Figures obtained from the Department of Transport by selling site Buyacar.co.uk show the average new car sold in 2017 emits more toxic CO2 than new cars sold in 2016, which is the first time in 14 years that an average new car emits more CO2 than older cars. As more and more drivers desert diesel cars discouraged by tax rises, toxicity charges, parking surcharges and crashing car values, the unintended consequence is that CO2 greenhouse gas emissions are back on the rise again.
The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is where the actions of people and especially Governments, always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.
In 2008 under the Labour government led by Gordon Brown, they made an announcement in the Budget which they thought was good for the environment, which was to discourage people from driving petrol vehicles due to harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) they emitted and instead create a car tax system based on carbon dioxide emitted to encourage people to buy “lower polluting” diesel cars instead. In response, sales of new diesel cars and the British motoring industry itself boomed off the back of the decision.
(Credit – Zappys Technology Solutions)
Demonisation of diesel begins
By 2016 with a Conservative government in power, it became apparent that levels of toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) had increased in major towns and cities, contributing to 40,000 deaths a year. The Government was not meeting its own NOx emissions targets set by the European Union, leading to the threat of fines and court action. Diesel cars were pinpointed as the main culprit for these rises and it was then that the process of demonisation of diesel in all forms began in earnest, led by environmental pressure groups and the new Mayor of London.
Fast forward to the end of 2017 and diesel car sales have plummeted by 16% year on year. All the major manufacturers are running diesel scrappage schemes where you can trade in a diesel car bought in the last 8 years and receive up to £8,000 towards buying a new car. In 2017 the average value of a used diesel car fell by 26%, for many the choice of switching away from diesel cars seemed like a no brainer, but it wasn’t.
What the Government wanted people to do was buy new hybrid engine or fully electric cars en masse. The problem here is they’re too expensive to buy or run and there is no used car market for hybrid or electric cars. Battery technology moves so rapidly that the battery in a two-year-old electric car is inferior to a new battery powered car, so they don’t hold their residual value for it to be worth buying an older hybrid or EV car.
The new unintended consequence here is that while people are moving away from diesel cars as the Government wanted, they’re not buying lower emissions vehicles, instead they’re buying high polluting, big engine petrol SUVs, which is leading to an unprecedented rise in CO2 emissions. Further bad news is that the Government also have a CO2 emissions target they need to meet by the European Union as well.
Official CO2 figures show a rise in 2017
Official statistics for the first ten months of 2017 from the Department of Transport show that the average new car sold this year produces 121.1g of CO2 per kilometre. The average CO2 output of new vehicles sold in 2016 was 120.3g/km. With diesel registrations widely expected to stall further in December, it will spell the end of a 14-year reduction in CO2 emissions, which have declined by 4.02g/km annually since records first began.
How on earth did we get in this mess?
The greatest irony in all of this is that the most likely solution in reducing both NOx and CO2 to meet European standards over the next few years is buy a new super low diesel emission car. One would have hoped that the market would have naturally gravitated towards buying a new lower emitting diesel, instead demonisation has made them buy high polluting petrol SUVs.
As is often the case, the Government has intervened and targeted the wrong area and not tackled the real problem, which is diesel cars over 10 years old, public transport vehicles, the van and haulage industry, diesel trains, ships and the illegal removal of diesel particulate filters.
What do you think of this latest development? Are you a diesel driver who feels vindicated by this, or are have you just bought a petrol driven SUV without realising this is as bad as a diesel car? Or are you an electric car driver feeling all smug about driving a car with no emissions that you won’t be able to re-sell? Let us know in the comments below.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not really toxic, we breath it out every time we breath in Oxygen; unlike Carbon Monoxide (CO), the silent smell-and-tasteless killer that latches on to red corpuscles in the blood in the place of CO2 and is difficult to remove, hence killing us. CO is produced in burning fuel in an engine too. The government has, as usual, taken the easy option, as you say, because they fear the commercial lobbies.
Well said Tony Dunning! We have about a quarter of the CO2 in the atmosphere as is optimal for human development at the moment, 400ppm as opposed to 1500ppm
If some of the subsidies paid to farmers and non farmer landowners (somewhere in the region of £200+ hectare (2.471 acres = One hectare) was paid for the farmer to put land down to long lay grass field millions of tonne of CO2 would be sequestrated into the soil, the soil would become carbon rich, as it was before being ploughed up in the 2nd world war and support food production. The grass plant can be harvested to produce methane (CH4), which can be used to power tractors and all other engines. The residues of water and digestate (a rich fertiliser) also mean the grass land can be self sufficient.
BUT!!!!! Wait, the poor manufacturers of fertilisers, pesticides, etc would be out of business, (N.B. the same companies are also the huge corporate pharmaceutical manufacturers!!), as their business models that ’cause problems and environmental issues, illness for all living creatures’ from the sale / use of these materials works well in their favour as they then produce medicines, chemotherapy substances, etc to cure these ailments.
Its a merry go around, just like the gravy train that all governments are creating and encouraging for their own greed.
In other words, just like the catastrophic decissions to get rid of the national rail network and not convert it to transport routes (blame the inefficiencies on this controlled by overzealous unions and the greed of private business owners (similar to the nowadays abusing of people who will work for low wages), there is no mid term never mind long term policies its all now now now.
Just saying, like
PS Please do not mention feeding the world as there is as much food wasted every day as is eaten. Secondly, serious education is needed world wide to illustrate that One Acre (0.365 hectares) can support ONE COW, which will support and feed several humans and other living entities. More than one cow and the land will become worn out / useless as will the cows and the living entities it supports. Food for thought.
Methane more of a greenhouse gas than CO2.
CO2 is a greenhouse gas
If any government were really serious about tackling polution they would look at reducing the amount of long distance road haulage. This could be done by utilising our under used rail network, particularly in off peak times. Incentives could be offered to encourage this. This would also reduce the amount of traffic on our congested road network and probably reduce the number of accidents that regularly involve HGV’s.
Dr Breeching messed that one up though
Dr Beeching did ad he was told by the Government of the day. The transport minister at the time owned a trucking company!!!
The trouble with most governments is that they don’t look far enough ahead. All those small villages that the underused railway lines served would now be big towns. Now that the lines have been ripped up, all the people in those big towns have to drive to work.
I agree with you 100%.If the government of the day had disregarded Dr. Beeching’s report and retained much of the railways we would not be in such a mess!!
Having spent many years in a senior role in the rail freight industry, it just doesn’t work. Sure for heavy bulk materials, rail is a solution. For the rest of freight movements, it just doesn’t work. There are two main reasons.
1. Freight trains are far slower than passenger trains and therefore create huge problems for the network. As passengers want trains to go faster this means fewer opportunities to run freight trains. Forget running at night as this is when then Network is maintain.
2. Fundamentally our rail network was built in Victorian times. As a consequence, the dimensions of the infrastructure such as height of bridges, diameter of tunnels and proximity of platforms and signaling equipment to the rail are not compatible with modern containers. Very little of the network is able to move these containers and certainly the lines closed by Beeching would have been of any use to containerisation.
There is no simple answer but that fact is that congestion is predominantly caused by cars and not lorries. If more of the population could work from home even one day per week, there would be a huge benefit in reducing congestion and reducing pollution.
How do you build a house 20miles away from home, doesn’t work for all
I do not think the government really brain storm their rules before implementing them. If companies made less profits then hybrid cars, which at the moment is the best way to go would be the same price as petrol ones.. Remember we can use, petrol, gas, ethanol and electricity and all combinations. The government cannot only blame cars. What about industry. Another problem possibly is that some MPs have a financial interest in the results.
Actually, it’s arguably worse than owning a trucking company. Prior to being a government minister he was managing director of Marples Ridgway, a civil engineering business specialising in road construction! Furthermore, he later fled the country to avoid prosecution by the Inland revenue for tax evasion. It was a constant topic in my early years in the family home during the 60’s/70’s….. my father was a dedicated British Railways “Permanent Way” Technician!
Containerise the railways, have local delivery points where trucks are involved. Do it at night so less congestion. Also employ people on nights to work in shops etc to receive goods. If shipping can operate this way then so can the railways. Problem solved unless the trees are dropping their leafs.
Whilst your 100% correct, the railways are overloaded. Freight is already forced onto the roads and many at night.
That’s the reason that railway lines are reopening throughout the country. Doubling track as well.
Unintended consequence of Beeching cuts. Reopen lines! Also stop building more and more roads and make do with fewer journeys.
Less roads is not the answer slow moving traffic increases pollution, even worse in towns where speed humps as traffic has to slow down and then accelerate
I live on a residential road with speed humps and a 20 mph speed limit.
If drivers kept to a steady 20 mph speed in my road, there is no need to slow down for the humps as they can be crossed without problems at this speed.
Many drivers ignore the speed limit and drive at 30 – or above – between the humps – slowing down, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, all the way up the long road.
The humps are there for the safety of residents and our children!
The problem with speed humps is that there seems to be no properly enforced national standards regarding angle of slope, overall size, etc. I have driven over many which cannot be easily negotiated at 10 miles an hour, let alone 30!
First they don’t make a lot of difference to the safety of residents and children, in many cases the accident rates increase in areas with speed bumps, something to do with people thinking it is safer and taking greater risks. More important is that pollution increases enormously at lower speeds as cars are then driven in lower gears. Pollution is far more likely in the long run to kill or disable your child. Speed bumps are not the answer , as usual the law of unintended consequences applies!
teach children to cross the road safely instead of the “ignore car culture of today.
How many of your ‘children’ are out say after 22:00 hrs, but he speed humps and 20mph are still there!!!!!!!
Oddly enough, it is the more smaller and economical cars that are mostly effected by road humps/speed-cushions, hence the rise of 4×4’s.
Agreed! I’ve an Ibiza ecomotive the benefit of which is lost because of these speed bumps, they cause me to do most of my local driving between 1st & 2nd gear! The effect of driving over speed bumps in a small car is severe for the occupants due to the small wheel span. I’m thinking of going back to a large car for this reason! It’s time SPEEDERS were given large fines/banned instead of everyone having to put up WITH the speed bump.
Sorry surbjohn – no matter how fast or slow you go over speed humps, they accelerate wear on your shock absorbers. A classic example of a ‘remedy’ not being effective and causing problems to those who do keep to the speed limit. See the article on speed cameras – we do not need humps any more, the camera can do it all.
The people to blame for us having speed humps are the irresponsible (Clever Dicks) who fail to abide by laws there for the benefit of us all
Doctor. Breeching who decimated our rail network should have been in a mental institution not parliament.
Beeching wasn’t a politician, he was an academic. It was Ernest Marples, the Transport Minister at the time, who commissioned his report and the decimation of the railway network. And, surprise, surprise, before entering parliament, Marples, a millionaire businessman, had made his fortune in – yes, you’ve guessed it – road transport!
See Marples Ridgeway Construction.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and in those days it was assumed that the car was going to be the answer to everything
The name is actually ‘Beeching’
Dr Breaching would have been better!
Seriously, something had to be done to sort out the railways which were offering a 1920s service in the 1950s – nationalisation’s answer? Cut, Cut, Cut. Bad mistake. Now that railways are victims of their own success we can nationalise them again, and solve the problem by cut, cut, cut – so forcing more traffic onto the roads, building roads rather than marshalling yards. This will mean more HGV, more NOx and more petrol cars, More CO2. Happy Days.
I agree. The problem is also companies wanting to make lots of profit. Royal mail stopped using rail to move the mail because rail increased its prices making it uneconomical to ship this way and forcing Royal mail to switch to roads!
Recently we had a huge container lorry come down our road by mistake. He had come from Spain to collect strawberries to take back to Spain and had already got a load of raspberries on board. I bet those same strawberries/respberries are then shipped back into Britain and sold in our local supermarkets. Probably something to do with increasing our exports and then the EU claiming they are increasing their imports. Cannot imagine for one minute that Spain have a shortage of these!!
Correct, that is why I voted for Brexit, just another EU scam we can rid ourselves of, if we had the right political will ! Sadly we have not.
unfortunately much of the rail infrastructure is long gone…..cost of loading and unloading freight on and off trains is far higher than using road direct. the UK is too small for this to work
Also support what Jon Glencross replied and do not forget, all this would need huge areas for marshalling yards.
Just imagine local objections to more green fields going under concrete!
Lee, In Wales we have no Rail Network. What we do have which is second or even third rate as far as Swansea in the South and in the North across to Holyhead. The rest of Wales has nothing. So it is only Road Transport on single carriage way country roads we have to rely on. Which cause long delays and queues if you are stuck behind them. You have very few opportunities to overtake on them. Where they are duelling the A465. It has been done with EU Funding, now that will be finishing because of brexit as infrastructure funding will be stopped. So part of it will be Duelled and then it will join on to the old three lane system again.
It’s not just the “demonisaton” of diesel. It’s the new VED rates too. Now it’s a choice of low co2 £140 or higher still £140. So where as before people would choose the lower co2 now I feel that they will just pick the car they want.
You also need to look at the 1st year VED rates, these vary depending on the CO2 emmsions.
As for the rise in CO2 emmissions this year, this must be at least in part due to our current obsession with having an SUV on the drive.
Yes, we drive a diesel car, tax £30. After government condemning diesel my partner wanted to change to petrol. After reading this article how can anyone decide what to buy. Government have caused one big cock up.
My old petrol ford focus is £305 tax, qtr value of the car haha.
Some new small petrols are only £30 but in reality they will struggle to better 40 mpg. I’d bear that in mind if you do higher millege.
Gov hav done this on purpose so people buy new cars and they get thier 20% VAT on it’s purchase price. Thats why thier promoting expensive hybrids.
I used to run a 1.6d Octavia and regularly got 48 mpg. After 18 months I changed to a 1.2 petrol Yeti and I now struggle to get an average of 32mpg.
Surely the extra mileage gained in the diesel would outweigh the emission savings with the petrol ?
How about a hybrid? Diesel and petrol are not the only options, but if (as you imply) you really care about emissions as well as cost, you will really have to do some research into the efficiency of the cars you compare, and run the numbers on cost and mileage for the type of driving you do and the brand/type of car you want to buy.
It’s not simple. Nobody ever said it was.
I bought a new VW Polo TDI back on 2003. It was economical, drove brilliantly, loved it. Two years ago it was time for a new car and with all the hype about diesel cars I thought I better get a petrol one. Well as it turned out the dealer couldn’t get the petrol one I wanted and gave me a good deal on another diesel, Peugeot 207 HDblue, one where the emissions are so low I don’t need to pay any road tax. My dilemma is that later this year I will be need to either buy the car outright, get a new one from the same dealership or give the car back and get a new deal somewhere else. Have no idea what to do!
I work for Fords and I’ve just brought a new diesel which will save me money in the long term. I had a 1.0 Ltr Petrol focus and it cost me a fortune in fuel. So I went back to Deisel, my wife has got diesel aswell ecosport 1.5,£30 road tax
Consider that any brand new car you buy will suffer minimum £140/yr road tax (unless you get pure electric and can put up with very high purchase cost, crippling range anxiety and the likely necessity of extremely expensive battery replacement within a few years), so by keeping your present car you are saving at least £140/yr for the life of that car. Also consider that new cars suffer the heaviest depreciation – you have hit that already with your current car, so there is little point in hitting it again so soon with a new car. If you buy a petrol car to replace your diesel, you will suffer higher fuel bills as well. My advice – 100% keep your present car.
All governments do is cause problems never solve them. They react to whom ever had the biggest stick.
Low emission petrol cars used to be free of road tax – this is no longer the case. The conservative government did not think the problem of air pollution cthrough in their scramble for cash.
I wouldn’t say vindicated, but the hysteria surrounding the burning of fossil fuels is something that i have never believed. As a (retired) marine engineer, I know that whatever fuel you burn, there are environmental consequences. Even the production of electricity has an environmental impact, and that includes wind and solar. There are ways of reducing mans impact, but it would mean a return to localisation of production of food, clothing etc. and the end of big corporations having a stranglehold over that. A return to mass transport at a reasonable price would also help.
As usual, another government cock-up. In recent years, I don’t think the government of any party has made a decision based on fact and evidence. All we seem to get is knee jerk reactions and no thought on the real problems. I run a large diesel van by choice, a fairly new vehicle that travels with varying loads. Since servicing last year, it has averaged 29.6 mpg. For it’s size, it must be one of the lowest polluting vehicles, but the government would demonise it because it’s diesel. No thought given to the fact that to get the equivalent petrol engined vehicle, it would be putting out a shed load more CO2. No point in trying to replace it with an electric vehicle, there isn’t one that could do the job as there are too few charging stations, and it would need to spend half the day connected to one to cover the required mileage.
As a child I used to picture Parliament as a mad hatter’s tea party. The older I get the more I realize how right I was.
I’m afraid that it’s worse than this Lynn. It’s a mad hatter’s mad house!!
Reduce your required mileage. Only answer.
Yes let’s all do that get a horse and cart
Ralfonso: Your horse would then increase methane gas emissions and polute the streets with it’s waste products whilst the running costs would far out weigh the cost of a newish diesel, plus the trade in value to buy newer more powerfull horse would be lower than the trade in for a diesel car!
You would run in to trouble with the RSPCA as your garage would be too small to house your horse.
The only good point in favour of the horse it that you cant eat a diesel car, but the horse could be quite tasty!
After Brexit this target problem will go away in any case, and as a horse lover I can be happier eating beef.
Which produces more methane which is far worse than CO2 in damaging the planet.
The government are only really serious about taxation from this issue.
Everyone who is on the street daily would realise that most pollution comes from trucks, buses and driving long distances every day. All that is needed is to look at the amount of fuel purchased each week that will tell you how much CO2 and other pollutants you produce. Most in town drivers don’t fill up once a week! Most trucks, vans etc fill up every day and it is not a small amount either.
If the Government was really serious about pollution then we would be using Hydrogen as the fuel source. made from water and burns back to water. So no pollution unless enough is made to cause rain in the cities! Ah but Hydrogen is dangerous to store and highly combustible! So unfortunately we loose a few people in crashes, that already happens! If we kill 40000 people each year with the current method of fuelling vehicles will we still do the same with hydrogen?
Yes we have to produce electricity to make Hydrogen, it has to be cooled and compressed which uses more electricity but this can be done locally therefore reducing the need to transport. It is no more dangerous to transport compressed gasses such as argon, CO2, Oxygen than it is to transport Hydrogen. Cars will run basically the same, no major changes to the combustion engine.
Hydrogen is not particularly heavy and unlike batteries systems should not need to be replaced wen they get older. Oh and Hydrogen does not use a lot of toxic metals.
And what about the impact on the secondhand car market?
My 2.2 litre EU6-rated Mazda 3 SkyActiv diesel does 42mpg on local runs at low ambient temperatures, costs little to insure and just £20 in car tax per annum, but its value has fallen due to diesel-demonisation.
Am I going to trade it in any time soon? I don’t think so!!
The Earth (Our Home) is warming up at an alarming rate, because of CO2 and Methane, Co2 mainly from industry and Methane mainly from Cattle, Sheep and Goats, Methane is much worse than Co2. So why is no one doing anything about the Methane? Is it the Cost? All of these causes including Nox can be gathered at source. But it will cost, so the Earth continues to warm up. It’s true “you can’t take it with you” so why not spend it cleaning up this mess.
Fit Carbon cleaners, get rid of some of the Methane producers (only rich folk can afford Red Meat ), and INVEST in Hydrogen power!
Sorry for the lecture.
Almost a top-notch answer, apart from the bit about the world warming up because of humanity. There is climate evidence going back a long time (from fossil records and more recently the anecdotal evidence of periods of poverty and prosperity) that gives weight to a propostion that the sun is what drives our climate. It has been doing so for billions of years. Between the 17th and 19th Centuries, there was a prolonged period of extremely low sunspot activity (sunspots being the evidence of ejections of energy into space – the more we see, the more solar energy is striking the earth), called the Maunder Minimum. During that period, the world endured widespread social problems from failed harvests, etc, to the point where populations were sometimes driven to revolt – the English civil war, the French revolution, the American war of independence and civil war all occurred dring the Maunder Minimum, a period of historically low global temperatures. Global warming is not a problem – global cooling is a problem.
The industrial revolution unquestionably engendered improvements for humanity, along with CO2 emissions. However CO2 is not the problem – it has a very poor greenhouse gas potential for one thing, not to mention being essential to the plant life upon which the whole world depends. You are right to point out that methane has a much greater greenhouse gas potential than CO2 and if we want to worry about any greenhouse effect, then we need to stop farming livestock and all become totally vegetarian – which rather goes against the grain of evolution because improved access to meat has meant improved brain development which has engendered improved human innovation. Vegetable proteins are also a problem for human males because of phyto-oestrogens that effectively feminise men. The proliferation of environmental synthetic female hormones (mostly in soft plastics, but also ironically in hormone-treated meat from countries like the USA) has contributed to much lower sperm counts in men today compared to 30+ years ago. I suppose this might be marketed as a population control measure, but looking at global populations it is those which have seen the greatest increase of per-capita meat consumption (and also generally don’t consume hormone-treated beef cattle) that also show the greatest rate of growth. The populations of China, India and sub-Saharan Africa are still exploding while in Western Europe and North America there is indigenous population stagnation – our populations only increase because of migration from developing nations.
I have an idea for the methane – how about burning it? I know that it’s not practical for livestock out in fields, but methane from manure, sewage and landfill could be collected. The by-products would be energy (for heating and electricity) and CO2 (for the plants). Win-win. However, a methane-engendered greenhouse effect would not be a bad thing in the first place – evidentially the world prospers during periods of greater warmth.
Think I’ll stick with my diesel DPF intact well serviced low polluter car of the future
Me too. I hope that once the message that these vehicles are better than Petrol get through, the Government will stop demonizing diesels and we’ll find that we’re the solution not the problem.
The solution is to stop driving personal transport as far as possible.
To stop using personal transport requires a massive improvement in public transport which without a dramatic shift in attitude is not happening anytime soon.
Only 20 years ago, buses (hopper or shopper services) ran through estates enabling people to get into towns, but without council/Govt support these dwindled away as large groups (Arriva, 1st Bus, etc.) took over local companies and needed to increase shareholder dividends.
Reduced services resulted in less use, (and greater car use) and the services spiraled out of existence and the only option for most is the car.
Now you can’t catch a bus out of profitable hours in many areas, there’s no public transport on Christmas day or to get home after New Years Eve (No wonder the drink / drive figures are still shocking).
Taxis/private hire/Uber vehicles in many areas are old and polluting and not a solution to curbing pollution, and concessions for their entry into towns and cities (use of bus lanes, etc.), should be stopped – think about it, most ‘cabs’ have to make double the ‘fares’ journey mileage to/from base from/to destination. Such vehicle services should be levied to help improve proper public transport options.
Totally agree, when the bus pass system was introduced, one of the requirements was to reduce congestion in town centres caused by too many single occupancy cars and to reduce pollution. Now it is a political football.
How we got into this mess was an overdose of vested interests over the years, coupled with dubious technical conclusions from incomplete data on emissions, and a lack of Government precision and leadership on all of it, undoubtedly also containing some of the vested interest. We look for example at VW cheating test results, Government changing its mind totally on diesel even though we knew about diesel droplets twenty years ago, a lack of a developed Plan B (charging points for electric cars, electric car/battery development and the power infrastructure to match it); all of that and more, and never a mention of the aviation industry and HGV’s!
The answer is for Government to totally abandon vested interest and to get a grip on the real issues using sound scientific data, and LEAD THE WAY. And never mind “it will come in in five years time”, DO IT NOW before its too late.
a publication of low emitting diesels with a graph showing lowest to highest especially in suv,s would be a great help .all write ups i read all recommend buying the diesel version. i agree with lee smith they should never have done away with the rail network all heavy goods could have been transported this way.
Many trains also driven by diesel.
As a retired Class 1 HGV driver it was hell going to Freightliner with container in evening then doing nearly 400 mile trunk followed by collect from Freightliner on return in morning if hours not up, often waiting for late trains & useless operations that get containers off trains then onto lorry. It was quicker just to do the trunk run & cut out rail costs and wasted time. Due to people wanting fast delivery times trunks had to run even if only a few parcels on the 40′ trailer, cut out a lot of 1 & 2 day deliveries which waste fuel & cause emissions by cutting out almost empty trucks, OK would be less driving jobs but then UK drivers are in short supply so just giving jobs to EU drivers.
If we swapped 30% of diesel cars to petrol it would increase the UK’s total CO2 by about 1-2%. Wow
But would solve a lot of the pollution issues. And they affect animals as well not just humens as they keep saying.
But this can’t happen unless they untax petrol closer to £1 and when more petrol would be used the gov would get the same tax revenue.
It’s the old non DPF diesel’s which we need to get rid of pre 2007,
And theres loads of them and will be for some time as 02-2010 petrols alternatives are mostly £200-300 road tax.
While pre 2002 polluters pay less tax including supercars, V8 range rover, all cars should be 145.
They should also regulate DPF replacement prices as most people are being completely ripped off by insane amounts.
Its not a case of vindication but, simply the inept ideas of uneducated politicians excepting people with waffle ideas and then hoping.
How much pollution is caused by appalling roads? Traffic calming obstacles. Road humps etc.
Every time the throttle is altered it creates many times pollution than on a cruise.
This what a driver has to contend with under the auspice of modern driving.
I feel I am being persecuted more than most who drive a diesel car. My car is a Subaru with the CO and NOx hovering around 0. 2% and the particulates at 0.02% as I believe a lot of deisels give the same readings.
My point is, the government must be held responsible for my perfect car loosing value – would it be possible to sue them for making such ideotic rules.
As one respondent says, lets put all frieght onto the railwaw – this will only help if all the lines are electrified.
It’s Because of all this co2 book figure rubbish.
They should tax planes more, peaple don’t need to visit every island on earth but they do need to get to work, get food and maybe dare i say have a nice day out sometimes.
And theres already plans for toll roads if we all go electric, gov should rely less on taxing local transport.
You are correct Dan, insomuch as for example, take Heathrow airport whereby a jet aircraft takes off on average once every minute and with the amount of fuel it burns trying to gain height and the fact that jet fuel emits the same amount of NOx per litre as a diesel engine it comes as no surprise that London has a high amount of NOx, and what is the mayor of London doing? he wants an extra runway built so that Heathrow can handle MORE aircraft, In my view the title of “the biggest knee jerker” is a tie between the mayor and Michael Gove MP, the man behind the demonization of diesel cars.
The new runway is required to cope with the increase in air traffic as it runs at nearly full capacity at the moment, causing planes to be stacked and circling the airport until a runway is available. A new runway would reduce this polution from stacking aircraft, and along with the reduction in polution with new jet engine design, the overall picture is favourable to a new runway.
As I used to live a mile away from Heathrow, I can tell you that emission and noise pollution is a lot lower now than ten years ago.
What rubbish If, for instance I want to fly to New Zealand I have to travel from Scotland to Heathrow. This I did recently simply because local airports do not fly to NZ but they will fly me from Edinburgh to Heathrow. A real cracker of fuel & emission savings !!
The world does not revolve around London you know!!
Brian, at the moment most of the electricity generated comes from the burning of fossil fuels.
!!!! This is self-opinionated fake news. I quote from the Guardian – “Power generated from low carbon sources hit 54.4% between July and September, according to Office for National Statistics. More than half of the UK’s electricity came from nuclear power stations and renewables between July and September, 2017 official figures show. The record high share of 54.4% of power from low carbon sources was a result of the rapid growth in solar and wind power, according to the Office for National Statistics. During the same period in 2016 the share for low carbon electricity stood at 50%, and in 2015 it was 45%.”
Your point about electrification of those railways which are still relying on diesel power is so right. We have enjoyed two holidays to European destinations now, and the one thing that really stands out is the almost total lack of diesel powered trains. Long haul and short haul are electric powered. There were a few local trains in Germany, which were serving some of the more remote locations, with lower frequency services, which were diesel powered, but even they were very low on emissions – and they did not stand idling for long periods polluting the atmosphere as British diesels tend to do. Another feature of the British railway system which has all but disappeared are marshalling yards. Due to the reduction in rail freight in this country, they are not needed. On the continent they are a feature of all the major centres, and they were the only locations where diesel shunters were noted. Full trains were all hauled by electric locomotives.
It is only a month or so ago that it was announced that the planned electrification of the line from Paddington to Wales and the Southwest was to be shelved. That will really help to improve railway efficiency won’t it?!
It has already been commented that there seems to be scant regard to the pollution caused by ships, which are running all around the globe with engine(s) running for days on end pumping out emissions. They also tend to use heavy oil as fuel rather than light diesel fuel used by cars.
Basically bought in to get more cars off the overcrowded roads, people on average or low incomes will be forced off the roads on to non-existent public transport. OK though for the rich or those who get company cars supplied, they’ll be able to commute to work faster in their super-duper hybrid race cars..
The company car users now pay extra tax for having a company car, so no gains there.
The main reason for this attack on diesel transport is to push people towards buying electric cars, but with batteries not having a long life (plus you don’t own them), coupled with the near zero trade in value of these vehicles, i’ll stick with my diesel car thank you.
Reactive instead of responsive govt. If govt really wants to meet the targets, they’d opt for culture change. Encourage Business to make for their staff possible the choice of working from home or a suitable facility close to home as a viable alternative. Lives would improve. Sadly That won’t happen because collecting more fuel tax is much easier for govt and requires no effort than taking a responsible lead.
Many many jobs do not have a possible option of working from home,as a retired maintainance fitter in industry how do i work from home I can`t bring the factory home it is mainly office jobs that can be done from home as one of my sons does working in IT & works from home.
My thoughts exactly.
I used to work a CNC wood boring / routing machine that cost well over £120,000. I couldn’t see my employer locating that in my garage and connecting me to a 440-volt 3-phase electricity supply, and then delivering and collecting pre and post production materials.
I think the government have got it wrong again . I think they should be encouraging car companies to improve diesel emissions in cars . Diesel lorries have add blue to reduce emissions so why cant they do it to cars.
My last four diesel cars have all run on AdBlue.
Where can you buy this AdBlue and how much is it?
I really think you should read up on what it is you are commenting on regarding ad blue in cars
Lord Monkton believes climate change is untrue. Geo engineering of the climate is real. Britain and the US government have been doing it
for years. Its all to get us plebs of the roads and onto public transport.
At the moment its the demonetization of diesel .After that .It’ll be petrol.
As always, government opens its mouth before engaging its brains? I like my diesel estate car and will be buying another.
Where to start with this article? I’m sure it was a lot earlier than 2008 that G Brown introduced the CO2-based road taxation – maybe 2001? Also, on the matter of battery technology moving on so fast, it really is not moving on. The truth is that there has been zero battery innovation since lithium-ion batteries were invented, which means there has been zero improvement in the performance of EVs – they still have vastly inferior energy density compared to a tank of fuel, they require so much time to recharge that any journey longer than the realistic single-charge duration of the batteries will take much longer than in a normal vehicle and such journeys have to be very carefully planned to take in the location of charging points. It’s true that a 2-year-old EV will be poor compared to a brand new one, but only because after 2 years those batteries will have suffered a reduction in their storage capacity, making them even dodgier. Pure electric and hybrid vehicles are a fraud – you cannot drive one and pretend that you are helping to cut pollution when the amount of (fossil-fuel-derived) energy that went into their manufacture was colossal. Pure EVs are useful in one circumstance only – short journeys in high-density urban traffic where they are less likely to run out of charge before passsing another charging station or returning home – but they do not reduce pollution in their operation, merely moving that pollution to the power station (most likely fossil-fuelled). Hybrids are pointless when a decent diesel will outperform them in normal operations.
NOx emissions increase as a result of improved engine efficiency – by making an engine run with a leaner air-to-fuel mixture, you improve the fuel economy and the performance, whilst reducing CO2 per mile, but nitrogen oxide emissions increase. This has been understood for decades – I recall reading about it in reference to Ford’s lean burn petrol engines in the late 1980s. The ‘fix’ employed by Volkswagen et al (to make their diesel engines comply with NOx emissions standards after the ‘dieselgate’ scandal) was simply to make the engines run a richer mixture, thereby reducing the lean burn effect but increasing CO2 emissions and reducing performance.
The haulage industry (certainly in the UK, very likely right across the EU) already operates under the weight of EU6 compliance, mainly the use of ‘AdBlue’-type additive to reduce NOx emissions. The UK haulage fleet is relatively young and so a relatively high percentage of vehicles are EU6 compliant (which could be contrasted to Australia where their haulage fleet is so old that one in three lorries predate all emissions regulations going back to 1995). Do not demonise hauliers – they are the heartbeat of the nation and diesel is the lifeblood. Marine diesel is a different kettle of fish – you try enforcing marine diesel taxes on ships that can cross the world without refuelling, for a start. They will find a low/zero-tax country that will sell them fuel somewhere along their global routes. Relatively locally, cross-channel ferry travel got much more expensive when marine diesel was taxed a few years ago, but it hasn’t changed the ferries which will probably keep running with the same engines for decades. Arguably, the only benefit for the imposition of the tax was to subsidise the chronically-unprofitable Channel Tunnel.
Targeting diesel cars over 10 years of age. These are most likely driven by people who could least afford to splash out on a new car. They are likely still more economical than the newest petrol cars and the amount of pollution that one such older car produces during the remainder of its operational life will likely be less than the amount of pollution produced by the manufacture of a new electric or hybrid-electric car to replace it. The government encouraged the uptake of diesel vehicles, motorists obliged by buying them and now we must be permitted to run them as intended.
Lastly, if a high proportion of motorists switch to EVs, the government will find a growing hole in its tax receipts, so it’s unrealistic to expect that tax incentives for EVs will last long. We have already seen the tightening of new-car VED in 2017 because of so-many cars achieving sub-120g (and even sub-100g) COs emissions. This will probably have the effect of making pre-2017 diesels more valuable for those looking to spend near-zero on VED for the life of their vehicle instead of £140/yr or however much it is now. I would not be surprised if the government dreams up some tax aimed at EVs based on the energy typically used to manufacture their batteries – it would certainly be the fairest tax and would blow a hole in the EV propaganda about pollution reduction.
I dispute the number 40000 deaths,by diesel,that surely a world wide figure, do they do post mortems on th bodies,and find nox particals .of cause theyn dont ,goverment propaganda,to get more money from us.WE should be able to sue the goverment for bad information.I run 2 Diesels ,and if i sell them I`m going to loose a fortune.Being retired now I bought them to keep for a while ,but now they have lost so much money ,I will keep them till they dont go anymore.
This figure came from a report by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.
I too am retired and was going to trade in my low emission 3 year old diesel for a hybrid. Then I found out how very very low the value of my car is to traders – I also made the decision to keep mine for as long as it keeps going!
Your decision is fine Carol, keep your car going – I do. But what qualifies you to claim it’s “low emission”? And exactly what emissions is your 3 year old diesel low in outputting? Serious question – do you know the numbers?
Since diesels became popular in the last 30 years I’ve had perennial rhinitis. Doc says the connection is particulates that never used to be there. Fewer cars altogether!
Buy a hat
Do like the Japanese and wear a face mask everywhere you go when outside.
I am a smug EV driver who has his car on a lease and so do not need to worry about resale value.
Is the car expensive? Yes.
But I don’t need to worry about car tax, congestion charge or making my hands smell of petrol/fuel.
Main problem is that charging needs planning when away from home. But this will get easier as more chargers come into play.
Sadly, one never gets something for nothing. The amount you pay, as everyone, is the total cost of all parts of running a vehicle, so your monthly payment covers all these charges.
Still driving my 2002 VW Bora TDI.
not worth selling now, not that I want to. Even if I did, I would not be in the market for a new (Anything over £2000) car.
If and when I do change, I assume it will be another diesel as they remain affordable.
that in effect defeats the object, surely!!!
Kneejerk reactions always bring in anomalies. Much better to gently persuade change. My first diesel – now a ten year old VW Passat has been brilliant and I shall go for another soon. I would love electric but I don’t have the finance for an expensive new one and as stated in the article the changes are rapid and your purchase is soon out of date. Also I don’t wish to spend half an hour recharging in the middle of a journey.
A natural evolution was and still is taking place in the petrol engine world, which has been bringing benefits both in efficiency and exhausts.
Let the industry lead the field and not bureaucrats.
I’ll stick with my 21 year old 2lt lpt saab.. having never had a new car i would say my damage to the environment is minimal ..basicaly I recycle and don’t follow the must haves trend of a new car .. I regularly do round trips of 400 miles with no probs, last mot my co2 read was lower than most new cars …its all tosh to make the masses support the governments cash cow VAT !!!
I have monitored the info. Re new car diesel emission and this information reinforces my decision to go diesel again with my next car.
Cool – what info did you find? I was under the impression from the BBC that a new Nissan diesel is 40x different to a new Mercedes diesel in what it emits when driven. So what’s a “clean diesel”?
Just a small aside re the difference in refuelling cars. At the moment if I pull into a filling station and it’s really busy, I might need to wait five minutes to get to a pump and refuel my car. The refuelling process probably takes another five minutes. Now move on to the time when we’re all being forced to use the electric Noddy cars… You pull into a charging station that is amazingly busy and have to wait for a charging point to be available. It could easily be an hour long wait (or much more) BEFORE you eventually get to plug in your invalid carriage and then another extensive wait while it charges! I hope the government is going to provide lots of bed ‘n breakfast places around charging stations!
Of course they will think of all the extra revenue & taxes they will be able to charge us.
Nobody seems to understand that our earth is a carbon based planet, nearly everything on it comes with carbon content which is then recycled in myriad ways so the overall balance of carbon is the same. I don’t suppose it will be too long before some ‘Genius’ will come up with the idea of capping of ALL the worlds active volcanoes and preventing the emission of millions tons of carbon being excreted into the atmosphere each day except how long before the whole planet explodes and solves all our problems.
I drive a diesel car and would never go back to a petrol one on economy alone let alone starting on cold and damp days.
Let’s be quite clear about the situation. Nitrogen Dioxide particulates from diesel engines (particularly those less than 2.5 microns in size) are a real health hazard, and Carbon Dioxide emissions contribute to the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ and global warming. There are no easy answers, but let’s face it, in the UK we are living on a grossly overcrowded island with ever increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads.
I have to be frank and say that I think that the government is on the right track in penalising diesel. Nitrogen Dioxide (which diesels emit) was, (according to the European Environment Agency) responsible for 11,940 premature deaths in the UK in 2013, so something really had to be done to tackle these emissions.
Yes we’ve got to tackle Carbon Dioxide emissions as well. Maybe the way forward is to actively discourage the use of cars for every journey. How many people get in their car to go less than half a mile when they could easily walk that distance (children and the school run springs to mind). The government is consulting on making HGV’s pay for every mile they cover in a bid to reduce road damage. It will have a knock on effect of reducing unnecessary journeys by lorries. Wouldn’t a similar scheme for cars have a similar beneficial effect?
New diesels already have lower emissions levels if best current technology is used than electric cars that require rare earth metals and electricity produced by highly polluting methods.
Let’s face it politicians are incompetent, they focus on single issues, produce costly “incentives” and ignore reality because they run with the pack to ensure their own survival. Look at the performance figures extolled by car makers with the approval and insistence of officialdom, does any make of car actually achieve those fantasy fuel economy and emissions in real use! No! It’s only the small print which prevents prosecution under trade descriptions. But don’t make too much of the laboratory condition tests because if they ever cotton on, the government will devise a solution that means cars may only be used in laboratory conditions or with special expensive licences.
You say fantasy fuel economy figures
I assume you’re referring to VW. I own a VW golf 1.9 diesel if I drive it sensibility I can average 59mpg on occasions traffic conditions permitting I’ve achieved 80mpg, where’s the fantasy in that.
@60MPG+ we’re sticking with our Diesel.
All this hoo hah can be laid fairly at the doors of uninformed Govt and uninspiring Greenest.
This article is good example of how decisions are made without understanding the issue. It goes a length to criticise the government decisions which were wrong, but fails identify issues and show real picture itself. First of all it doesn’t matter which car emits more NOx or CO2.. those 2 are just a few of dozen pollutants emitted by ICE engines, so looking to these isolated examples of toxic gases makes no sense. What is needed is comprehensive understanding of what comes out of pipe, politicians have no clue and this article doesn’t help either. Now claimed increase is based on “paper values” which is what is the biggest problem in solving pollution. First all we need to devise testing methodology which reflects realistic load of the vehicle, the sample of the exhaust gases then should be used to understand which vehicles are the cleanest (and that is definitely not going to be diesel). But even then the problem is not in the cars.. it is in outdated infrastructure (UK has the worst traffic jams in EU).. the only good point made above is that government should look beyond private vehicles, because most pollution comes from public transport, haulage and other sources.. especially NOx. A lot more understanding is needed to make decision…. but I tend to believe government doesn’t want to understand, because then they would need to spend on infrastructure whereas now they just have an excuse to tax more apparently for “environmental causes”.
Once again we get in a fix because ignorant Civil Servants listen to the wrong people (Enviro Nazis) instead of the car industry who know what’s in the pipeline. I hope that once the message gets through the Government will do the right thing. Trouble is that it often takes too long.
I am in dialogue with the Department for Transport who have stated they are now actively looking for any innovative means of immediately reducing carbon emission levels in vehicles. They have been made aware of my product now available on the market that will reduce carbon by 70%+ and increase mpg by 10-15% I have suggested they should consider subsidising these devices making them affordable to all vehicles regardless of age or size. Such an approach is required to beat the problem and it would cost them a drop in the ocean compared to what they have set aside for councils and others to address the problem.
How can we get this device and what does it cost?
All the info is on the website and fitting at one of 4500 service centres is included in the price.Carbon savings are registered on a data bank so so the government know how much we are saving.
Comes with a lifetime guarantee and no servicing.
Try web address quoted http://WWW.sustainableflow.org
Said this would happen right from the outset. As usual Tory government do not speak to folk in the know about these matters. You cannot be more efficient than a good quality well maintained diesel, be it car or truck. It is my belief it also takes less crude to produce a gallon of diesel than for petrol. Yes I know possibly different crude is used for both but it is still non renewable resources. Do we run diesel? Yes we both have diesel cars.
All taxes should be placed on the fuel itself, including Road Tax, then those using the roads the most would (fairly) pay the most. This same government brought changes to farm tractors which means these current fuel consuming and road damaging vehicles pay NO ROAD TAX and run on cheaper (not so clean) red diesel. They are allowed to gross over 31 tonnes without the drivers having to pass an HGV test. Small wonder so many are now involved in serious road accidents.
Politicians are a waste of space, they accept that the so called “experts” know what they are talking about and thus the law of unintended consequences kicks in. I run a 2013 2L diesel and the way it’s going I don’t intend changing it just because some idiot/expert says it’s bad for the environment. I’ll bet there are more deaths caused by monstrous potholes in our roads than result from pollution, get the roads sorted out and then tackle the pollution topic starting with the giant cruisers and freight ferries that use crude oil when at sea.
What you got to realise is that these so called experts are paid by the government to back up their claims and if you pay enough you can get any result you want!! Probably comes down to the point some company owner want to sell more of an item in this case electric cars so they lobby the mp’s (or back hand them). like Global warming is a lie as the earth has been getting warmer since the ice age or was the end of the ice age caused by humans, cause not and according to experts we will have another mini ice age in about 15 years time. Also let be honest the weather has only had data kept for just over a hundred years so before then we dont know what the weather cycles was like except we know we had a mini ice age around the 1600’s.
NOx kills 40,000 people a year. That’s bad! But remember the worlds population is rising faster than this….
CO2 kills the Ozone Layer that in turn WILL kill, as of today, 7 BILLION people when it’s gone. That’s horrifying! Which ever-way we turn for mankind to go about his daily business some person has to pay.
Solution……God only knows!
I drive a 2015 vw passat with a 2litre diesel engine and often return 60mpg, with co2 emissions of 107g/km. Due to ridiculous company car tax policies I will be forced to buy a petrol hybrid version in future knowing full well I will be lucky to get 40mpg out of the petrol engine and will have no way to plug it in at home to re-charge it.
How can that possibly be any better for the environment?
Look other European countries. some has lorry stop from Friday evening till Sunday night. if you want to travel with lorry they put them on a rail and off you go. Less pollution less traffic less accident and still the goods are on the way…
instead of forcing ppl get rid off diesel cars put the diesel price down like other European countries!!!
Top of that they can use bio diesel as alternative. many countries using in they diesel nearly half half. cars still running fine… my Mondeo use bio diesel for years. No problem. Just need it a new filter on the fuel line…
I’m not a scientist but I knew that the pro diesel decision about car taxation was terribly flawed from the beginning(diesel train travel messed up my breathing).I only do 2000 miles pa so although I have a 3L petrol car purely for leg room reasons I told the government transport department that I could not possibly do as much damage as most diesel users and therefore should not pay the (then) £500 annual tax.Effectively they rubbished my pleading for a fairer methodology and the tax is now £535. If I had the money Ishould havechallenged the government in the European Courts!
Any car, petrol diesel electric etc. Would be far more efficient around town if all councils looked at congestion. I live on the outskirts of Cardiff. Over the last 10 years major so called road improvements which include extra roundabouts, speed bumps narrowing of slip roads and even speed bumps on a roundabout!?? These have actually made congestion worse. When any car is stationary, it pumps out harmful chemicals in built up areas
The combination of high tax on company cars, the need to travel 30,000 + miles for work each year and good fuel mileage from diesel cars lead me to buy an expensive, large engined diesel car. The idea was that it would last me a long time, minimise my effect on the environment and cost me as little as possible whilst allowing me to travel the distances I have to without crippling myself. Now I find I’ve been screwed over by government policy and have no idea which way to turn. Do I spend a lot of money on a petrol engined car, do I buy a hybrid, can I afford to now that my £40k car is worth nothing !
Looking at the 2016 MOT database there are 3,301,499 diesels registered before 2006 that passed the MOT (9% of the cars on the road). Surely this the cause of the pollution not the modern euro 6 diesel. As a cyclist I love clean air and struggle to breath when these old diesels pass me. I pay a premium to drive a less polluting petrol car through lower MPG.
This post focuses on the demonisation of diesel as the sole reason for “this mess”, but I think the real reasons are twofold; First, the emissions tests are flawed. Even “new super low diesel emission” cars can perform very differently in the (new) test and in the real world, so it’s a misleading term in the first place. Some diesels are genuinely clean, some are not. Second, the whole dieselgate emissions test cheat devices used by the car industry cast a massive shadow over the whole development of diesel and these things are what triggered the demonisation.
Demonisation is only the latest thing for headlines to catch onto with people’s short memories. It’s a consequence of much worse things that came before it which lead to the situation we’re in where we need to try and aggressively clean things up. No, petrol is not the answer and the government should perhaps better incentivise hybrids as a stop-gap towards fully electrified options.
Because… if we’re honest, burning fossil fuels in any form is never going to meet continually lower standards of emissions. Hybrids and ultimately other electrified forms of transport are required, and it’s a shame their progress is still so far behind the curve in terms of meeting people’s requirements and lowering costs.
It all comes down to the car industry’s greed, criminality, and reticence to move away from combustion.
I have a diesel with an adblue tank. As I understand it that makes my car less polluting and yet it seems that I will still be penalised for driving a diesel, which uses less fuel per km and emits less CO2 and NOx. I don’t trust any government – there will always be someone with a hidden agenda in there!
I have just bought a new diesel with adblue technology too. My feeling, like yours, was that this would be the least polluting option. I’d like to hear some opinions from other people who know more than me about adblue and how it works.
I’ve had diesels for years. They are more reliable than petrols. They should make all diesel cars with add blue like lorries to lower emissions even more.