Almost one in every two new cars in the UK is diesel 0

Almost-one-in-every-two-new-cars-in-the-UK-is-dieseAlmost one in every two new cars in the UK is diesel, so why is the government trying to get rid of them? Opinion piece by CEO and founder of Servicing Stop, Oly Richmond.

The UK’s automotive industry has spoken and it’s in favour of diesel. The SMMT has warned against moves to limit the use of diesel vehicles through colossal levies and has claimed diesel technology has become much more efficient and clean. There are numbers to prove it too.

In fact, diesel technology has almost entirely eliminated emissions of particulate matter with 99% of soot particulates captured by special filters – all diesel cars made after 2011 have this tech and around half of all diesel vehicles on the roads contain the filter. In less scientific terms, diesel cars emit on average 20% less CO2 than petrol cars and have saved 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere since 2002.

This revelation follows on from a government report published this time last year which claimed diesel cars emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in on-road driving than the legal limit used in official tests. The government have launched a series of schemes since that encourage drivers to give up diesel and opt for something cleaner. As most scrappage schemes do, this has resulted in another hefty expense for car owners.

Sadiq Khan announced the latest charge on diesel cars driving into the city in the new ultra low emission zone. Diesel cars older than four years in 2019 will pay £12.50 alongside petrol vehicles which are more than 13 years old. This is on top of the congestion charge making driving diesel far more costly and much less affordable in the ongoing attempt to cut air pollution.

But it seems diesel is the lesser of the two fuel evils and it would be millions of motorists that are affected by this change.

The SMMT recorded that 1.3 million new diesel cars were registered last year alone, an increase of 0.6% on the year before and it seems the trend is continuing into 2017 with more business and consumer diesel cars being registered in March than in any other month in history.

Based on our own customer base in Servicing Stop between March 2016 and February 2017 46% of drivers own a diesel car and 54% own a petrol car. This means almost one in every two of our customers owns a diesel car – are we going to make life a lot more difficult for half of all drivers? I think not.

More than 99% of the UK’s 4.4 million commercial vehicles are diesel but let’s put that in perspective. Taxis, trucks carrying essential goods and emergency services. Without these vehicles, we would not have one of our most popular modes of transport, food, drink, medicine or life saving transportation to hospitals. Of course these services could swap over to petrol – but at a price.

The numbers have been crunched and it seems diesel isn’t so bad afterall; so instead of charging motorists more money on top of tax, increasing insurance premiums and more, I think we should just let bygones be bygones and enjoy the ride.


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