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Future of diesel looks bleak as Government considers new ‘tax treatment’

Published 10 March 2017

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said that the Government is exploring a new ‘tax treatment’ for diesel cars.

The statement is the strongest indication yet that the Government will introduce a new diesel tax, with changes likely to be announced at the Autumn Budget on 5 December 2017. 

Fuel duty on petrol and diesel has been frozen for seven years - at 57.9p-per-litre – but the Government’s stance on a new ‘tax treatment’ has sparked fears that diesels will face a new tax before the end of the year.

“The Chancellor has fired a warning shot to diesel drivers,” said RAC chief engineer David Bizley. “This uncertainty is bound to be of concern to private and business motorists alike, who will be wanting urgent clarity on just what the Government plan to do.”

It’s unclear what the ‘tax treatment’ would represent, but a new diesel scrappage scheme and/or an increase in diesel fuel duty are two ideas that have been speculated.

Diesel car buyers are already facing higher VED, with the new road tax system set to add hundreds of pounds to the running costs of Britain’s most-popular diesels. However, with diesel emissions linked to 9500 annual deaths in London each year, the Government is facing increasing calls to do more to improve air quality in Britain's cities and encourage drivers to buy cleaner vehicles.

At this stage, it’s unclear what the ‘tax treatment’ would represent, but a new diesel scrappage scheme and/or an increase in diesel fuel duty are two ideas that have been speculated in recent weeks.

The UK’s automotive industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has warned against the anti-diesel agenda because of the negative implications that it could have on reducing CO2 emissions, but healthcare professionals argue that the move away from diesel is the only answer.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The automotive industry has some of the most challenging CO2 reduction targets...for this positive trend to continue, modern low emission diesels and AFVs such as plug-ins, hydrogen and hybrids must be encouraged with long term incentives.”

Dr Penny Woods of the British Lung Foundation said: “It’s a tragedy that on the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, we continue see pollution limits broken in many parts of the capital, urgent action is needed to clean up London’s air.

“Air pollution contributes to 9500 early deaths in London every year. It worsens existing lung conditions, increases the risk of getting lung cancer and impairs child lung development.”

Comments

Garry Bayford    on 10 March 2017

So we've had years of promoting diesel as a fuel, to the point where some car ranges are only available as diesels, and now that there's a nice broad tax base the Government can happily milk diesel owners and blame it all on the health lobby. Most of the health issues are around inner city areas that already, or could, have other methods of collecting additional taxes to try and reduce diesel use. Why not increase those rather than hitting everyone who's been persuaded to buy diesels by government policy?

Douglas Cant    on 10 March 2017

Are buses and goods vehicles included.

Idunnoatall    on 10 March 2017

Having bought my first ever diesel last year, I'm somewhat dismayed by all this angst being directed at the fuel. Has any body carried out any sustained tests to compare the output of CO2, Nox and particulate matter from a brand new diesel vehicle with all the bits and pieces installed that cuts back on the nasties mentioned above and compared it against the lorries, taxis, buses and older diesels to get some idea of who is responsible for being the worst polluter?.

Chris James    on 10 March 2017

Having bought my first ever diesel last year, I'm somewhat dismayed by all this angst being directed at the fuel. Has any body carried out any sustained tests to compare the output of CO2, Nox and particulate matter from a brand new diesel vehicle with all the bits and pieces installed that cuts back on the nasties mentioned above and compared it against the lorries, taxis, buses and older diesels to get some idea of who is responsible for being the worst polluter?.

I wouldn't worry too much, despite what the anti diesel massive are saying. Most modern diesel cars with DPF's and more recently Adblue based SCR systems are as clean as an angel's far*. When I read about companies like Bentley choosing to release their first ever diesel model, during a period where, at the same time, we are being warned about the demise of the diesel engine being on the horizon, I don't buy all of this end of the diesel and taxed out of existence crap and scaremongering currently being spread around in the media. Bentley aren't the only company to be releasing brand new models with diesel engines either, the majority of manufacturers are and those R&D costs to produce more efficient, Euro compliant diesel engines and the many bolt on anti-pollution systems they require, take time to claw back through car sales numbers and if sales numbers of diesel versions are indeed actually dropping, it doesn't make a lot of business sense to still be bringing out as many as two of three different diesel options for each model of vehicle if there isn't enough time and a very good chance of recovering not only these initial design costs but also making a profit.

In fact Diesel still remains the only variant in some manufacturers' models if you want 4WD or a decent Auto box and more importantly torque! - so pretty much exactly the same situation as seven years ago then. In my search to consider a petrol replacement for my aging diesel, I recently test drove a Seat Ateca 1.4TSI DSG and also a Pug 3008 1.2 130 (They don't seem to offer the smaller 2008 in the 130 bhp version, and I couldn't find a 1.4TSI DSG Skoda Yeti at all either, so some manufacturers are still seriously restricting their petrol variants compared to the number of diesel options, despite petrol now supposedly being the engine of choice!!). Neither of the two SUV's I drove, performed anything like a diesel, despite supposedly being promoted as being an alternative choice for many SUV owning diesel refugees or those who do low annual mileages. Non of these engines have anywhere near as much torque as even a modest sized diesel engine, and that lack of low down torque does make a noticable difference to how the car drives, and this is where a lot of diesel owners are in for serious disappointment, to the point where I seriously doubt many diesel stalwarts will be changing to petrol anytime soon, even if their choice is taxed heavier in the future.

At the moment i'm still struggling to find a petrol replacement for a mundane 10 year old diesel saloon, which despite being ten years after this car was built, I still can't seem to accurately directly replace the 0-60 of 7.9 seconds, a decent torque figure and a reliable mpg of 55mpg, from any of these modern petrol engines.

Edited by Chris James on 11/03/2017 at 00:55

Chris James    on 10 March 2017

Diesels have never been the same, or at least they seemed unable to maintain their historical reliability since they let tree huggers design them, instead of engineers. So we'd better get used to driving around in wheezing asthmatic 1.0 - 1.4 Turbo petrols which have about half of the torque of the diesel engines they replace, and in the case of the New 1.4TSI DSG Ateca which I test drove recently, enough time to write your autobiography in the horrible acceleration lag which appears when you pull out of a junction, if this type of modern engine is the closest replacement to a diesel range, then god help diesel owners everywhere. In relation to alternatives such as Electric Cars, no idea how that is supposed to work when the national grid is already (according to endless whining from the G'ment) running at full capacity and more coal fired power stations are about to offline and close, and there are no new power stations even being built to take over the lost output from these earmarked for closure, let alone covering the additional demand posed by pure EV. The situation is already so bad that its got to the point where we are are told via the media to expect blackouts every winter!. I wonder what several million additional high demand appliances, in the form of Electric cars being plugged in, will do to that already crippling national demand?, obviously nobody has really thought that through or the burden on the existing power distribution infrastructure and the billions needed to update it. No doubt when the extra demand has reached the point where the grid overloads and power cuts become the norm, they will start taxing Electric cars, in order to deter their use, and so the circle continues.

Edited by Chris James on 11/03/2017 at 00:03

Garry Bayford    on 10 March 2017

Douglas Cant, I'm not entirely sure what your question is about but does the Low Emissions Zone for London and the fact that some London buses are switching to hybrid answer your question? I've also seen a fully electric van, I think it was DHL, so some people are trying to help the air quality in London. I see no reason why some of these measures can't be rolled out to other major cities to try and reduce emissions. I'm quite happy paying taxes if they are fairly targeted but I don't think a blanket tax increase for diesel is an appropriate method of improving air quality in specific areas. It'll raise a fair amount of revenue though so I see why the Government are considering it.

deanm98    on 11 March 2017

No mention of the many people who live in remote areas for whom a diesel vehicle is an obvious choice, and where air pollution is not an issue. On top of that, we have to burden our rural landscape with the ever increasing numbers of wind turbines to power these EVs amongst other things. If there is to be additional taxes on certain vehicles, then surely this should be related to postcode rather than a blanket tax to target the problem areas.

Richard Borrie    on 12 March 2017

If the government, having previously encouraged us to buy diesel cars, now wants us to by petrol cars, why not just reduce the tax on petrol?

Or is this actually nothing to do with reducing pollution and everything to do with increasing the tax take from motorists?

   on 12 March 2017

I own a one year old BMW Diesel Euro 2016 compliant car and I can drive into London after October 2017 without having to pay a penalty because my car is also ULEZ compliant. As it happens, I wouldn't drive my car into a city anyway because stop-start driving isn't good for Diesel cars. Not good for any car for that matter!

I live in a rural part of Surrey where SUVs, mainly Diesel, are popular. I chose my car very carefully being aware at the time of the clouds gathering over Diesel cars. I drive through muddy country lanes and in the Winter often snowy ones, so 4 wheel drive is a benefit. In addition, I do quite high mileage so Diesel was the answer!

Euro 5 specifications on Diesel emissions were 180 mg/kl. Euro 6, which applies to all Diesel vehicles registered after September 2015, reduced this to 80mg. And, don't forget, Petrol cars emit NO2 as well. The Euro 6 limit on those is 60mg which is low. My diesel emits 50mg, even lower! If the Government had addressed this issue when it came into power they wouldn't be under the cosh from Brussels. Yes, I agree that old diesels, petrol engines too, are unacceptably polluting and should be phased out assisted by, the Goverment has hinted, a scrappage scheme. I really wonder if the Government can afford to do this?

The brown rice and hairy armpit brigade, encouraged by the press, demonise Diesel whether an old or modern low polluting vehicle and harp on that all vehicles should be electric. Many people now worry that their Diesel car's value will plummet!

I've driven an electric car and it was brilliant but could only take me 80 to 90 miles on a single charge. Even with a range extender consisting of a small petrol engine it only added enough range to get me home. Also, If the Chancellor could save his skin and press a button converting all cars to electric tomorrow, it would cause a greenhouse catastrophe! Why? because 70% of all power stations are driven by fossil fuel. Coal and Gas!

Also, electric cars are expensive to buy and when the battery packs in after 5 or 6 years it costs and arm and a leg to replace. Around £6K I believe on a Beemer. No wonder electric cars have a low resale value. Also, and importantly, there are not sufficient charging points throughout the country. Fancy running out on the M!?!!

The solution to all this should be funded by the Goverment not the public who bought Diesel cars in good faith. It is the Government's responsibility not the motorist's. Think of the businesses who rely on their Diesel cars and vans. Also transport; buses, lorries, aeroplanes, trains and ships. There should be a concerted effort by manufacterures to produce cleaner diesels not get rid of them. Diesels are brilliant engines which will outlast petrol ones and they are far more fuel efficient.

Euro 6 engines, those on vehicles registered after September 2015, should be protected by European law from any kind of penalty. So, If the Chancellor does penalise all Diesels irrespective of age and emission, surely that would be breaking European law and be illegal? Also, the lorry and taxi drivers would undoubtedly blocade the streets, as they did some years back, if the Chancellor sticks on an excessive rise in Diesel fuel duty in the Autumn budget.

I really believe that diesels will be around for a long time albeit cleaner versions. I will continue to buy them until there is an alternative such as an electric car which has a range of 300 to 400 miles. This would have to be accompanied with an infrastructure whereby all motorway service stations and garages have as many charging points as petrol pumps.

Mark Wilson 14/03/2017

deepdale56    on 13 March 2017

"The solution to all this should be funded by the Goverment not the public."

Mark

Agree with the rest of your comments except above.

Where do you think the Government gets its money from?

Stephen Ward

Kelvin Turner    on 14 March 2017

Diesels are brilliant engines which will outlast petrol ones and they are far more fuel efficient.

Oh no they're not Mark! We previously had a Zafira 2.0 CDTi which was nothing but trouble with EGR issues and cost a fortune to get it through it's annual MoT. We now run a 57 reg 178,000 mile Vectra 1.8 petrol (owned from 29,000 miles) which sails through it's MoT and emissions test every year. You wouldn't find me in a diesel if you paid me. The previous Labour govt botched it by promoting diesel and the scrappage scheme in their 'Dash for diesel' campaign. CO2 is not the issue it's the NOX and particulates. Personally I think petrol/hybrid is the way to go at the moment until technology can provide the answer. By all means introduce a diesel scrappge scheme to rid us of the older polluting diesels (like our crappy Zafira ha ha). BTW my every day ride is a Yamaha FJR1300 motorcycle which is far better at negotiating the clogged roads, doesn't pollute like a diesel, doesn't break the road up like a Chelsea tractor, does 50 mpg, goes like stink and puts a smile on my face every time I get on it. If you want to get ahead, get a bike!

HighlanderUK    on 12 March 2017

its the older commercial vehicles they want to be screening properly and removing from the road, any over say 10-15yrs old with being tested for pollution, seen it time and time again with older commercial vehicles (and some cars), black smoke belching out sitting in traffic, and wondering how the hell it passed an MOT.

Euro5/6 diesel vehicles should be fine, as long as they are serviced and MOT'd correctly.

Air pollution in London is not just down to cars....all forms of transport play a part, and also other factors such as power stations, water treatment plants etc.

paul jenkins    on 13 March 2017

Electricity is not the answer when everyone charges their cars during the night the national grid will be burning fuel like crazy to keep up the demand

short5    on 13 March 2017

So we are now told diesel is more polluting than petrol......and as such,owners need to be punished for driving that which the goverment scientists told us to 10 to 15 years ago....why then,did petrol drivers still manage to buy their fuel 2 to 4 pence cheaper than diesel drivers...?Also ,are the scientists still to be believed this time...electric cars are not the answer,as we all know that the cost of producing them,and recharging daily,will pollute far more than a diesel or petrol car,over the cars lifetime...

dobble    on 13 March 2017

If you want clean air then Toyota's hybrid synergy drive is probably the best bet. It's more or less as economical as diesel but Nox and particulate emissions are virtually zero. It beats diesel on CO2 since petrol is a less carbon dense fuel. This system is proving far more reliable than diesel and will prove cheaper to run - you save on tax, fuel, depreciation and maintenance. Pure electric cars are even cleaner at the point of use but they are impractical for the majority of motorists.

JohnnyLyle    on 13 March 2017

If you want clean air then Toyota's hybrid synergy drive is probably the best bet. It's more or less as economical as diesel but Nox and particulate emissions are virtually zero. It beats diesel on CO2 since petrol is a less carbon dense fuel. This system is proving far more reliable than diesel and will prove cheaper to run - you save on tax, fuel, depreciation and maintenance. Pure electric cars are even cleaner at the point of use but they are impractical for the majority of motorists.

I don't know how you can say it is more reliable than diesel? My 2009 Mercedes CLS is a 3.0 and now has 125k on the clock. It's averaged 40+ MPG throughout this time, not once needed any oil between 15k service intervals and only ever used a few sets of brake pads and tyres. It has been totally faultless and for my simple mind, it would be far more stupid to drive this sort of car off the road when every other car I try is either gutless, lies about its real MPG or both.

DCmusic    on 13 March 2017

I own an older diesel MPV which we need for our larger family. It's diesel as petrol would be ridiculous on fuel and therefore more polluting. Because I can't get a new car does this mean I should be taxed? All this will do is attack those who cant afford a new car - again. Typical politicians. Deal with pollution as a whole and that means lower station s and aircraft.

Has anyone seen the footage of the mines with people digging out resources for batteries for "clean" electric cars? But then I suppose we forgot the pollution is a global issue and that people in the world where these mines are don't count..

Ubermik    on 13 March 2017

Considering these claims come from the same types of "think tanks" that have been trying to spread other myths like the wage gap and man made global warming and whom bought us such gems of "reality" like the WMDs and the yellow cake uranium lies I struggle to doubt anything spouted by the globalists and their puppets

For one, even IF the alleged deaths are related to pollution (in London) because of parking limitations and the cost of fuel when I was there almost every car people owned were small petrol cars with mostly only people who commute tending to favour the larger cars and diesels which wouldn't be contributing much to the pollution anyway as it would be the cars driving around in the town causing it not those who only pass through on their way out and back home

This is just another veneered excuse to squeeze more tax out of people so it can be sidelined into their chums bank accounts through government contracts and privatisations. Before they even considered any taxation they should have implemented passive measures like making all taxis and vehicles that are driving all day need to be small engine petrol engines or electric

But mainly petrol as the "oh so green" electric cars require the national grids output to be significantly higher 24/7 to accommodate the extra power drawn to charge them. Most of which is still generated with gas and coal meaning that "green" cars are anything but green

in fact there was a study done which showed that the carbon footprint of just manufacturing the batteries for a prius was more than the entire carbon footprint to manufacture an entire standard family saloon and drive it for 3 years. It also didn't factor I n the immense pollution caused by mining the materials for battery packs nor the carbon footprint of the electricity to charge it for that same 3 year period or making the car to put the batteries into

Most of this "green" nonsense is utter BS created just to persuade people that the excessive and economy crippling taxes the globalists want to introduce are valid. Which in most instances they most definitely are not

Unfortunately though our current choices in political parties is akin to choosing between having cancer or being a feminist. Neither of which is much better than the other

lancsman957    on 13 March 2017

So we've had years of promoting diesel as a fuel, to the point where some car ranges are only available as diesels, and now that there's a nice broad tax base the Government can happily milk diesel owners and blame it all on the health lobby. Most of the health issues are around inner city areas that already, or could, have other methods of collecting additional taxes to try and reduce diesel use. Why not increase those rather than hitting everyone who's been persuaded to buy diesels by government policy?

Well said Gary In the same boat myself been "encouraged"by GOVT figures and hype over diesels over the years so we bought two of the newest we could afford to use in rural areas because their simply isn't a viable alternative were we are..Now we are going to be penalised for were we live!Dont get me started on broadband either!!!

John Hansen    on 13 March 2017

I am again, like many of us, in need of independent information to make sense of this. I see people telling others off for sitting trying to stay warm on freezing days in vehicles with the engine going, people getting near violent with people for driving rather than taking the bus, and those who heralded and fully supported diesel vehicles in past years, now treating them like instruments of death.

Some nice sensible reasoning would help us all; Oh and by the way, very few of us live in London, although that fact will fall on many deaf ears.

If it is the compression of the ignitable mix that causes the particulates (as opposed to spark ignition), then LPG addition to the fuel or petrol plus low sec. value hybrid fuels will not help much. If it is the inability of the exhausts to filter the oxides/particulates, out that would be another issue.

Scrapping diesel vehicles would be very costly and would force petrol to take their place, or electric, which is still primarily made from burning coal. A gain, maybe ? but difficult to assess accurately.

I fear that a bit of government thinking may well be behind all this ?

The advantages that I can see with getting rid of diesel vehicles are as follows:

Scrappage would give Brexit Britain a massive boost in manufacturing, and also grab back our sadly lost monopoly of the related spares and maintenance infrastructure. It would be very valuable to the government.

The primary cause of pollution in cities being the stop start motoring and stunning acceleration between lights and speed cameras, would still prevail. Still allowing that behaviour would keep a lot of people happy too.

The traceability of vehicles is difficult in cases where old mechanical injector pumps are used. They run on any oil, and give no electronic signature when passing security stations. Getting rid of them would keep tax & security people happy.

North Sea oil lent itself very well to the production of diesel instead of petrol, those days have gone. Getting rid of diesel vehicles could be a cost saving to the UK from the importation of oil the point of view ?

I would be amazed if tis current demonisation of these vehicles did not have a few little wrinkles behind it, someone will be gaining out of such a massive change. Just like the predicted hollow gains that were made in the massive re-design of engines, when hard acceleration, poor maintenance and motorway driving was taken into account, the emissions were virtually no better than before. We could possible see a similar massive upheaval for little gain yet again ?

Honestjohn    on 13 March 2017

Later this week the World Health Organisation is apparently planning to put out a news release claiming that PMTs from direct injected petrol engines are far more harmful than NOx emissions. Well, that's what the editor of 'Diesel Car' magazine told me, anyway.

HJ

Chris James    on 16 March 2017

Instead of leading the "villagers" in a pitch fork waving torch lit witch hunt across the fields against diesel owners at every opportunity, maybe you should mention the research done by Kings College in London, and also Southampton University last year, both of which found that one of the biggest pollutants since 2011 in London was actually caused by the growth in popularity of Woodburning Stoves, yet nothing is being done about that and despite some levels of pollution during the Winter Months running close to those experienced in 1952 (which caused smog which killed 12,000 people) I don't hear any talk of banning them, and taxing the owners of those nasty needless pollutants which in a world consisting of 'A' rated boilers and AIr Source Heatpumps, serve no purpose whatsoever in areas served by natural gas or connected to the national grid. I wonder how many smug petrol car owners own them? I wonder how many have them lit right now, creating equal or more pollution than the Diesel car owners they now seem to be running out of town?, Will they be ripping their woodburners out at the weekend now this has been pointed out?. Yeah right!.

In addition to the other forms of pollution, doesn't the UK also have several plants which build Diesel engines?, how many hundreds or thousands of people do they employ between them, what is going to happen to those jobs when diesel cars stop selling, and what will happen to the construction industry with manufacturers like JCB making vehicles which run on red diesel?. I can't imagine for one minute that there are plans to make petrol engines or wind Electric Motors or make lithium batteries in those plants for Electric Cars and Hybrids in order to retain these and many other jobs, the UK isn't really that organised and the G'ment don't give a flying one and certainly nothing seems to be afoot to replace this area of manufacturing industry which will soon be in its death throes. Shame that the constant scaremongering and anti-diesel propaganda in the press about Diesel cars is effectively killing off yet another one of our few remaining manufacturing industries which in turn will no doubt kill off other industries and factories set up to serve them with raw materials. Hopefully the loss of many many thousands of jobs and the many employees and their families forced onto the breadline from the resulting domino effect in linked supply chain industries will be worth it!?.

Edited by Chris James on 16/03/2017 at 20:09

Stanb Sevento    on 13 March 2017

Have a look at this BBC report, it puts things into perspective.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38979754
Quote - Zoom into Central London, and just 5% of NOx comes from private diesel cars. That is dwarfed by 38% from gas for heating homes and offices.
Insulate buildings and only allow electric heating in city centres, clean air.
NOx is not a problem away from cities, its the high building that trap it. Elsewhere it react with methane and other gases and is 90% gone in 10 days, it dose not build up like CO2.
Theres a strong roomer the WHO is about to reveal that petrol cars are worse than diesels for NOx, so an about turn!!!

John Hansen    on 13 March 2017

Great Link, Thanks for that. This WHO report may help matters. We have been here before with food intake related to fat. Lots of advice came regarding which types of fat to use in cooking and what to spread on bread, but 90% of the issue was that we do need to eat fat and most fat is just .... FAT !

Eating some fish oil was probably the key all along !

I think we will see that taking fossil fuel, or a distilate of it, mixing it with benzine and additives to stop corrosion and varnishing, will cause "polution". As will heating offices and flying in planes.

Living nearer work, commuting less, working from home, insulating all buildings, wearing better clothing in cold weather, producing consumer items nearer the source materials etc. will stop pollution. However it gives people a bigger buzz to tell someone off for driving a particular type of car.

Sad Sad Sad.

peter hughes    on 13 March 2017

YES of course this is a London-centric movement
I recently went to london for the first time in years and walked from Euston to Covent Garden at 5pm
It was horrible
Maybe a few other cities suffer likewise but living semi rurally I can't help think this is a case of which(campaigner) shouts loudest???

There is no such thing as free lunch and all powered transport will have drawbacks
Using the latest loudly banged drum of rhetoric to stimulate tax etc is rather disingenuous but heh! that's modern politics for you
Bet because 2000 or so people are killed each year we don't ban cars period because extending the anti pollution lobby's logic forward that would sort everything and we can all ride bikes and be killed by buses and lorries instead running on coal gas

physicalperfection    on 13 March 2017

Most caravanners tow with diesels, so their numbers will start to dwindle (every cloud....., some will say). That will affect the caravan industry, jobs etc.
What petrol car can match a diesel for torque?

Virtually all farmers drive diesels. No doubt they will be exempt from additional taxes.

I suspect some will keep their diesels and buy an additional small car for local trips.

   on 13 March 2017

Mr Diesel would turn in his grave if he knew what was happening to his brilliant invention.

Aistwulf    on 13 March 2017

I can't believe the government would be so stupid as to introduce a special tax on all diesel cars. The old ones I can understand but surely not the Euro 6 compliant ones.
And increasing diesel duty would be fiercely opposed by the haulage industry, who would have to pass extra costs to customers, thereby increasing inflation. Diesel is already 2p a litre more expensive than petrol.

The only logical step would be a scrappage scheme for old diesel cars (how old would be a moot point) and possibly a tax on the worst polluting diesel vehicles.

Chris James    on 16 March 2017

Any scrappage scheme would have to pay out around £10k + for millions of people on full time wages that only pay £7.50 an hour, many of whom have to do a fairly large round trip to crappy factories in the few remaining industries in order to get that. I honestly think that some people (and Journalists) are so deluded that they really do think the entire UK gets London wages and that a percentage of people choose to drive an old rusting ten or fifteen year old diesel car through choice, rather than it being commensurate with their meagre income or a vehicle which has been handed down to them cheaply from other family members.. I'm lucky that if a diesel ban ever does come in, I can afford a very modest car on a PCP, but i begrudge having to do so and effectively take on what is a medium term debt and give up a perfectly usable 'all paid for' car with only 70k on it, just because some daft cobweb covered cretin in politics who has never even met mesays its so. I find it laughable that the very same halfwits from the same Jolly Boys club are planning on expanding airports and building even more runways right on the doorstep of the same City which they profess to be so concerned and precious over the pollution of, and at the same time there are other much larger, pressing pollution problems to deal with caused by Woodburning Stoves and yet despite being "worried for our health" absolutely nothing is being done to address that!.

Edited by Chris James on 16/03/2017 at 19:51

Aistwulf    on 13 March 2017

@dobble

"If you want clean air then Toyota's hybrid synergy drive is probably the best bet. It's more or less as economical as diesel but Nox and particulate emissions are virtually zero. It beats diesel on CO2 since petrol is a less carbon dense fuel. This system is proving far more reliable than diesel and will prove cheaper to run - you save on tax, fuel, depreciation and maintenance. Pure electric cars are even cleaner at the point of use but they are impractical for the majority of motorists."

I've driven a hybrid Auris and it's rubbish. It lacks decent torque and acceleration power - give me a diesel any day of the week.
Maybe the Hyundai Ionic is better, I don't know, but it's pretty expensive.

Longfell    on 13 March 2017

The fact that diesel is a dirty fuel in terms of particulate pollution and NO2 was always known. It was the big German automakers (BMW, VW) that lobbied the EU to go in the direction of diesel as the new clean, green route to lower CO2 on the premise that technology had now solved all of diesel's well-known problems. It hasn't. The VW scandal exposed that the systems could not meet environmental requirements on their own.

Even for other manufacturers who didn't cheat, it was shown that in real world conditions, diesel particulate filters simply don't work effectively until they are at a certain temperature etc. So around town on the typical commute, they simply belch many times the permitted levels of NO2 and carcinogenic particulates straight into the air. No surprise - can't drive behind a diesel with either vents or windows open, just fills up with noxious fumes.

Not a greenie myself, but promoting diesel so heavily was a massive mistake and the previous governments should not have led people up the garden path. But diesel was never green and it is killing people here and now - we need to look elsewhere to save on CO2 emission.

Eyelid    on 14 March 2017



There is an effective and proven solution to the diesel emissions problem that is available now, and it constantly surprises me that local authorities and government persistently ignore it.
Has no one heard of Autogas? Liquid Petroleum Gas? A modern LPG converted petrol engine can deliver much lower emissions than straight diesel or petrol engines - up to 15% less CO2 than petrol, up to 80% less NOx than diesel, up to 98% fewer particulates than diesel, and with quieter and smoother running. The technology is well proven and is constantly improving, a good refuelling infrastructure already exists, LPG is plentiful worldwide. Many governments around the world have abolished fuel duty on LPG to encourage its use, especially in cities, because they know its value for lowering emissions.
The drawback is that diesel engines aren't suitable for easy conversion, so what about an engine scrappage scheme for light diesels such as in cars, delivery vans and taxis, to encourage rather than just penalise diesel users? There must be many enterprising UK companies who could effectively retrofit these vehicles with a new high tech LPG converted spark ignition engine. Even if it were to be an interim solution until true zero emission vehicles were practicable; it's available here and now.
Birmingham City Council has seen the light; they have set up a scheme (using government funding!) to convert 63 taxis to LPG. The cost is £8000 per vehicle, the payback period is two years. Why isn't this being done in London? UK governments have reduced and held down fuel duty on LPG for over a decade, they know its value, so why can't they sort out their own back yard?

David Ridley    on 14 March 2017

Taxing diesel cars is obviously just another means of gathering revenue for the Government. Makes no sense & completely unjustifiable. The major NOX sources are not from diesel cars even the older ones only contribute trivial amounts. The Government cannot be allowed to get away with this scam. As others have said, every domestic gas boiler, even if its the most modern compliant one, puts out around 50mg NOX/kWH, older ones are significantly worse. In urban London & other cities, domestic boilers, hobs & cookers are a major source of NOX exposure. The Government should do something about these source before attacking the trivial ones.

keith40    on 15 March 2017

What annoys me about this so 9500 deaths in cannot be 100% linked to diesel engined vehicles that's the first point, this figure is an extraction of data but it's floored in many ways.
The data is using old figure pre euro six engines .
This attack on the motorist is unfounded .

The head line scare people most diesel care up 10 years old have particle filter and catalytic converters to get rid of the nasty bits. Then as urea has been added to diesel vehicles this has reduced NOx to almost zero.

It's time the motorist and motor organisation hit back at the lies being published .

London has a problem with old vans, taxis buses these are polluting the most and need to be dealt with, taxis should be electric or at least hybrid by now there no excuse for this amend that's down to the on mayor.
Vans and delivery vehicle should be electric by now. It's time the private driver was given a break stop the HGV with there dirty diesel most foreign truck from the former eastern Europe are dirty and there are far to many on our roads.
Bus HGV taxi vans are where to start these are your biggest poluters

Dan Clelland    on 15 March 2017

If a tax is raised on diesel it is not just the drivers that will suffer. As the majority of goods are moved via diesel, be it trucks, trains or ships, then transport costs will be passed on to the consumer and it won't matter what vehicle you drive, you will still end up paying.
Whatever happened to the promotion of Bio fuels? They were supposed to be the saviour of the planet. I ran a Toyota Estima and a Citroen ZX on cooking oil for years without any conversion at all and everything was fine (apart from getting peckish at traffic lights due to the smell of chips from the exhaust)
Also, as previously mentioned, where is the solid evidence linking deaths to diesel?
Aggravated by general pollution, maybe, but directly caused by diesel? Show me hard facts.......

Chris James    on 16 March 2017

As previous user of B100 Biodiesel I'll tell you exactly what happened to the Biodiesel Industry, it was killed off by the caring sharing oh-so-concerned-about-your-health Government, who woke up one morning and decided to scrap the long standing subsidies on tax and duty given to commercial bio producers in order to make alternative fuel a viable and economical option. The scrappage of these subsidies coupled with the labour intensive process meant that Biodiesel was far more expensive than normal diesel, which coupled with the small drop in MPG economy when using it, meant that people stopped buying it, because Diesel was significantly cheaper!. Biodiesel producers went out of business overnight after the subsidies got scrapped, not only closing many small businesses which were previously in the process of growing but putting their staff out of work too.

This was the decision of a Government who seemingly encourages Green fuels and recycling of waste products!, if it really cared about the Environment then surely it should have scrapped duty on Biofuels altogether to further encourage the take up, rather than add the same levels of duty and VAT as is levied on regular diesel and by doing so kill off an entire Green Fuel industry?. Doesn't make much sense does it?, but then again this is also the decision of the same people, who silently scrapped the subsidies of £4000 / £8000 on Electric Cars last year, and also removed free charging points, now making public charging points cost upto £6 per charge, so ultimately they tell you to do one thing, whilst at the same time making it less attractive and more expensive to do so!. Yet, despite all of this, people still believe all of the B/S that they spout.

Edited by Chris James on 16/03/2017 at 19:05

Chris James    on 16 March 2017

Interesting to note that a study over the last few months by Kings College in London, found that the biggest rise in Pollution levels in London since 2011 was caused by Woodburning stoves, this also ties in with the research carried out during 2016 by the University of Southampton, who warned that wood burners 'liberate significant amounts of particulate pollution into the outdoor air to the point where it is already reaching levels that come close to threatening London with the very real risk of similar smog problems last seen there in 1952 - killing 12,000 people. So where is the scaremongering?, where are the endless hyping and negative press reports?, why is nobody calling for Woodburners to be banned from City Centres or a woodburner tax to be levied later in the year on those who still choose to use them?. Despite a far wider reaching issue, far worse than diesel cars looming on the horizon it seems that the G'ment only care about our health when its in relation to penalising that gullible nieve creature called "The Motorist". How convenient!.

Honest Steve    on 16 March 2017

I work in the Automotive aftermarket, some part of which is involved in the supply of DPF cleaning solutions. A recurring problem in trying to convince workshops to offer a DPF cleaning service, is the fact that until it became illegal to do so back in 2014, some of these workshops were removing the DPF filter, but leaving the casing in situ and then re-set the engine management system to lie (so it would appear to an MOT inspector to be intact) for customers who couldn't afford to have the DPF replaced at a cost of several hundred pounds, but could just afford to pay these people £150 - 200 to remove the 'offending' item (!) The worst part about this sad but true tale is that a great many of these people are taxi drivers - not licenced London cabs I hasten to add-but the kind of private cab a lot of people use every day/night. I mentioned earlier that this practice was outlawed at the beginning of 2014, so the government are obviously very aware of it, but I believe this is still going on, which means there are thousands of diesel vehicles in London alone spewing out completely unfiltered - and illegal- rubbish 24/7. I don't know how these levels are estimated, but you can see how skewed the results will be, and how they will certainly affect the measured total.

Edited by Honest Steve on 16/03/2017 at 22:26

Mike Lanc    on 4 April 2017

Has anyone tried logging onto aqicn.org? It gives up to the minute (or at least hour) readings from air quality monitors around the world. There are several for London and most of the time, they show low pollution (green flags). In fact, in several weeks, I have only seen a red flag on one occasion. The same applies to virtually all of western Europe. The nearest regular red flags are in eastern Europe, but India and China are blanketed in them. So where is all this pollution that the anti Diesel lobby complain about, and why do they think it comes from transport? Transport levels are fairly constant from on day to the next, so if Diesels are responsible for all that nasty NOX, why do they not cause the problem every day?

Much is said of the 40,000 deaths annually due to air pollution, 9,000 of them being in London. The report from which this comes probably has the little words "up to" in front of the figures. Headline creators happily ignore such complications. These figures are at best estimates and considering the vast number of factors which can shorten our lives, I think they should be viewed with their own health warning.

A.Ward    on 23 April 2017

Why pick on diesel engines. What happens when you put a tube from a petrol exhaust into the cab of a car? DEAD in a few minutes.
I think there could be as many dangerous fumes from petrol as from diesel. And there is nothing said about the thousands of air plains that litter the sky that can cause global warming. Just take a look on the net round London olone and there are hundreds of planes per day causing pollution. Hammond should be looking to tax these as well

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