RAC Cars News


Auto Industry Condemns The Demonisation Of Diesel

By raccars Published

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Chief executives of a number of major motor manufacturers have come together this week, to criticise local councils for levying extra parking charges for diesel cars. Calling the councils 'ill-informed,' bosses from BMW, Ford and Jaguar claim the exercise is a cynical, money making scheme.

The emotive subject has gained a lot of press recently, with the announcement that residents of Islington in North London will pay a higher residents' parking fee if they own a diesel car. Islington Council claims the move is designed to encourage drivers to buy cleaner and greener vehicles but industry chiefs, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, said it makes no sense to penalise diesel drivers after years of governmental pressure to switch to diesel, in the mistaken belief that this was the cleaner option.

The group of executives also expressed concern that moves to marginalise diesel could endanger the massive workforce producing modern, clean, diesel engines in the UK, both for the domestic and international markets. About 900,000 diesel engines, including modern Euro 6 compliant units, will be built in the UK this year, benefiting the economy by £2.8 billion. Some 85% of these will be exported.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has launched a new campaign aiming to stem the rising tide of anti-diesel rhetoric, which it claims is misguided and threatens rational policy making. The SMMT believes that advanced diesel technology has made the fuel much cleaner than it used to be. The Society revealed that a YouGov survey saw 72% of drivers disapproved of the plans to impose penalties on newer, cleaner diesel vehicles. More than half of survey respondents incorrectly believed that combustion engine powered vehicles were the biggest contributor to UK air pollution problems. Power stations are, in fact, the worst polluters in the UK, with nitrogen oxide emissions from one coal fired plant four times higher than the total number of cars on the road in Britain. The SMMT claims that since 2002, diesel car drivers have saved nearly 3 million tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

The SMMT's campaign also points out that if diesel were to be discontinued in the UK, British drivers would use 11% more fuel and pay an extra £315 million per year.

Exemptions to the extra charge will be made for taxi drivers, builders, plumbers and others who use their car for business.

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