“Diesel restrictions and penalties – an unacceptable abuse of public authority.”

In 2001, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and CO2 emissions were inextricably linked, the rationale being that vehicles with a higher level of CO2 were the ones responsible for polluting the environment, therefore, they should be made to pay. Diesel, by its very nature produces less CO2, giving rise to a boom in sales and an increase in benefits – buyers were actively encouraged to purchase diesel.

As the implications of emissions and pollutants became clearer, diesel became a much-contested topic, with the government implementing stringent measures to counter the effect of diesel pollution, leaving those motorists that were encouraged to buy, severely out of pocket. Surely, the government has some culpability in all of this?

One petition agrees

A new petition has been created for just that – “to get policymakers to face up to their past mistakes rather than slap more taxes on people. The creation of further diesel restrictions and penalties is an unacceptable abuse of public authority.”

We’ve written extensively about the demonisation of diesel – increased parking charges, city-wide bans, congestion & T-Charges, all aimed at tackling the air pollution problem caused by vehicles, or if you’re a cynic, aimed at revenue raising for the authorities.

There is no denying that we (that is, the UK and the world as a whole) have a problem with air pollution, to argue against that would be an exercise in futility, but this petition is about innocent buyers following best-practice guidelines from the government, and being penalised for it. The modern-day equivalent would be being taxed for recycling your waste.

The other side of the coin

Of course, there is debate regarding the information; the government were acting on information that was believed to be correct at the time, it’s only through the passage of time that further information came to light and changed policy.

While that is absolutely acceptable – governmental policy is ever evolving – what is at issue here is the punishment being meted out on that advice, and the effect it’s having not only on the diesel drivers, but the motor manufacturing industry as a whole – as of September this year, new diesel sales were down by a staggering 42.5%, and residual resale values are through the floor.

The petition, created by Stuart Coster, isn’t looking to drop the charges, or lessen the severity of them, but to just put the whole ‘diesel is the spawn of the devil’ attitude on hold, giving the government, industry experts and manufacturers the opportunity to come up with a fair way of dealing with the situation, it could almost be said that we’re potentially looking at the automotive version of the PPI mis-selling debacle.

We’re not alone

One such answer could be similar to proposals set out by the German government – a retrofit of cleaner hardware, or viable scrappage schemes in which the manufacturers are offering up to €10,000 in discounts against a new car. While it does seem to have some of the manufacturers backing, it must be said that other brands are reluctant – after all, they were selling perfectly legal, legislation compliant vehicles, and therefore, hold no liability. Although perhaps some car makers may be on weak ground.

The reality is that the motoring industry, government and buying public need to take action, with an aim of reducing emissions as a whole, without the consumer being penalised for taking ‘expert’ guidance in effective measures against vehicle pollution.

There was a time that buying a diesel would see a financial benefit in year two of ownership, today, however, that maths is somewhat different: A diesel Volkswagen Golf would take sixteen years of ownership for it to be more cost-effective than its unleaded counterpart. That’s the price of diesel ownership.


Whether you drive unleaded or diesel, this petition could be the start of making the government answerable for some of their motoring related decisions. It’s worth knowing that with just 10,000 signatures, the government must at least respond, and if 100,000 people sign it, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

This isn’t so much about diesel as a single issue, but about justification, and making the government see that motorists can’t or won’t sustain the decisions for much longer; if you chose a diesel vehicle on the advice of the government or based on the fact that you were incentivised to do so, then you should consider signing it.

To be clear, we aren’t saying that we should avoid any action to help reduce pollution, nor do we believe that some penalties shouldn’t be applied for certain vehicles, but lets at least make it fair for both the motorist and the driver. PetrolPrices.com does not endorse this petition, we simply wish to make our members aware of a current debate happening, and if someone chooses to act on this then that is on their own choice and not from us. We have not been paid to promote this and have no connection to the petition owner.

You can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228534

Do you feel that diesel penalties are fair? Should the motoring public make a united stand against demands from the government? Let us know in the comments.

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