Pity SUV drivers, fast being priced out of their badges of contempt for the planet | Catherine Bennett

IIf you’re in tears – an MP struggling to make ends meet, a parent forced to choose between skiing or private school, a second home owner feeling unwelcome, an Etonian locked out of Oxbridge. Tears are flowing for people and for those who are stranded in the city’s wood stoves, which are no longer usable. – Be prepared to tell them the latest problem for a wealthy but struggling minority: Range Rover owners can’t afford car insurance.

mainly, daily mailThe organization has prioritized their plight, but recently a series of heartbreaking incidents have come to light. One owner reportedly gave up on having to insure his £100,000 Range Rover Sport for £14,000 and instead “bought himself a new Mercedes GLE”. The insurance company claims the vehicle is too susceptible to theft, but its only fault was in purchasing an obese status symbol coveted by many industrious criminals, not just Prince Andrew. It seems that the suffering of one owner is not heard.

Another member of the luxury SUV community said she could no longer drive her children to school because the premium for her £56,000 Range Rover Velar had risen to £890 a month, adding that the carmaker was “destructing lives”. “It’s happening,” he accused. as a result, she said Postshe will never buy a Range Rover “again”.

I think that’s the beginning. It’s probably too early to tell whether a combination of car thieves, lease agreements, and inadequate security will be able to achieve the results of years of campaigning and shaming SUVs’ massive emissions. In other words, the general perception is that SUVs have no value at all. However, the BBC reported hopeful that the scale of the theft “could have a knock-on effect on demand for cars, particularly luxury models”.

So far, the SUV market has not been noticeably affected, thanks to the best efforts of environmentalists and, most recently, a group calling themselves the Tire Fire Extinguishers, who remove tires at night. Even recent reports that the volume of air in urban areas continues to grow to the point that it reaches sidewalks and neighborhood parking lots is met with a complacent attitude that must seem extremely unfair to large airlines. You may think that it is. At least a passenger who made an intrusion into an area that was not intended.

Given the wealth of evidence regarding their harm, including electric versions, huge urban SUVs can only be a symbol of contempt for others. It is a deliberate choice by consumers to advertise, along with a generous contribution to carbon emissions and serious injury. Not interested in sharing space at all.

The theft of SUVs on an alarming scale is, of course, not the ideal way to deal with the popularity of the least desirable vehicle. According to the International Energy Agency, SUVs accounted for about 46% of global sales in 2022. It would clearly be more effective to raise the prices of SUVs in the UK, as they do in France, not only through insurance but also through public measures to deter buyers. Even before the City of Paris announced parking deterrence costs, the government had introduced environmental messages in car advertising. SUVs were subject to additional weight tax. It was designed to reflect the environmental impact of vehicles, which consume more energy, cause more damage, and harm more people.

To this, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo plans to add pricing that would triple the parking fees for SUVs. She calls pricing “a form of social justice.”

I don’t mean to downplay this unenviable outcome, but in a country where government inaction and relentless product promotion, along with the royal family’s willingness to serve as the advertising arm of Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover, achieving Hidalgo’s reforms is even more difficult. It might be difficult. Her one of the members, Zara Tindall, is her ambassador for that precious brand. Others are doing similar work for free, from the late Queen to Prince Harry, who was last seen using the vehicle for a mercy dash.

And the more this royal driver is revered, the more advertising that pretends that SUVs are truly sociopathic or that they have a unique sympathy for the landscape is wrong, no matter what environmentalists say. , it becomes difficult to believe. Why would William, rhino savior and founder of the Earthshot Prize (an award that recognizes “solutions to the world’s biggest environmental problems”), send his family to a new range if this support contradicts everything else? Would I drive the Rover around London? he once said What about addressing the climate crisis?

Either way, it must be one of the few lifestyle choices the Cambridges share with Katie Price and the Beckhams.

When it comes to SUVs in general, visible royal patronage can only help offset recent marketing stumbles. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken the recent decision to ban two advertisements for Toyota’s Hilux SUV (‘Born to Roam’). The newspaper said the advertisements “accepted the use of automobiles in a manner that ignored their impact on nature and the environment, and were not prepared with a sense of social responsibility.” Toyota claimed that the Hilux’s mountainous backdrop, which represents “a new level of sophistication, technology and style”, proves its capabilities in industries such as agriculture and forestry.

Toyota used to advertise at bus stops until the ASA banned it. Three-quarters of SUVs are registered to urban residents. The Land Rover Defender is used extensively on the BBC. traitors But I may have re-established my confidence beyond reproach when it comes to the relationship between wild landscapes and 2.4-tonne luxury cars. “Fans will be blown away by the sexy four-wheel drive vehicle.” of Sun report.

News of Hidalgo’s Paris measures came during the week global warming numbers A new record has been set, reiterating that the UK’s position on SUV pollution remains appallingly licentious.

“Downsizing SUVs could lead to significant public health benefits.” One study calculated“In addition to the benefits of electrification.”

The slow progress of electric vehicles is due to, among other things, rowan atkinson calling them “soulless” guardian, highly visible SUV enthusiasts are probably to blame as well. And unlike Mr. Bean, some of them are certainly familiar.

Katherine Bennett is a columnist for the Observer