The Loophole That Made Cars in America So Big

Few trends have been worse for the environment than the dramatic growth of the SUV market in recent decades.

Between 2010 and 2020, 65 million new SUVs hit the roads in America. Collectively those cars will pump about 4.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the next few decades, more planet-warming pollution than most nations have emitted throughout their entire history.

But the dominance of SUVs on American roads is a relatively new phenomenon. In 1980, SUVs made up less than 2% of new car production in America; last year, that number was closer to 50%.