The promotion of large polluting vehicles must be regulated, says Équiterre
Even if vehicles are becoming more energy efficient, the gains made in energy efficiency are canceled out by the purchase of ever larger vehicles.
Given the enthusiasm of Quebecers for vehicles of bigger and bigger, the environmental group Équiterre continues its crusade to limit, or even ban, the advertising of SUVs and gas-powered trucks, as is the case in some European countries.
Between 1990 and 2019, sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks increased by 284%, while car sales fell by 29% in Quebec, according to a recent study by the Chaire de gestion du secteur de the energy of HEC Montreal.
This same study reported that even if vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient, the gains made in fuel efficiency are canceled out by this trend to buy ever bigger, taller and stronger vehicles.
Andréanne Brazeau, mobility analyst at Équiterre, calls for the advertising of sport utility vehicles and light gasoline trucks to be regulated if we want to reduce greenhouse gases in the transport sector.
It's a matter of consistency, because we can't set ourselves the goal of electrifying our vehicles by 2035 and continuing to promote them [trucks and gasoline SUVs]. It's 12 years from now. A vehicle is precisely on the road for approximately that many years, indicated the analyst at Équiterre during a conference entitled How to reconcile climate commitments and automobile advertising?, presented the last week by the Montreal Regional Council for the Environment.
She suggests restricting the advertising practices of the automotive industry in the image of regulations which was put in place to limit the promotion of tobacco products.
Advertisements lifestyle, where someone plays tennis with a cigarette in their hand, were banned before other tobacco advertisements were banned, Ms. Brazeau recalled, suggesting progressive regulation for the industry automobile as was the case for that of tobacco.
We could ban ads in which vehicles drive in places where it doesn't make sense and where, in fact, it's illegal to drive, she added, referring to ads where large vehicles drive in streams or fields destroying nature.
According Équiterre, the popularity of SUVs does not help the fight against climate change.
According to an analysis by Équiterre, 68% of advertisements use nature or its properties to sell light trucks.
Andréanne Brazeau believes that SUV advertisements and light trucks hinder informed consumer decision-making, in particular because they ignore fuel consumption or CO2 emissions.
Energy efficiency is sometimes put forward while there is very rarely the real performance, therefore the fuel consumption, which is displayed.
In France, car manufacturers are obliged to mention the fuel consumption of vehicles on each advertisement and since last spring, all advertising for a motor vehicle must include a message encouraging less polluting journeys.< /p>
It is essential that a vehicle advertisement be accompanied by one of these messages: For short journeys, favor walking or cycling, Consider carpooling or On a daily basis, take public transport.
The City of Amsterdam has gone one step further by simply banning petrol car advertisements on buses, in the metro or on signs and screens that belong to the municipality. Other municipal governments in the Netherlands have followed suit.
There are very strong emotional and identity arguments associated with the ownership of a vehicle and more particularly an SUV, according to Marc Desnoyers, director of consulting services and strategist of the agency Upperkut advertisement.
He presented the conclusions of various focus group type research carried out by his agency with SUV owners, during the conference organized by the Montreal Regional Council for the Environment.
In the focus groups, people tell us things like “having an SUV commands respect”, “it looks professional”, “I've come to this in my life”. or even "everyone around me has one". This type of vehicle is therefore really something that participates in the identity of a person, it is on the order of emotion, so it is always something more difficult to undo than more rational arguments, the advertiser said, referring to the difficulty of convincing people to opt for smaller vehicles, which consume less fuel and which contribute less to traffic congestion .
People also feel that having a much taller and much heavier vehicle is safer, so it's pegged to the concept of family. They believe their children are safer in a large vehicle, the strategist added.
The SUV is often considered safer for families.
The notion of freedom has was also often mentioned in focus groups organized by his advertising agency.
We know it, in the pubs, we see it a lot, this idea of nature. The SUV gives the freedom not only to go into nature, but also to carry your 12 golf bags, your skis and everything you need to be happy in life, illustrated Marc Desnoyers.< /p>
The SUV market share was 69% in Quebec in 2019, according to the HEC Montreal Chair in Energy Sector Management, and long winters are not strangers to the desire of Quebecers to own a large vehicle.
“Nordicity is strongly tied to our identity as a people and the automakers have understood this. People will say “in the winter there are big snow banks, so I need a higher vehicle, I need my SUV to get out of the bench of snow on its own, without calling a tow truck”. This is something that people will tell us spontaneously and it is part of the strategies of the manufacturers' advertising campaigns. »
— Marc Desnoyers, advertising agency Upperkut
The advertiser also pointed out that trying to make consumers feel guilty about the use of their vehicle does not work not.
In this context, convincing Quebecers to buy smaller vehicles that consume less energy is complicated, but not impossible, according to Mr. Desnoyers, whose agency participated in the creation of an Équiterre advertising campaign. It relies on humor to try to convince sport utility vehicle owners and those who want to acquire one to think about their real needs and the impacts of their choice.
Together with this advertising campaign, Équiterre launched a petition last November asking the federal government to commit to banning the advertising of internal combustion vehicles by 2025.< /p>