Petrol or diesel, you decide!

You’ve probably heard a lot in the news recently about diesel cars potentially being banned from the UK by 2040, but what does this mean for you and is it really going to happen? To make things even more confusing, some major cities have said that by 2030 they will ban both diesel and petrol cars! So we’ve done some digging to understand what the current situation is and how it’s going to affect you in the coming months and years.

How many cars?

One of the biggest concerns is the number of vehicles on the road at any one time around world emitting pollution. In 2016 the world vehicle population increased by an estimated 4.6%, taking the global vehicle population to 1.32 billion. To put this into context, this figure is nearly double the volume 20 years prior when the number of vehicles on the road stood at 670 million. Why have the number of cars on the road increased so much? Well, as the world population increases, so does the number of households. However, people’s behaviours are changing as they are using less public transport and purchasing more cars. The department for transport reveals that in five out of nine English regions, there is now at least one car for every two people!

Why are diesel cars so bad?

Some shocking research from the International Council on Clean Transportation has shown that modern diesel cars produce 10 times more toxic air pollution that trucks and buses! WOW! The biggest concern is the increase in emissions of nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide pollution is responsible for tens of thousands of early deaths across Europe, with much of the pollution being produced by diesel cars. On average diesel cars emit six times more pollution than allowed in lab testing. I’m sure we all remember the recent German car company scandal, say no more! Well since then, car tests are due to be toughened, some argue this however does not go far enough.

What is the diesel car scrappage scheme?

You may have heard of similar diesel scrappage schemes that have been successful in countries such as France. French consumers were given €10,000 to get rid of their old diesel car and buy an electric car. This scheme saw 100,000 citizens take the plunge and switch to electric cars. So could a similar scheme soon be on its way to the UK? Well, potentially. It’s thought that a pilot scheme could soon take place in London before being rolled out to the whole of the UK. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2017 Budget announcement on the 22nd March as there is speculation plans could be announced then!

Are there any incentives to swap diesel for electric cars?

As car manufactures become frustrated with the government not announcing the previously mentioned scrappage scheme, they are offering incentives of their own to purchase electric or hybrid cars. If you’re interested in finding out more, the best thing to do is head into any of the major car manufacturers and speak to a representative.

Is it worth still buying diesel cars?

It is expected that in the autumn budget on November 22nd diesel drivers may face higher taxes and increased fuel duty, although nothing is confirmed as of yet. Unsurprisingly, sales of diesel cars have decreased significantly in the last six months, with people being left confused by reports in the media. According to BuyaCar survey, three in five diesel drivers plan to change their car for a petrol, hybrid or electric model. So what should you do? In most cases, if you are buying a new car to avoid uncertainty and worry, don’t buy a diesel. However, if you’re buying a larger car, such as SUV or people carrier, diesel maybe your only option. Our advice, if you’re not sure, don’t do anything. Everything should hopefully become clearer in the next few months.

What is the London £10 T charge?

In a battle to clear the air we breathe, there has been a new £10 T charge introduced for older diesel vehicles driving in Central London. Drivers of the most polluting vehicles could end up paying up to £21.50 to drive through Central London. The question that many people are asking is, how do you know whether your vehicle will fall into this bracket? Pre-Euro 4 vehicles, essentially any registered before 2006 will be charged. However, Transport for London suggest that anyone who has a vehicle registered before 2008 should check whether they are liable for the charge. This charge covers all of central London to the south of Kings Cross, to the east of Hyde Park, west of the Tower of London and north of Elephant and Castle.

Apart from charges, what else is being done?

So the government have made 225 million pounds available to help local authorities accelerate their plan of action. These plans need to be submitted by March 2018 and the main areas of focus are:

  • Retrofitting – this is a government buzzword at the moment and essentially means modifying busses to reduce emissions. Busses are responsible for a lot of pollution due to the quantity on the road and their large diesel engines
  • Road layouts – re-routing traffic from known pollution hot spots could make an immediate difference in certain areas
  • Speed humps – speed bumps cause people to speed up and slow down, which increases emissions. So one possible solution is to reduce speed humps in certain areas to keep the traffic flow consistent
  • Traffic lights – reprogramming traffic lights sequences around the worst effected junctions is also something local authorities may consider
  • Bans – whilst this is perhaps the most controversial solution, it may be decided that we follow suit of cities such as Paris and ban the worst offending vehicles at certain times of the day, or completely from the roads

Is this the beginning of the end for diesel vehicles?

We can safely say, not yet! diesel is and will continue to be an important fuel for larger vehicles, whilst also financially being the most sensible option for private car buyers. Let’s be realistic, we’ve got another 23 years until the proposed ban on both diesel and petrol cars come to fruition, so there’s plenty of time to think about it all.

It’s safe to say all the media attention on emission charges will have an effect on the diesel car market, with people being unsure about the real risks purchasing a diesel car holds. This will apply for both second hand and new car purchases.

Diesel will remain an important fuel for larger vehicles such as buses and lorries until another solution is sourced. So mass panic is not required just yet! Don’t let the headlines scare you too much, we’ve got a few years to get our heads round whether we need to stick or twist with our diesel cars. 


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