By Javier Blas

As OPEC ministers gather in Vienna, they may notice more sport utility vehicles on the streets of the Austrian capital than on previous visits.

Last year, SUVs outsold any other type of passenger vehicle in Europe for the first time, according to auto industry consultants JATO Dynamics. The trend has continued in 2016, with demand for SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson and the Renault Kadjar accounting for a quarter of sales in the biggest European countries.

Europe is a mirror of what’s happening across the world. From China to the U.S., drivers are buying bigger vehicles, while sales of fuel-efficient hybrids struggle…

…“Fuel-economy improvement is really flatlining,” said Sam Ori, executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. “The gains completely stopped right at the same time that oil prices started to decline.”

Today in the U.S., light trucks, vans and SUVs account for 60 percent of total vehicle sales — a level only reached briefly in 2005, when Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, averaged $55 a barrel. It’s now around $50. The International Energy Agency said in May that less-efficient vehicles, including four-wheel drives, “remain very much in vogue, a consequence of persistently lower retail pump prices…”

Continue reading at Bloomberg…

Continue reading

 

Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
Definition
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
Definition
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
Definition
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....
Fuel Economy Standards
Definition
Fuel Economy Standards
Fuel economy standards are the United States’ cornerstone transportation policy aimed at reducing both oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. EPIC research is exploring whether these standards are structured optimally...