Damning of diesel continues – but is there light at the end of the tunnel?

News entry dated 09th Aug 2017

New car sales in July continued to drop, with petrol cars down 9.3%. Diesel cars crashed even further, with a drop of 20.1%, according to the latest sales data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

While new petrol car sales are down this month, they’re actually up by 4.3% for the year to date. Diesel sales, on the other hand, are down 11% overall. The blame for the significant drop has been laid squarely at the government’s feet, as a result of its plans to drop petrol and diesel cars by 2040, plans for city centre charging and the confusion surrounding a potential diesel scrappage scheme.

 
(Credit – David Rice)

Scrappage scheme delayed

Many expected the government to announce a diesel scrappage scheme as part of its recent air quality plan. This would deliver on the promise made in May to introduce compensation for drivers who scrap or retrofit their old diesel cars. Fast forward to July though, and the government has instead launched a consultation on a targeted scrappage scheme.

The onus is now on local authorities to come up with their own schemes as part of a drive to reduce excess NOx pollution over 18 months. These will then be signed off by the government. The new approach has been met with plenty of criticism. Former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey MP states,

“The government promised compensation to help diesel drivers replace their cars just a few months ago. Now the scrappage scheme has been all but scrapped. It’s a shameful betrayal of diesel car drivers and shows the utter lack of ambition of this plan.”

Is scrappage the right approach?

Interestingly, those representing the motor industry are not yet convinced by the practicalities of scrappage schemes. SMMT’s Chief Executive Mike Hawes told Auto Express magazine,

“The difficulty is two-fold. Where is the problem of air quality? It will be in very localised areas, so which cars are you going to target? These located in the area or those moving in and out?

“Secondly, it’s the oldest cars you want to get off the road, pre-Euro 4. That vehicle is over 12 years old, but there are over two million of those on the road. But if you own one of those you are not the average new car purchaser. How do you incentivise someone who has a car worth a couple of grand to spend £25,000?”

 
(Credit – Pixabay)

Car makers to the rescue

While policymakers and pundits continue to argue over the perceived pros and cons of a diesel scrappage scheme, it could be car makers who end up leading the charge to secure a workable strategy for people wanting to move to cleaner diesels and alternative fuel cars. BMW/Mini has announced its own version of a scrappage scheme, which could see owners of older diesels being offered up to €2,000 (£1,800 at the time of writing) off the price of a new BMW or Mini.

Branded as a ‘fleet renewal campaign,’ because the German car company insists that it won’t scrap any traded-in cars, qualifying car owners can choose from a range of cars that meet Euro 6 regulations and that emit 130g/km or less of carbon dioxide. According to Carbuyer, this means not only can buyers choose from a diesel BMW 3 Series 320d or the stonking BMW 5 Series 530d, plug-in hybrids also qualify. These include the Mini Countryman Cooper and the electric-powered BMW i3.

It’s worth noting though that BMW doesn’t stipulate exactly how much of the discount you can expect when you come in with your beaten up old Volvo diesel. It will be “dependent upon model bought.” The scheme is expected to be rolled out across the EU by the end of August. It will run until the end of December. If successful, we wouldn’t be surprised to see BMW extend the offer.

While the government, rival politicians and the media continue to argue over scrappage, perhaps BMW’s innovative approach is the pragmatic solution. After all, it’s car makers who stand to lose out if diesel continues to be the focus of the pollution debate. Thus car brands must play their role in bringing about the serious change needed to reduce pollution levels across the UK’s towns and cities.

Is the government doing enough to ensure that diesel drivers aren’t being left stranded? Or should it be up to the car industry to help resolve the NOx crisis? Let us know your thoughts below.

Comments

37 Comments on "Damning of diesel continues – but is there light at the end of the tunnel?"

avatar
Chamran Kebter
Chamran Kebter
It makes me wild, if you park in the City of Westminster now, you have to pay by phone with Ringo. You have to have your car registration on their system for it to work. They have now started charging a 50% extra surcharge for driving a diesel car! This is a complete con, and doesn’t make any logical sense, because while you are parked, you are not emitting any fumes anyway. The council’s are now joining in the war against diesel drivers. My diesel car emits only 128g/km. How many petrol vehicles emit far more than that but don’t… Read more »
Steven Taylor
Steven Taylor
So firstly my question to the goverment would be if you say up to 40,000 people per year die due poor air quality produced from diesel and petrol engines then prove it to us all as 140,000 people per year die from smoking, Maybe they should look at that first and ban tobacco and make sure E,cigs are the only form of smoking allowed. Then the second question is if electric vehicles are the way forward then why does not one minister turn up at Downing Street in an electric vehicle? Should they not lead by example? Then 3rdly how… Read more »
John Airey
John Airey
Hydrogen – unfortunately the easiest method of producing it is by using electricity. Diesel and petrol will still exist whilst we continue to break down crude oil into its constituent parts at refineries. So what will happen to the excess? Are we no longer going to rely on crude? Unlikely. Electric aircraft is a very long way away (and possible not even viable given weather conditions at altitude). It took a very long time for petrol engines to replace horses and electric cars aren’t going to replace petrol engines any quicker, despite government announcements. Where is the electricity going to… Read more »
Peter Smith
Peter Smith
in 2040 i’ll be 83 & our son will be 50 & even he said its all scare mongering cos it wont happen, 50 ton lorries (we’re british we dont drive trucks lol) being pulled by electrickery from London to Scotland! yeah right! we dont see many buses with big diesel engines in north London & the surrounding area being changed to electric. Now theres one really big thing that you’re all forgetting alas completely missing, at the moment its only one, but i bet there’ll be more to come & thats a HUMONGOUS GREAT BIG POWER STN being built… Read more »
Stephen Batchelor
Stephen Batchelor

Some brilliant comments here, I really hope our inept government are able to see them!

Russell Middleton
Russell Middleton

The UK government maybe pushing its luck. Brexit was only the tip of the iceberg. There are too many regulations, too many changes within short time range, too many initiatives that waste time and taxes. The UK is only 0.87 % of global population and dropping. If Britain ceased to exist tomorrow the environmentalists would be hard pressed to measure the difference. Get off our backs.

M Holm Hansen
M Holm Hansen

As far as I understand it is the sale of petrol and diesel which is banned as from 2040. What we will see then is a hiken rosd tax to force cars of the road. Where is rhe majority of people going to charge up their electric cars, with no driveway and or living in a flat. And what about people living in rualal areas? Hybrid cars should not be banned.

Terry Hudson
Terry Hudson

Another point is the recently announced huge rise in the first year and more in VED.
Trains, buses, shipping aircraft, heating in homes, industry etc etc are conveniently forgotten about, as drivers are attacked again and again.
So if you want to defend your mobility, see http://www.cantpaywontpay.london
Remember London is just the trial run, such schemes will be coming to a town near you!

Alan Todd
Alan Todd

I don’t see the Prime Minister, or any other Minister for that matter, on the television being driven around in an electric limousine.

michael ravening
michael ravening

can someone tell me when a electric car is on the market that will tow a caravan, or are they going to totally distroy the caravan/leisure industry ;DONT THINK IT WILL BE IN MY LIFE-TIME

John Shepherd
John Shepherd
Well. As far as I personally am concerned the successive governments have SH** in their own britches on this one. I personally have always driven older cars powered by both petrol and diesel. They are generally more reliable and when they need repairing even at the roadside it can be done with a bag of spanners and a basic diagnostic tool and skills learned from boyhood (sorry girls) and not a new box with a part in it and at outrageous cost and no guarantee that the part is a genuine item. I am currently running a 2002 BMW 3… Read more »
Peter Tanner
Peter Tanner

When we get rid of this idiot government, perhaps the next will change this idea on its head and we’ll all be encouraged to buy gas guzzlers haha. Let’s face it they encouraged us to buy diesel then try to make us pay more for their mistake 🙁

Richard Seddon
Richard Seddon
Another Conservative Party attack on the poorest in our society! Private cars are only used for a couple of hours a day. Even the oldest privately owned diesel’s pollution is as nothing to targeting those old trucks and busses we see smoking away 24/7. And what about CLASSIC CAR owners? We always restrict our milage and always maintain our “old” diesels to the highest standards. I’ve often seen “new diesels” emitting more pollution than my 1987 Land Rover which, incidentally, has already repaid its “carbon debt” many times over. For older cars that have repaid their carbon debt, replacing with… Read more »
G Harman
G Harman

You know?
I have read all thees posts and I have come to the conclusion that we should definitely all get nice new Horses and carriages. We will all slow down to a comfortable pace and benefit from the beautiful roses and vegetables as a bonus.

G Harman
G Harman

I would like to know how they are going to make an electric motor home or articulated truck. I cannot see that in the near future can you?
I do think the way to go is hydrogen at least that way not all combustion engines will be lost.

Hubert Carr
Hubert Carr

No-one seems to have mentioned lpg. On a previous petrol car (Mercedes 3.0l) I fitted an lpg conversion – cost about £750. Its performance was wonderful. Hardly any loss of performance and halving of my fuel bill. So can I buy an old petrol engined car and convert it to lpg in the future? Perhaps I am worrying too much as I’ll be 98 in 2040.

peter hemingway
peter hemingway

i personally think the government are scare mongering us, and there is a plus to diesel vehicles they are easier to start in the winter months than petrol vehicles.

Paul Butler
Paul Butler

I just got a new diesel would not look at any thing else by the time it’s 23 years old it will be long gone to the scrap yard . Just more govt clap trap to tell us what to do

Leigh Andrews
Leigh Andrews
Diesel kills and both manufacturers and government knew this from day 1. There was a glut of unused diesel so it was pushed as a cheap alternative. NOX is killing people and children in built up areas slsloy everyday as symptoms develop. Green electricity supply exceeded fossil electricity last month and will continue to do so as fossil power stations are closed. Kingsnorth power station was demolished just two weeks ago. Hybrid is the way forward in the interim, but as cars like Tesla are getting 300mile ranges it won’t belong before Hybrid can be surpassed. Those complaining about their… Read more »
Brian Rowe
Brian Rowe

V W has started this POLLUTION plus now other car makers are in the mix, why not replace the polluting car’s THEY made ,with the same like for like non polluting car of the same make F O C. Please V W. SKODA BMW .

wpDiscuz