Save for a brief period where diesel fuel was on sale for a lower price than unleaded a short while ago, diesel drivers haven’t had a fantastic 2015 so far.
After championing the use of diesels for many years, the government has now changed tack, and the Volkswagen emission scandal has brought into sharp focus just how polluting diesel vehicles can be.
The weekend delivered various press reports about diesel cars. One article in Wales Online even discussed the prospect of pre-2015 diesels being banned in Wales by 2020, as their presence on the roads is likely to mean it’s impossible to meet previously agreed EU emissions targets.
Meanwhile, The Independent reported on another diesel-related issue, which has been simmering away in the background for some time – the issue of motorists removing the diesel particulate filters from older diesel cars to reduce their servicing bills, resulting in huge increases in pollution.
Diesel particulate filters prevent excess pollution entering the atmosphere from diesel cars. They typically have a lifespan of about 80,000 miles and, according to the article, cost around £1500 to replace. This is a significant bill for a car with 80,000 miles on the clock – in some cases potentially coming close to the value of the car. As such, it seems many drivers have arranged to have to filters removed instead, resulting in “tens of thousands” of cars pumping out far more pollution than they should be.
Thanks to a loophole in the law, garages can remove the filters legally. It’s illegal to drive a car with the DPF removed, but it’s so difficult to detect the removal that the changes aren’t necessarily even noticed during MOT tests.
Something tells us this isn’t the last diesel-related scandal we’re going to hear in the coming days and weeks.