What’s in Store for Diesel Drivers in 2017?
News entry dated 10th Jan 2017

Last year, we discussed potential trouble ahead for diesel drivers. It was a highly emotive subject – something proven by the 26 pages of comments we received about the article.

Now, 2017 seems set to be the year that diesel drivers are hit with a perfect storm of issues and difficulties, with chatter already building about the potential for tax hikes and even diesel vehicle bans in cities.

Many diesel drivers have a solid reason to feel aggrieved by the government’s rapidly evolving stance on diesel vehicles and the emissions they produce. Under the last Labour government, people were positively encouraged to switch to diesel and Gordon Brown even gave tax breaks to individuals purchasing them.

Of course, that’s all changed since evidence emerged that diesel vehicles are far more damaging to the environment. Now the present government finds itself in the awkward position of having to disincentivise the use of vehicles that people were once proactively encouraged to buy – in a country with over 10 Million diesel cars on the road.

Pollution

Last year, the High Court ruled that the government must urgently act to address air pollution. As we moved into 2017 this was brought into sharp focus with the news that it only took five days for London to breach its air pollution targets. Almost 10,000 annual deaths in London are being blamed on air pollution, with many experts considering diesels to be the main issue.

Last year, a campaigning group called Doctors Against Diesel called on the mayor to put in place a ban on diesel vehicles in London. While this may sound extreme, such bans are actually planned in Athens, Madrid and Paris within the next decade.

However, there are some major practicalities to consider – not least the fact that a government cannot simply ban vehicles that people have previously been encouraged to buy! This is why there are calls for scrappage schemes and incentives to persuade people to move to “cleaner” cars. However, these ideas would be costly and need to be incredibly broad in scope to placate everyone. As yet, the government hasn’t indicated any such schemes are under serious consideration.

Taxation

One thing we may realistically see later this year is tax increases for diesel vehicles. The government has frozen fuel duty for six years in a row, and one has to ponder whether this may come to an end in 2017.

Last year, Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport secretary at the time, indicated that taxes may have to rise to address diesel emissions. A fuel duty increase for diesel seems most likely here, which will be especially galling for long-term diesel drivers who will have seen Gordon Brown do exactly the opposite to incentivise diesel use back in 2001.

Diesel Recalls

In addition to all the uncertainty above, if you own a diesel car you may well find yourself needing to visit your dealership for a recall or a software tweak at some point in 2017.

Obviously, the Volkswagen group scandal springs immediately to mind, and owners of diesel VWs, Audis, Skodas, Seats and Porsches should already have been notified if they need to take their car in for recall work. Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit involving 10,000 owners is in the works. If the action is successful and sets a legal precedent, this could see over a million owners of such cars being awarded £3000 in compensation – something that would cost the VW group £3.6 Billion.

VW Diesel

Aside from this however, it’s important to note that the diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015 has now engulfed numerous other car manufacturers too.

While no other manufacturer has been implicated in the same way, “irregularities” have been found in diesel vehicles from Renault, Fiat and Jaguar, amongst many others, with plenty of companies including Mercedes-Benz and Opel set to conduct voluntary recalls on their vehicles too. It’s an almighty muddle – and that’s without beginning to consider that such recall work could have an impact on performance and fuel economy.

Is buying diesel now a bad idea?

Choosing a new diesel vehicle is certainly a bolder move than it once was. While it seems incredibly unlikely that the government could introduce any measures that would suddenly drastically disadvantage diesel drivers, the negative press alone could serve to make diesel cars less desirable and hit their resale values. Furthermore, a duty increase on diesel could eat into potential fuel economy savings.

If you travel long distances and select a vehicle with low enough emissions to qualify for low road tax (excise duty), a diesel car could still save you money in the short / medium term – but it’s fair to say it’s now a decision that warrants far more consideration than it once did. On the other hand, your options could be a potentially more polluting petrol car or an electric vehicle – and many consider these to still be in their relative infancy – so not an easy decision to make!

What do you think’s in store for diesel drivers in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

IMAGE CREDITS:

Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz, VW Golf TDI Clean Diesel WAS 2010 8983, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Sue Conlon March 15, 2017

1 there must be ways of filtering diesel vehicle emissions to cut out the harmful parts.
2. Trucks Vans and HGVs will no longer be able to haul high quantities of freight if diesels are banned or have tax raised.

Filtering is by far the cheapest alternative and unless the total infrastructure changes worldwide then this will be the only way to combat the damaging effects.

even trains run on diesel, busses, farm vehicles etc etc, what about the HS2 and HS3 projects will these trains be electric or magnet monorail? mmmm don't know.

steve collard February 25, 2017

I must be visually challenged. Why is this you ask? The reason is that I thought I had seen much of what some TV presenters have called agricultural vehicles. In fact diesel powered engines have been around for a very long time (I am over pension age so I do know) and I have a good memory. If asked, most people will think of tractors and combine harvesters etc. When I give it some thought, I think of various 4x4 vehicles such as Land Rover Defender and other previous short wheelbase vehicles.
I have no qualifications in motor engineering however, I would suggest that as diesel fuel and engines have evolved so have the standards that they are required to meet. Who remembers that diesel would freeze in commercial vehicle fuel tanks and lines. It is a relatively modern innovation that we no longer have to worry about fuel freezing.
Mr “VW” has a lot to answer for, because they fiddle the compliance figures of the engines used in certain vehicles. Engines are required at the time of writing to conform to "Euro 6 (2014) for light passenger and commercial vehicles". It has not been updated as yet. I don't hear of other countries going into meltdown over the use of diesel vehicles. The continent/Europe embraced diesel engined vehicles long before we did. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, my understanding is that this standard is not retrospective!
I used to live in London a while ago and I can honestly say that the amount of filth emitting from passenger cars was nothing compared to that emitted by public service and commercial vehicles of one type or another.
It would in my opinion be better if more attention to research to enable what we have to be cleaned up more effectively and efficiently.

Derek Tilford January 15, 2017

As usual there is a certain amount of hysteria associated with the emotive diesel problem which in many cases has been blown out of all proportion. Yes I drive a diesel car and have done so for the last 20 years.
As a member of the ADAC (German AA equivalent) I was very interested in their independent testing of vehicle emissions following the VW scandal. Of some 30 different car makes and models that because of their age should have complied with EU5, only two cars complied, I'm glad to say, my car is one of the two which does. The rest all exceeded the COx and Nox limits, one car exceeded the accepted 100ccs CO2/Km by 4 times. When it came to cars tested similarly for the EU6 standard the majority conformed and those that didn't were only just outside the limits. The point is there are a lot of diesel cars out there, but they are not all the same with emissions. Talking of banning all diesels cannot be justified purely on environmental grounds.
Yes, ‘Paris has banned diesels' says the headline, but in actual fact the truth is that from 1st July 2016 NO CARS manufactured (note petrol or diesel) before 1st January 1997 are allowed inside the Boulevard Peripherique (The entire city enclosed within the Paris Ring Road) between 8am and 8pm on workdays. From 1st January 2017 all French private vehicles have to carry a ‘plaquette'. Depending on the emissions rating of the vehicle, it will be placed in one of 6 different classes. Depending on the class of your vehicle you may or may not be allowed into new clear air zones set up around the city. Bordeaux and Strasbourg are due to join Paris soon, Grenoble already has.
The Germans have been operating a similar system for over 3 years for diesel cars. Many German cities operate clear air zones and if your car does not carry the correct class plaquette you cannot enter the zone where indicated and are fined on the spot if you transgress. But nowhere in Germany to my knowledge are all diesel cars banned
Finally. Just recently the BBC commentator was standing in the middle of Oxford Street London stating that this was the worst polluted street in the country. The roadway was blocked solid in both directions, but not a car in sight - just buses and taxis.
Yes there is a problem. But don't just blame Joe Public and his car there are solutions!

Frank Jones January 14, 2017

I tow a caravan of 1400kg and I cannot see a petrol car having the same pulling power as my existing car (honda crv) was purposely chosen for that reason engine is a 2.2litre and gets me up and down the long drawn out hills that you can encounter of somebody who is afraid to put their foot down and crawl up the hill because they have seen either an artic or a caravan behind them so I need the extra power to keep me moving at a reasonable speed without stalling the same as the artic lorry, I dont think a petrol engine would be able to sustain the pressure of towing for very long unlike a diesel engine can also if they start to mess about with either the tax on diesel fuel or the VED then you will see just about everything in this country going up in price. (good old ripoff Britain)

Norman Askew January 13, 2017

I have an 11 yr old Skoda Fabia which I have found very reliable and also cheap to run. I'm thinking of going for a new one but this has put me in a dilemma. Do I go for the same car which has always been reliable or chance it and change? A lot of my mileage is short distance but I do make long runs to family in the north east and also airport runs which are all motorway.

Kelvin Rayson January 13, 2017

We are again being screwed over by missinfomation and missleading goverment policies. My view regardless of who is at fault diesel drivers should not be punished for following goverment incentives or lies by manufactures. Fair enough anyone who now buys should know that they will have to pay higher costs but there ahould be aome kind of compensation or exemption for people who purchaced before now. After all you see it happening in the banking sectors n finance and in relation to this situation a prosoect of compensation in the USA. As usuall in this country the powers to be send in the dogs to manipulate and corrupt out politions and government into screwing us all over for the sake big business and multinationals. SUCK IT UP BOYS N GIRLS YOUR ABOUT TO GET YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY MUGGED FROM YOU.

Martin Hamilton January 13, 2017

I swtiched from Diesel to Petrol in 2011 with only a smidgeon of the reasoning being the initial rumblings of polution issues with them. The main reason was that having spent more to buy diesels, as they aged I found some nasty and expensive surprises - dual mass flywheels; turbos; particulate filters.

I and my family, who all ran diesels, spent £thousands repairing of the above problems but as of today all five of us now run conventional petrol engines - without turbos I might add. All were several £thousand cheaper to buy than the diesel equivalent, the engines of all have been phenominally reliable (well, Toyota, Honda, Diahatsu, Hyundai, what would one expect?) and as they are family-sized or smaller the lost fuel consumption of 10-20 MPG is still outweighed by the lower cost to buy and the lack of expensive points of failure (turbo, Dual-mass flywheel, particulate filter).

I've done the maths: driving a mix of some long motorway journeys and lots of short rural hops I reckon to save £500 a year vs the total cost of ownership of an equivalent diesel, provided I drive with a light foot and obey the motorway speed limits!

I have no doubt that the polution emitted by Diesels is a killer, especially if one lives in a large city or major urban area and however much we may complain about the encouragements offered by Gordon Brown, he was acting on the best advice available at the time.

The road to hell being paved by the best intentions for sure - but now there is a large body of evidence showing Diesels - especially those with cheat devices or madly skewed emissions testing - are a problem that must be tackled so we can't simply bury our heads in the sand..... An outright diesel ban in large cities for passenger vehicles seems to be essential as does a rapid / medium term development of electicallly-powered vans, trucks and busses for city use or even a transition of heavy good movements in cities back onto the rails (including using trams at night).

I have a courtesy car on load from my Toyota dealer at present, its a Prius and driving it for a few days tells me that this kind of car (a hybrid) will replace my pertrol Avensis when the time comes - this particular technology has now come of age!

Kenneth Woodward January 13, 2017

When I was lecturing at a college in the 1970s the advantages and disadvantages of petrol and diesel was discussed. it was decided to invite a rep from ICI. He informed us that diesel contained Benzine which was a cancer inducing chemical. years ago petrol engines would have a pinking noise and to eradicate this a chemical was produced to stop this pinking. The chemical had a very long name which was difficult to pronounce so it was cut short to 4 letters LEAD which was the middle 4 letters in the name. Diesel is far, far more dangerous than petrol unfortunately the drivers who have diesel cars will not accept this, but the authorities have now realised that the previous Labour government mislead (which they have done to the nation for years)the country. I believe that the diesel brigade should wake up and get a life.

    Mark Phillips January 14, 2017

    I've got a life, thanks Ken, and I've got a comment! It is not the consumers responsibility for pollution as they buy vehicles in good faith and according to the knowledge and laws of the day. My old Octavia may pollute more, but I can't afford to buy anything similar in a petrol version with the same power and performance. I bought the car at a time when diesels were lauded, and it's wrong for governments to impose penalties in the hope of forcing drivers to buy greener cars which they may not be able to afford. The onus should be on manufacturers, under pressure from the authorities, to test their cars properly (VW), on the road and not test lab conditions, and flog them to the public when satisfied. If, in another few years, petrol engines are deemed to be 'dangerous', how p****d off will the current tranche of 'green' vehicle purchasers be when they were encouraged to ditch their 'dirty' diesels. When my Octy fails, I'll be buying another from the VW stable because they build good cars.

Peter Smith January 13, 2017

it seems very strange that while 10 downing st & all its lackys are telling the country about austerity & pollution from all our beloved diesel cars that they originally told us to buy because of the better fuel consumption, & even tho we're now into the 2nd or maybe even 3rd generation of fuel saving diesels that are getting more to the gallon than smaller petrol cars ( our Mk4 Mondeo 2.0L TD Est does more than to the Gal than our sons 2013 Focus hatch 1.0L petrol ) we're still watching our PM in her £1000 leather trousers & all her lackeys getting chaffered about in big gas guzzling (is the old phrase) automobiles Jags & Mercedes i now notice, while us peasants are expected to, whats the phrase? get on our bikes, & suffer the hardships or maybe take an overpriced bus ride that has an over powered 10, 12, or even a 14 litre engine.
Now ive had me moan, got to go & clean our ex-bat hens out, anyone for eggs?

Valerie Bearne January 13, 2017

As I can get at least 200 miles more per tankful on diesel than on petrol, is there not an advantage to the planet for a lower consumption of a precious fossil fuel? As there is less refinement needed to produce diesel than petrol, is there not an advantage to the environment for that?

I too was hoping for atomic or hydrogen or long range electric cars, and annoyed that oil companies could so easily buy up green technology patents in order to bury them.

Meanwhile I run a diesel car, as it is the best current option available.

Roy Forbes January 13, 2017

Like many others, I am sure, we were persuaded ten years ago by the government of the day (Yes Mr Blair and Mr Brown - I mean you!!) to change our vehicles from petrol to diesel. That was despite the fact that we all used to see diesel vehicles emitting thick black smoke.

Since then we have been persuaded to pay the higher purchase prices and put up with lesser performance in order to do our bit. All in the belief that diesels are now cleaner and more efficient. We have repeatedly found that diesels are not that much more economical than petrol, depending how they are driven of course.

I try to change my vehicle about every two years and each time for the past ten years have been persuaded by the various 'Government backed' incentives to stay with diesel. My latest car has the advantage of 'ADBLUE' which is supposed to make even cleaner emissions and with the particular make I have this is topped up by the dealer on the annual service or every 10,000 miles. I know other vehicles are more frequent with their top ups. I was assured by all the literature and government figures that I was embarking in a new era of cleaner running diesels like so many millions of others no doubt.

How many of us realise that over the decades the 'oil masters' have been at the forefront of preventing other forms of motive power from being developed since the 1930s. Internationally, the various governments and of course the advertising media have backed them all the way and that has been proven many times but always pushed to the back wall. Like the tobacco producers, nothing was done to upset the 'Barons'. Who remembers the development of gas turbine cars and by a British company? The company did everything in the research and development by itself without any government backing until it could no longer afford to go on any further. The rights were eventually bought by an American company who dropped it as uneconomical for further development.

Who remembers the atomic engine developed in a back shed in Great Britain? This could run for days at little or no cost. The inventor was ridiculed and eventually had to flee the country but did use his invention for other purposes until he rather mysteriously disappeared after being bought out by an Oil company. Then there was the hydro engine, a little heard of invention originally invented during the second world war. Gosh I could go on.

But back to the point, if anyone is reading this: we motorists and vehicle owners are always, it seems, subjected to the most whimsical thoughts and stirrings of our government, no matter which party is in power, but at the end of the day who is providing the information. I am positive that like the tobacco companies who used to try and convince us that smoking was good for you, the oil companies have been doing the same with their products. The coincidences of the 'scares' about various oil uses and the cost price increase are just because, in my humble opinion, because the oil companies and producers are running scared that someone will find a clean alternative.

Perhaps like tobacco products - oil products may eventually only be sold with no advertising and behind closed shutters, whilst the government of the day increase the tax on oil to such high percentages that oil using will be a 'Black Market' item. Haven't I seen this in a SciFi movie - or two?

Harry Godwin January 13, 2017

Before I/we bought a replacement for a long-term (120k miles) Subaru Outback, which was written off after a tap up the back,, I asked some dealers if there were any whispers in the industry. None of them knew anything.
A replacement petrol Outback was going to cost from £285 VED and might manage 30mpg.
We bought a diesel Skoda Superb estate ,which costs £180 VED and delivers 50mpg.
I know the argument is about NOx and diesels, but is the pollution from the Skoda less than the Subaru would have produced?
I am very happy with my reduced running costs, which should not be affected by the fix when it is done.

Grahame Goodyer January 13, 2017

Hi,

I was never a diesel lover until it came to buying a new car in 2012. With the low emission tax breaks, I broke tradition of buying petrol and I bought a new Golf Bluemotion. Yes, one of now discredited cars.

3 years later, before the diesel scandal broke, based again on low running costs and emissions, I bought a new Audi A6 Diesel.

So, am I a little p***** off. You bet.

My Golf has yet to have its fix. My model isn't expected to have the software, and in my case, hardware upgrade until later this year. If I wish to sell it, what loss will I incur until the fix is carried out?

My A6 is EU6 rated. Does this mean that in a few years time this too will banned from city centres? My aim with the Audi was to keep it long term. But was use is car you can't drive in major town and cities?

I have been seriously mislead by VW Audi and the UK Government.

So if my next car is an electric car, will this then become a liability as power stations and the national grid can't cope with the number of recharging stations? Maybe I should buy myself and my wife a tandem bike. Oh no. Can't do that. When did you last see a bike rack in town that takes tandem bikes?

OK, so back to walking then!! Now wheres my trainers???

ivan gill January 12, 2017

I have sympathy with people buying diesel on environmental grounds.. Removing diesels or more fairly vehicles emitting high levels of NO2 is urgent, people's lives are being cut short.

If this results in a fall in 2nd hand prices of diesels this gives measurable damage to claimy against companies cheating emissions tests. For the Wortley realtime offenders like VW with emissions 20x + above official figures a buyback scheme would be completely in order.

People are dying, I don't understand the lack of outrage or the greater concern that buyers of these diesels might be inconvenienced.

Governemnt should be funding and fighting and acting on everyonesale behalf, these delays ad ref inexcusable.

Roger Hempel January 12, 2017

Before they start banning diesel cars in our cities what about cleaning up the buses ,taxis, & vans/trucks. There are far more of these on the road in our cities then there are cars. Or doing more research into cleaner engines for both petrol & diesel.What about a better way to change cars over to LPG without losing so much space in the boot?!

David Shannon January 12, 2017

Once upon a time, diesels were mis-sold to the general public by government and manufacturers. Increasing the cost of diesel fuel is punishing the innocent consumer. Where are the lawyers fighting for compensation?

We want an incentive to switch. Reducing the value of a trade-in is not going to encourage removal of diesels, Trade-in values based on a comparable non-diesel vehicle would encourage replacement.

All new diesel vehicles should be taxed to discourage new diesels on the road, with punitive first year levies and progressively higher levels to get older more pollutant vehicles off the road.

The government need to take the lead, not punish innocent consumers but force the manufacturers to withdraw new diesels and stump up the funds to compensate those to whom the vehicles were missold.

Increasing fuel duty will lose the next election.

Ralph Bragg January 12, 2017

I totally agree with the comments, so there is an issue with pollution in city centres, and what do we have, a large concentration of in city centre, buses and taxis,
But as usual, the cash cow motorist will be the easy target. Most diesels now do have an adblu system and the exhaust is virtually clean, so surely this must be an improvement. Battery vehicles are not the answer, expensive, poor range, battery life and cost to replace, why is hydrogen not being pursued as a fuel source, now that is zero emissions.

Anthony Jones January 12, 2017

As VW owner how do I join this class-action lawsuit??

Philip Hicks January 12, 2017

The motorist always gets ripped off by our Government, why not look at the pollution caused by wood burners/coal fires, in our town and villages going outside is choking and it can be smelt indoors as well, So dont pick on the motorist, look at the other causes as well....

Peter Gascoine January 12, 2017

Increasing taxation to diesel cars, be it on fuel or vehicle road tax will not solve the problem of particulate and NO2/Nox pollution, it will only boost HMG's coffers and create an inflationary effect by increasing the cost of all road related transportation. This issue will only be solved by long term efforts to encourage more use of public transport and promote alternative fuels, I.e. electric vehicles.