Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) were the second-largest contributor to growth in greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 to 2018, according to new analysis by the International Energy Agency.

In emitting over 700 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide over the past decade, SUVs were second only to the power sector as the biggest emitter, and ahead of industries such as iron and steel, cement, trucks and aviation.

The analysis says that SUVs have accounted for 60 per cent of the increase in global car fleet since 2010.

There are now more than 200 million SUVs on the road, representing more than 40% of all cars sold in the world. In 2010, the comparable figure was 18%.

According to IEA, passenger cars account for nearly a quarter of global oil demand and are a major source of emissions and air pollution. An SUV consumes about 25 per cent more energy than a medium-sized car on average and, being bigger and heavier, is harder to electrify.

Greater demand for SUVs around the world, including Europe and China, was one factor that worsened the overall fuel economy of cars, negating efficiency improvements in smaller models, which saved over two million barrels of oil a day, and electric cars, which displaced about 100,000 barrels of oil a day, according to the IEA.