started in 2014…

Continue reading at The Christian Science Monitor…

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Transportation
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Transportation
Mobility is central to economic activity. Yet, a lack of fuel diversity and continued demand growth have made the transportation industry a major contributor to global pollution and carbon emissions....