Swiss parliamentarian Isabelle Pasquier-Eichenberger from the Green Party has asked the Federal Council to ban the import of vehicles weighing 2 tonnes or more from 2022.
Heavy SUVs are becoming more and more popular in Switzerland. In 2019, around 130,000 were sold compared to 50,000 in 2010. They now make up 40% of new car purchases in Switzerland.
Urban cantons have the highest concentrations of these vehicles. In Zug, 66% of new registrations are SUVs, according to Pasquier-Eichenberger.
For Pasquier-Eichenberger it is all about weight. SUVs pollute more because they need more powerful engines to move the extra weight. They consume a quarter more energy than a mid-sized car. She argues that electric SUVs should be banned too because they require more electricity to move people than lighter vehicles.
According to the international energy agency, the shift to heavier vehicles is the second biggest driver of higher emissions, ahead of aviation.
Pasquier-Eichenberger is quick to admit that her demand is unlikely to succeed. However, it could trigger reflexion.
In 2008, the youth league of the Green Party launched a referendum to ban 4X4s and collected enough signatures to proceed. In the end the initiative was withdrawn in 2011 in return for assurances from the Federal Council that it would consider its demands.