For many years, diesel cars have been seen by many as more economical and more environmentally friendly than their petrol equivalents.

Much of the reason for the latter is that governments have chosen to focus on CO2 emissions when determining car tax rates, and this had lead to many people choosing diesel vehicles as the most wallet-friendly choice.

However, in recent times, diesel cars have suffered something of a backlash. While CO2 emissions may be lower in diesels, other emissions that damage the environment, such as particulates and nitrogen, are in fact much higher in these vehicles.

According to a report on Gas 2, Barry Gardiner, the UK’s Shadow Environment Minister, has said that the UK’s past approach of basing tax on CO2 emissions alone was “the wrong decision.” He’s even gone as far as saying that the outcome of the decision has caused a “massive problem for public health.”

Over the Channel in France, there’s been a similar U-turn on diesel. The French prime minister has made a similar pronouncement that their preference for diesel vehicles was “a mistake.”

Back in July last year, we reported on how London mayor Boris Johnson had put forward a proposal to charge diesel drivers a “pollution charge” in central London. With governments in more than one country now seeming to come around to the idea that diesels are more polluting than petrol cars, one can only assume movements like this will continue to gain traction.

It’s very clear who all this is unfair on: the many motorists who bought diesel cars because they were conditioned to think they were the more sensible and responsible option. If they are going to be encouraged to swap their vehicles, one must hope that some sensible incentives appear.

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