Dec '1619

Is The End In Sight For Diesel Cars?

Diesel cars have long been touted as the wiser and more sensible alternative to petrol for most car buyers, and rightly so, with diesel engines producing higher levels of torque and delivering better mileage than the equivalent petrol engine, it is understandable why the popularity of diesel vehicles has increased significantly since the start of the millennium, this trend is especially visible in larger executive and SUV vehicles where Petrol engines are solely available on very high-performance model variants or very prestigious makes and models.

In fact the popularity of diesel technology has grown so much that it has even crept into what one might have previously considered completely alien territory i.e. the Sports car sector, yet it made the jump through the likes of popular vehicles such as the Audi TT 2.0 TDI, in which, with the exception of the odd hot hatch like the VW Golf GTD, 10 years ago it would have been relatively unfathomable to see a diesel sports car on the road.


With prices of fuel having increased considerably over the last two decades, diesel has increasingly made economic sense for both businesses and private high mileage drivers alike. These economic benefits have been further enhanced in recent times with generous road tax terms for cars with the lowest emissions, many of which included diesel engine cars, which made them especially attractive as company cars.

Although our love affair with diesel may still be going strong, this relationship could be heading towards some rough terrain. With recent the international emissions scandals involving leading diesel car makers such as Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and potentially others hiding the true level of emissions produced by their cars. This could have tax implications for drivers who buy new diesel cars of the mentioned culprit models.

Many long term diesel drivers have enjoyed relatively low road tax rates for a number of years, including in some cases free road tax due to low emissions produced by their engines, but these rules are likely to change in the coming year with new revisions made to road tax rules and charges with free road tax now reserved only for zero emission cars such as electric vehicles. This change could drastically impact one of the core selling points of diesel cars, low road tax.

Nearly All Diesel Cars Failed Their Emissions Tests

Coupled with changing tax regulation authorities running 3 of the biggest cities in Europe, namely Paris, Athens and Madrid, concerned with high levels of pollution have committed to banning Diesel from these major cities by 2025. With further bans potentially coming in the future within Germany, the spread of any diesel ban within Europe, combined with the increasing viability of Electric as an ultra-low emission fuel alternative to Diesel and Petrol, time is looking increasingly limited for the traditional diesel engine.

Range and recharge time have always been the key factors holding back the take up of electric powered vehicles, whilst economy and range have always been one of the key selling points of diesel power. As Electric technology improves and the range and recharge factors are addressed, the USP of Diesel is going to be ebbed away.

Combined with improved investment in public transport in European Cities looking to reduce air pollution, we may be seeing diesel fuel power go the way of steam...

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