It sounds like the opposite of what you’ve been told for the past 10-15 years. Diesels have generally been marketed as being far more fuel efficient than petrol, potentially offering incredibly good miles per gallon, which is supposed to be good for the environment, and engine longevity. Now however, this article suggests that there are proposals to place additional taxes on many diesel-powered cars when they go into certain areas of several UK cities, and this is because while the vehicles might be efficient on fuel, they aren’t actually that good for the environment, or indeed, people.
The problem is the exhaust fumes coming from these cars. We all know about carbon emissions and their impact, but in this case it’s the many other particulates that diesel engines produce during combustion. Things like nitrogen dioxide can cause all manner of respiratory issues, to an extent that has only been realised in recent years. Air pollution is a major issue for healthcare in many countries around the world, with estimates suggesting 29,000 people die each year because of it.
It’s these findings that are driving the EU to demand countries across the area reduce their levels of air pollution, and in turn making the authorities plan to reduce the number of diesel cars in areas where there’s a high concentration of people. In London for instance, older diesels are likely to incur an additional £10 cost over the normal congestion charge, which should start to put people off and improve air quality. Several other UK cities are going to be trialling a similar system soon.
So is it really time you thought about getting rid of your diesel? Well, you’ve probably got a few years yet before these kinds of charges find their way into most city centres, but with petrol vehicles becoming more and more efficient, the argument for a diesel starts to unravel pretty quickly. It’s unlikely that the government will make quick changes, but in the future it does seem to be very likely that we’ll see taxes on diesel increasing in a number of ways, from fuel duty to vehicle excise duty. There’s no need to panic and sell your diesel powered car just yet, but the next time you come to buying a car, it’s probably worth taking all of this into account.