Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back in 2001 we witnessed CO2 hysteria. The world, anxious climate scientists told us, would heat up uncontrollably due to man-made CO2 hastening climate change and tail pipe-emission from passenger cars was a major cause. The European Union and governments round the world enacted legislation to clean up transport emissions and it has to be said that much of that legislation was a good thing. That's why modern petrol cars with catalytic convertors and oxygen sensors have become so much cleaner in the last decade. Its also fair to say the same legislative zeal from the EU has given us much more frugal fuel efficient engines and petrol cars that can achieve as much as 75 mpg. The car industry rose to the challenge and our new generation of Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines really are a significant technological achievement.

But that flurry of political activity to save the ozone layer brought some bad decisions too. And the worst was seeing diesel as a better alternative to petrol. Despite only producing slightly less CO2 than petrol, diesel was hailed as a greener fuel. In fact the Department for Transport told us that 'Compared to petrol, diesel vehicles have significantly lower levels of CO2 emissions per kilometre travelled because of the higher efficiency of of diesel engines and have a lower impact on climate change' . Even the Highway Code told new drivers that diesel cars would be a greener choice. Gordon Brown in his 2001 budget reduced the duty on diesel by 3p and it didn't take long for UK drivers to start buying diesel cars in their millions because that lower fuel duty translated lower cost at the pumps. High fuel duty on petrol encouraged consumers to wring every last mile from their cars and who can blame them for trying to save money? The end result of all that pro-diesel activity is that now half the cars on UK roads are now powered by diesel.

But that political evangelism forgot to look at other emissions from diesel, namely Nitrous Oxide and particulates. Which may not have seemed such a threat to climate change but have now become a public health time bomb. This is pollution you can actually see in the form of clouds of black particles from van, car, bus and taxi exhausts and those tiny particulates (or PM10s) are causing thousands of premature deaths a year. The car industry quickly fitted Diesel Particulate Filters to derv-powered cars, but these units block up quickly and have to be replaced or regenerated relatively regularly. The AA and RAC are called out to thousands of breakdowns due to blocked DPF filters every month.

So now we have diesel hysteria and the enemy isn't CO2, its now NOx and PM10s. And politicians and the EU are rushing to control the public health implications of the ill-informed decisions of 2001. There's a very real danger that we could see higher fuel duty levels on diesel to discourage its use and millions of well-intentioned car owners who were only following official advice could be disadvantaged financially. The good work that FairFuelUK has done to control transport costs in the UK could now be undone if duty on 50% of the UK's fuel consumption rises. For the haulage industry this could cause a massive rise in costs and cause inflation increases, lower national GDP and reduced consumer spending. The Government needs to be very careful here and not react with the reckless speed it did in 2001.

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[ posted by christine Berrill, 02.08.14 15:51 ]

I drive a diesel Yaris and would not want to be charged to enter London in it ,its bad enough I have to pay more in fuel prices let alone be charged more to be entering London in it it would then be cheaper for me to get the train ,is that the right answer !!!!!


[ posted by David Watson, 02.08.14 15:53 ]

Diesel powered container ships are a much bigger enemy than cars. It is reported that just the '15' largest out of over 100,000 commercial vessels afloat create more NO2, PM10's and CO2 than ALL the worlds 330 million cars. Of course, billionaire shipping magnates will make sure their puppets on string politicians never harm their income though, not whilst the common man can be raped of his lest penny !


[ posted by Graham, 02.08.14 16:02 ]

Are you sure about this? I confess I don't remember reading about CO2 destroying the ozone layer - as far as I'm aware, CO2 has always been linked to global warming via the so-called greenhouse effect. Ozone destruction has long been shown to be due to chlorine from man-made (fluoro-)chloro-carbon compounds (such as those used for refrigeration) finding its way into the upper atmosphere.


[ posted by Paul, 02.08.14 16:12 ]

What will it be next..... they made us all buy diesel for the good of the planet - now its bad!! what will they come up with next, once we are all driving electric powered cars!! It beggers believe what the stupid EU and brown nose sucking up government will do!


[ posted by Keith Turner, 02.08.14 16:22 ]

Interesting I read recently that the air in USA is much cleaner compared with Europe because USA have relatively fewer diesels. I guess this refers to cars as I assume big trucks are diesels in US. Or is it because the population density of USA is much less than Europe statistics are dangerous & open to many interpretations.


[ posted by KEN MORRISON , 02.08.14 16:23 ]



[ posted by andy, 02.08.14 16:28 ]

I'm not surprised that diesel vehicles are now being targeted, it stands to reason seeing that we were advised to go down that route. I will not be surprised if tax on diesel increases. Governments of all colours seem to think that if you make the people pay, they will stop using. They haven't EVER grasped the simple fact, if there is no alternative you just have to keep using and paying through the nose to do so. This is why the fuel tax escalator didn't do anything to reduce vehicle usage, there was no alternative. When the government provides an affordable alternative to the private car for all, including rural drivers, then they can think about trying to tax us out of our vehicles.
I nearly broke myself financially in 2006 to buy a brand new, as 'green' as it could be diesel van. I cannot afford to change it for another, diesel or petrol, so I guess if the price goes up I'll have to stop feeding the kids again! Out here in a very rural area there is no useful public transport, what there is goes nowhere near where I work and not before 9am or after 4pm either. The politicians see transport and pollution problems as what goes on outside the Palace of Westminster. They really do need to get out into the real world and see how things are for the real people of this country, those who next year will be voting them in or out of power.


[ posted by Howard Elliott, 02.08.14 16:43 ]

I get 61 to the gallon out of my diesel (not bad), pay a medium level road tax of 175 a year (reasonable ish), pay more for my fuel than petrol owners ???? (can't understand this). This is just another example of politicians, national or EU, trying to get their grubby hands in my pocket. They need to be told told to STOP IT and BEHAVE.


[ posted by Simon Snape, 02.08.14 16:43 ]

This has nothing to do with the relative merits of petrol or diesel. It's about the politicians trick of creating an incentive and then imposing a much greater tax penalty when enough have taken the bait.
This issue does show however that in this as in many other issues " They are the Problem". They Legislate and Regulate at the drop of a hat on issues on which they have little understanding on the basis of creating the most favourable response from a Media starved of " news ".

The answer is clear - get shut of the current crop of idiot politicians and elect normal human beings with the real interests of their electorate at the forefront if their minds!


[ posted by Cliff, 07.08.14 18:23 ]

Absolutely correct, has no-one noticed how the gas has steadily risen as more consumers moved to dual fuel vehicles, whatever the cars of tomorrow run on when they become popular the government will step in with a tax to suit. Obviously those in power will not recommend electric vehicles with numerous incentives without a get-out clause to cover lost fuel revenue, when will the Great British public realise we are constantly being taken to the cleaners.


[ posted by M M Green, 02.08.14 17:08 ]

Surely if we were given all this information on how "good" diesels are and now we are being told the goal posts are being moved we can make a claim against the Agencies that gave us this advice. Something just like the banks and PPI; if it was right at the time and is now wrong someone must be held responsible for causing a large proportion of the public to make decisions based on what they said. The right way would be to just allow the existing diesels to continue without any penalty, perhaps give incentives to change from diesel to petrol would also be useful. But to slap more costs onto motorists is just not on!


[ posted by Phil Sumpter, Parcelgiants Ltd, 02.08.14 17:21 ]

I think it is bad enough having yo pay the congestion charge in London, This is already an extra tax where will it end the price of Fuel at the pumps should be the same for unleaded as it is for Diesel, Diesel costs less to produce yet we have to pay more and also a regulated price across the country especially with the major supermarkets, thery pay at the same rate yet sell at different rates even as close as in the same town!


[ posted by Michael Franklin, 02.08.14 18:20 ]

If any extra taxation is added to my 09 Focus, I shall give up driving and the powers that be will not get fuel and vehicle taxation from me. One less driver if that's what they want!


[ posted by El Dingo, 02.08.14 18:32 ]

Well said Quentin. I've been saying this for years.


[ posted by Dave, 02.08.14 18:51 ]

For this reason (and many others) we need some either some Engineers in power, or make it compulsory for the Government to consult recognised Engineering organisations before passing any laws about anything technical.


[ posted by rob coombs, 02.08.14 19:05 ]

Boris should try getting a real job.
I get up at 0430, drive for 80 mins to be in time for the start of my shift. Now thanks to the local council I must pay £3 a day to park work a ten hour day.6 days a week I must do the over time to make ends meet. And now off his head borris wants a tenner a day! Get real borris


[ posted by admin, 02.08.14 20:52 ]

Graham you are of course right. My unintentional mistake. I've changed the post to affect on climate change. Thanks for your comment and support. Q


[ posted by alan, 02.08.14 21:23 ]

most diesel cars produce less co2 than their equivalent size engine of a petrol thats why the car tax on my 2l diesel is less than my fathers 1.4 petrol peuget. this is just another way of the government trying to screw us out of extra money. but whats new there!


[ posted by Rod, 02.08.14 22:11 ]

Give us incentives to move to petrol or hybrid options, but we cannot be penalised now.


[ posted by Sheila Turner, 03.08.14 10:14 ]

It's just another way of getting more money out of everyone. If you look at the size of Britain to the size of other countries who do nothing about the clouds of toxic fumes they're kicking out, we are a drop in the ocean. Planes are not going to be banned, which I think does more harm than any car. Volcanoes erupt, bush fires are lit etc., we can't control nature! If we all went back to pony & traps they'd tax the manure!


[ posted by Kathy Jolly, 03.08.14 13:21 ]

Boris is just carrying on what Ken Livingston started ... he is milking the motorist because we are easy targets ... the government do it so why not Boris and the all the other councils wanting easy money ... don't get enough through parking fines so this is a god send to them ... If Governments or councils want money they hit the motorist ... there is nothing Eco friendly about it ... that is just what they are using as an excuse this time!! ... As for the EU fining the UK ... they better Fine all the other EU countries as well coz their pollution is just as bad or worse than in the UK ... total bull excrement all of it!!!


[ posted by Dave, 03.08.14 14:18 ]

I thought that the the harm to the Ozone layer was primarily caused by CFC's mainly used in aerosols and fridges etc? I understood that this is now less of a problem and that the 'hole' in the Ozone layer was reducing as a result of CFC's being replaced in many applications? Isn't CO2 is linked to Global warming which is a completely different issue?


[ posted by Jeremy Pugh, 03.08.14 20:45 ]

So Boris Johnson thinks people who drive older diesels should be made to pay more to drive in London? So those who can't afford flash new state of the art ones are going to be forced to pay more. Typical of this out of touch buffoon. He doesn't even know the world exists outside London. The very drivers he is targeting are the very taxpayers who are funding the obscene amounts to tart up his precious london all for the benefit of rich foreigners


[ posted by Richard Smith, 04.08.14 11:20 ]

To me its just an excuse to put the price of diesel up, how come in Jersey in the Channel Islands fuel is cheaper than the UK, Petrol in July was £1.12p a litre and diesel was £1.15p a litre. I always buy a diesel Econetic Fiesta.


[ posted by Richard Smith, 04.08.14 11:23 ]

Just to add, my local Lib Dem MP MARTIN HORWOOD agrees that cars should not be on the roads, he agrees that the price of fuel should rocket, he has no interest in cars or the roads, that is why the roads in CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE are shocking he also has no interest in the A417 Crickley Hill Loop, just sticks his head in the sand and hopes everything will go away, as does his side kick.


[ posted by Cally Barlow, 08.08.14 00:26 ]

Too right. The roads in Cheltenham are worse than Dhaka in Bangladesh and that is saying something. I totally agree with the need to bring the politicians to book. They conned us into buying diesel cars.


[ posted by Clive, 05.08.14 09:00 ]

I stupidly bought a diesel vehicle as I drive 60k a year when the fuel was cheaper than petrol, what a fool I was! Within 100k my pdf was blocked and it cost over a grand to replace, Honda did regenerate it at first but it lasted only 200 miles, what a waste of time! Next car will be a petrol. As for Boris Johnson, he is a complete fool and has just raised the London congestion charge to £11.50 / day an increase of 15%. This charge is just another tax on the motorist as I drive in London most days and there is no difference to traffic, in fact it is worse in some areas and in others it is being made worse by the Boris bikes and cycle lanes that have been introduced. A law should be brought in that ALL cyclists MUST have 3rd party insurance, so that the motorists, who have to have insurance are not out of pocket should these morons who jump red lights and weave in and out of traffic damage our vehicles.


[ posted by GUY BURDON, 07.08.14 10:01 ]

I invested in many diesels over the past 30yrs as we were told they were cheaper to run and much better for pollutions. That the extra initial cost was easily re-couped by the fuel being cheaper also. THEN, they started to tax it all the more as they knew that people were to financially burdened to be able to just swap back to petrol. How can a lesser refined fuel obtained from the same source be more expensive unless it is all taxes?


[ posted by Edward Lovett, 11.08.14 00:49 ]


Quentin you and the whole team at Top gear or BBC never listened to us from the Autogas and Retailers Association about diesel pollution way back over many years ( information available 1974 and before ) I personally sent you quotes from a Swedish book all about pm 10s and the expected cancer rate as told by the medical professors who told their government that at 5% diesel cars on the road 10 folk per 100,00 would get cancer ! ( Sweden at MOT charged a tax on the mileage done by diesel cars this to stop Swedes for buying diesel cars. ) In UK at that time would mean in excess of 5000 DEATHS a YEAR ! YOU the BBC newspapers and Magazines were controlled by .gov and the advertising agencies not to publish the facts. You have all been part of the cover up and the problem ! You even ran a programme that was so bad about the then director general of the LPGA where the man who was supposed to be promoting AUTOGAS was running a DIESEL CAR ! Just one further comment ( and this has not changed ) 1 diesel car emissions is equal to 120 Autogas cars so you see the dilution is over a mile and you are not stuffed by breathing in such lethal fumes. Take any town / city now, so many roundabouts removed and traffic lights installed causing traffic jams, that the overall pollution is now through the roof !


[ posted by Susan Hughes, 07.08.14 12:44 ]

Just bought a diesel car after driving petrol cars for 40 years. Its brilliant and I get far more miles out of it than petrol. This is yet another political ploy to get money out of the general public due to ALL political parties incompetence at good house keeping. They need to look at all the money THEY waste before they pick on the voting public.


[ posted by Rod Harrison, 07.08.14 15:52 ]

Why aren't German and other European cities also responding to this problem. Diesel cars are even more popular on the continent, and surely they have a problem too. Is this another case of UK standing to attention and saying "yes sir! " to the EU?


[ posted by Kirk Martin, 07.08.14 16:02 ]

Ok if they want me to drive a petrol car, then I will choose one, but they can buy it for me... I am not wasting my money on another car, just to be told 5 years down the line, they do not like it... Just to wind them up even more, I might choose a 4x4!!!!


[ posted by Howie Bolt, 07.08.14 16:54 ]

As a retired time served motor engineer,and laterly had my own mobile engine tuning business.....Long ago,say 1990,ish,when the "Cats" were introduced,and we had to read 4 gases?,co2 oxygen and HC,s [hc,s were not gases but the unburnt parts of petrol].to enable see how vehicles,petrol engined were performing...Although it wasn,t widly known then we new there were nox,s being pumped out and so governments...Nothing was done then to combat these,and I may say,Sun Electric did not have an anylser to read them.Now it seems the shits hitting the fan....again....Poor diesels are getting a bad press....I say again this little island of ours will not be a problem to the worlds emmisions.......USA CHINA did not conform once and they are the biggest contributor of "Bad gases"??....Air travel????


[ posted by Peter B. Young, 07.08.14 20:51 ]

Why also is it that Derv now costs more at the pumps than "Lead-free Petrol"? We were always lead to believe that Petrol was a further refinement of "Crude Oil" and hence the extra costs involved. Are they now telling us that "Lead-free Petrol" requires less refinement than Derv? Surely if Petrol was a further refinement of "Crude Oil" then to make it "lead-free" would require more refinement again than just petrol thus increasing costs? Or, let's be honest, is it all just a "Big Con" by the Oil giants and the Government to fleece the motorists, whatever we do?


[ posted by Colin Hunter, 07.08.14 22:26 ]

I drive an 08 2.0L Diesel Ford CMax. I pay £145 per annum Road tax for that because of it's relatively high CO2 emmissions. Despite this, it regularly returns well over 50MPG here in the Shetland Islands and is well within the smoke opacity level of the MOT test. It has no particulate filter so has little that can go wrong with it. I recently flew to the Scottish Mainland for a break and hired a car. It was a 1.4 petrol Vauxhall Astra. It had a zero road tax rating due to supposedly producing less than 100g/km CO2. I was led to believe by the hire company that "These modern petrol cars are as economical as diesels". Well! Far from it! I was unable to coax the gutless brute even over 40MPG, it returned about 38MPG over the time I had it hired and was barely able to get out of its own shadow! It was so underpowered that it was dangerous in the extreme for someone used to a bit of Turbo Diesel "Oomph" from a car. How can they say it produces less CO2 than mine when it consumes 20% more fuel?
What is happening here is that, because more of these cars are paying less road tax due to supposedly low emissions, the Government has come up with yet another stick to beat the motorist with! There is nothing new about these emissions from Diesel engines. they have been known about for years. Just another cynical ploy from Westminster to screw more cash out of the motoring public. It certainly won't drive me out of MY diesel!


[ posted by Dick Smith, 08.08.14 17:12 ]

As my new car is an Econetic Fiesta and has the lowest of all the omissions as far as I know I would not pay congestion charge, will I now be penalised in trying to save the planet by not burning petrol, seems to me that its just another way to claw the car tax back, Econectics and the like do not pay car tax, that is one of the reasons I bought this model.


[ posted by neiallswheel, 08.08.14 20:29 ]

They continue to ignore its benefits which is the

M--O--N--E--Y. Of course.


[ posted by neiallswheel, 13.08.14 15:55 ]

Quentin Wilson"""The European Union and governments round the world
enacted legislation to clean up transport emissions and it has to be said that
much of that legislation was a good thing. That's why modern petrol cars with
catalytic convertors and oxygen sensors have become so much cleaner in the
last decade. Its also fair to say the same legislative zeal from the EU has given
us much more frugal fuel efficient engines and petrol cars that can achieve as
much as 75 mpg. The car industry rose to the challenge and our new generation
of Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines really are a significant technological achievement.""

Real time driving conditions when tested ON-THE-ROAD prove that EURO 5
And EURO 6 vehicles are just as bad (if not worse) than all previous EURO


[ posted by Harold Brookes, 18.08.14 13:37 ]

This is about the gov't using road vehicles as a cash cow. environment polution and damage allthough real are used as excuses for increasing tax.
Our government pay lip service but do not positively discourage oil companies to raise prices because taxes are a percentage,and the chancelors take increases proportionatly.
Expensive diesel is a sneaky way of taxing our food and everything else that is delivered by road transport.
Britain has the most expensive diesel in Europe,with few exeptions.
Forty years ago one would fill up before crossing the chanel into Europe,twenty years later you crossed with empty tanks and on the way back would fill up before boarding the ferry home. Foriegn trucks came into UK with extra fuel tanks avoiding fuel lift in this country.


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