Diesels Don’t Deserve Demonisation

Diesel is being demonised by some, so it’s no wonder there’s some confusion about whether or not to go for a diesel car. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.


On the surface, it seems that British drivers could be steering away from cars powered by diesel. For instance, research from AA Cars claims that the craving for diesel amongst Brits has lessened. In 2016, it reckoned less than two in ten (18 per cent) of drivers in the UK planned to purchase a diesel as their next ride. That was a drop from just shy of a quarter (23 per cent) in 2014.


Ecological worries, the improved line-up of electric and hybrid cars and an explosion of public charging points, has seen the hunger for unconventionally-powered cars increase twofold (from six per cent to 12 per cent) over the same time. What’s more, the number of motorists unsure about what kind of fuel to go for increased to 19 percent in 2016, from 13 per cent in 2014. This perhaps reflects the decline in popularity of diesel, and potentially signifies that drivers are contemplating a more ecologically acceptable choice.


The AA-Populus survey, which polled 17,979 AA members on their car buying objectives, shows that an additional 3.6 million electric cars, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles could be on our roads in a few years’ time. Indeed, according to Simon Benson, of AA Cars, issues around air quality, nitrogen dioxide emissions and whether the government will take a carrot or stick approach to diesel cars has all helped to create a change in the attitudes of vehicle buyers.


Benson said: “Zero or low emission cars are increasingly looking like a viable alternative to traditional fuel types as they become more affordable and easier to use on longer journeys. The government’s plans to commit £35 million to help install new charge points and offer new grants to develop the charging network will help to reinforce this and, ultimately, calm fears about drivers getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.”


The AA’s Simon Benson, added: “It’s no coincidence that this changing attitude to fuel types is accompanying a change in used car buying habits. The internet is empowering car buyers by arming them with a wealth of information, on what is available and for what price before they even reach the forecourt – whether that’s lower emissions or just a more affordable car.”


But – and this is a big ‘but’ – regardless of the findings by the AA, UK car buyers registered nearly a quarter of a million diesel powered cars in Britain this March. This flies in the face of the AA Cars poll, because this figure is an all-time high.


The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) believes diesel plays a vital role in helping to improve air quality in urban areas. Indeed, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t steer away from diesel.

Here are 10 Reasons to Choose Diesel:

1. Cleaner Than Petrols

Diesel plays a significant role in lowering CO2 emissions, which in turn is challenging climate change. Diesel cars typically emit 20% less CO2 than petrol cars. Since 2002, diesels have prevented 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 from being discharged into the air.

2. High Performers

Nearly one in two new cars registered in the United Kingdom is a diesel, with consumers appreciating their low fuel consumption and high performance.

3. Lower Fuel Bills

On average, diesel cars consume 20 per cent less fuel than equivalent petrol cars, and with diesel drivers traditionally travelling 60 per cent more miles, lower bills at the pumps are vital.

4. Vital For Commercial Vehicles

96 per cent of Britain’s 4.8 million commercial vehicles are propelled by diesel and they carry people, important commodities and our emergency services more than 61 billion miles each year. Without these diesel driven vehicles, life would definitely be harder.

5. Less Emissions Than Before

Advanced diesel tech has almost eradicated emissions of particulate material, with 99 per cent of these soot particulates caught by filters fixed to diesel motors since 2011. Around fifty per cent of diesel vehicles now have a diesel particulate filter (DPF) fitted.

 6. Fitted With Top Technology

The newest Euro 6/VI vehicles are the cleanest ever known – and they are like chalk and cheese compared with older diesels. In addition to filters, they also include ingenious technology that transforms most the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the engine into innocuous water and nitrogen before it gets to the exhaust.

 7. Radically Reduced NOx

Euro 6/VI tech works well. Real-world assessments using the London 159 bus route show a 95 per cent reduction in NOx compared with earlier generation Euro V buses. Indeed, if every outdated bus running in London were exchanged for a Euro VI variant, overall NOx releases in the capital would drop by 7.5 per cent.

8. Ultra Low Emission Zone Friendly

Up-to-date Euro 6 cars are categorised as low emission for the purposes of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone. This is expected to kick in in two years’ time – and when that happens, drivers of these motors will be free to drive into the zone without cost.

9.  Gas Heating Pollutes More

Contrary to current reports, diesels are not the chief cause of urban NOx. In the capital, gas heating of offices and homes is the largest offender, accountable for 16 per cent. Meanwhile, road transport, as a whole, is answerable for nearly fifty per cent of London’s NOx. Diesel cars yield just 11 per cent, though concentrations will differ at various times subject to congestion. Keeping traffic on the go is the solution to keeping emissions down.

10. Even Cleaner Future Ahead

In September 2017, a fresh EU emissions testing system will commence. This will comprise on-road analysis to replicate the varied conditions found in real-world driving, such as congestion, speed, driving style and road conditions. This will be world’s most rigorous emissions standard ever known.