After my visit in April to ‘The Commercial Vehicle Show’ at the NEC, I wanted to explore further into the industry, especially after hearing speculations about changes in the way we use diesel cars. After seeing so many electric vans such as the Plug-in Hybrid Transit on the Ford stand as well as other electric commercial vehicles made me think that this diesel ban may be more serious than I first thought. So, the 2040 Diesel Ban is under way but how will it affect us?
Are you a diesel car user? What do you need to know?
In certain cities diesel cars have been targeted with charges such as increased parking rates and nationally are being affected by increased road tax and company car tax. The government are pushing to improve our air quality but from reviewing the ‘Diesel Timeline’ below, Auto Express (2018), how can diesel have such a negative following as it was still being backed by the government only 6 years ago. Charges have been discussed for driving in cities such as London, Birmingham and Derby and councils are making plans for charges in other congested areas.
1997: Kyoto Protocol
UK signs the agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5 per cent of 1990 levels by 2012. A reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is needed.
2001: Tax reform
Chancellor Gordon Brown introduces new vehicle excise duty rates that heavily favour diesel vehicles thanks to their lower average carbon dioxide emissions.
2012: New diesel sales peak
Just 10 years after the new taxes, the sale of new car diesels grew from 17 per cent in 2001 to a high of 51 per cent in 2012, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
2015: VW emissions scandal
Arguably the biggest scandal to hit the sector in years. More than 11 million cars recalled, with diesel’s reputation tarnished badly.
2018: Diesel backlash
Cities in Germany win the right to ban diesels, while cities and councils in the UK plot diesel charging zones on top of other measures.
Some regions are discussing charges for most diesel cars including vans, buses and lorries but the focus is on vehicles that are more than 2 and half years old, newer cars will not be affected due to the cleaner technology. The fear of excessive charges is not just a rumour, according to buyacar (2018) new diesel car sales were 37% down on the previous year with 91,00 fewer cars registered.
The new charges expected are: Higher road tax, city charges in London and other cities, parking surcharges and increased permit costs.
According to Autocar.co.uk (2018), the rising of tax on diesel cars, is having effects on big brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and the changes have driven down demand for diesel cars. Diesel now represents just 33.5% of the new car market, down from a 44% share last year. Diesel demand fell by 37.2% in March. Jaguar’s XE and XF are understood to have been hit most heavily, although almost every model has been affected because diesels account for around 90% of JLR’s sales. Autocar.co.uk said that ‘Jeremy Hicks explained that particulate emissions from diesel engines had been reduced by 95% in the past decade as a result of the introduction of diesel particulate filters (DPFs). He also highlighted that a cow emits as much CO2 in a year as a petrol car driving 8000 miles and that domestic woodburners accounted for 17% of PM2.5 particulates in 2013 and road transport 18%.’
What does the diesel ban mean for the Transport and Logistics industry?
Luckily heavy goods vehicles (HGV) are not planned to be included in the 2040 Diesel Ban. In July 2017 when the report was released Chris Graying, Transport Secretary, said “We are also putting forward proposals for van drivers to have the right to use heavier vehicles if they are electric or gas-powered, making it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner commercial vehicles”. An important point I saw was that under proposed new laws, manufacturers found to be using devices on their vehicles to cheat emissions tests could face criminal and civil charges, with fines of up to £50,000 for every device installed.
Is There a Solution?
My findings show that charges look to be around £50 extra per week for diesel owners, when taking average charges into consideration. After reviewing a colleague’s mileage who owns a diesel car and isn’t a frequent city driver, diesel saves him around 20% compared to petrol as he travels long distances so using diesel may still be the best choice in this case. The solution to reduce potential charges is to look into a newer diesel vehicle if this is your preferred choice of fuel as it should meet the latest emission standards “Euro 6”. For commercial vehicles the use of electric or gas-powered vehicles are going to be backed by the government so I think we will soon see a vast range of suitable vehicles reaching the market soon. At Secal we are looking forward to the new revolution of vehicles and what it means for our manufacturing facility from customers needs through to our own transport fleet.
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