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Is diesel a dirty word?

diesel, emissions, dirty

A few years ago, the diesel engine was king. It could do no wrong, perfect for hauliers, ideal for sales reps and less polluting around town.

Today, the government wants us to all move away from diesel, ideally to electric or hybrid-powered cars. Why? Due to the increasing air pollution caused by particulates, and the fact that these can be deadly.

News has also broken that some local authorities in London are looking to almost triple permit charges for diesel engine cars in their areas, while offering a reduction for electric vehicles. The Mayor of London has proposed a scrappage scheme, which was expected but failed to materialise in the recent budget, yet the government is looking at ways to deter people from buying diesel. It must only be a matter of time before duty is increased on the fuel itself?

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) released a report a while ago on the affects, or lack of, any diesel scrappage scheme on air pollution in the UK, showing a very small reduction, even if everyone trading them in went for an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV). In fact, it is industry that contributes most to air pollution, rather than the diesel vehicle.

Is this to say that diesel is not dangerous? Not really, yet with regulation the dangers of particulates are decreasing. However, the damage is done with the fuel’s reputation. Already, diesel sales are dropping, with petrol increasing its market share of new registrations in small margins and AFVs taking significant, if not large, strides. Companies such as VW have announced they are to move focus away from diesel engines (surprise surprise) highlighting just how far its reputation has fallen. Once the fuel of choice for anyone, today, its perhaps long-haul drivers that will remain committed to diesel – for now.