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Cars Opinion: The death of diesel? Not if commonsense can prevail

13:40  10 january  2018
13:40  10 january  2018 Source:   autocar.co.uk

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Alarming words from Professor David Bailey of Aston University this morning, as he reveals diesel ’s “slow death ” is being driven by “environmental pressures and consumer confusion” . Commonsense simply cannot allow a blanket ‘ diesels are bad’ attitude to pervade, although the fear must be that it is.

Opinion . Features. Next Gen Award. Goodwood FoS. The death of diesel ? Commonsense simply cannot allow a blanket ‘ diesels are bad’ attitude to pervade, although the fear must be that it is.

The industry has confused consumers when it comes to diesel © Autocar The industry has confused consumers when it comes to diesel

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Alarming words from Professor David Bailey of Aston University this morning, as he reveals diesel's "slow death" is being driven by "environmental pressures and consumer confusion" .

He predicts that by 2025 just 15% of new car sales will be diesel, down from more than 50% to levels below even the figure that they sat at prior to the government incentivising its purchase (15 years ago, back in 2002 just 19.8% of sales were diesels).

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Porsche axes all diesel variants from line-up. Porsche Cayenne diesel sales banned in Germany due to suspect emissions software. Porsche boss confirms decision on cutting diesel models is imminent. The death of diesel ? Not if commonsense can prevail .

The death of diesel ? Not if commonsense can prevail . Electric Porsche Mission can't come some enough, unless you're a Telsa share holder. typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion .

It’s ironic, of course, that Bailey’s words have been seized on by the national press and thrust forward as yet another example why people shouldn’t buy a diesel. The very “confusion” that Bailey has identified is now being fed - unintentionally - by his words.

Related: SMMT - 'It's wrong to penalise diesel' (Sky News)

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Opinion . Volkswagen’s admission that it faked tests rocked the industry. Photograph: Patrick Pleul/EPA. This is probably how the death of diesel will come about – not through regulation, but through consumer disgust.

The trouble is, the general perception is that all diesels are the same. And who can blame the layman, when any explanation has to take you deep into the inner workings of Euro 4 regulations versus Euro 6?It takes dedication not to glaze over at that point. Far easier, to stick with the snappy ‘dirty diesel’ moniker and vow to never buy another one.

But I really do believe it’s worth knowing better, and hopefully as an Autocar reader so too do you - because there are economic and environmental reasons to give the black pump a second chance, especially if you are a high-mileage or large car driver.

The point is that personal transport comes at an environmental cost - be it CO2 or NOx driven. All engines produce both, with petrol creating more of the former and diesel more of the latter. Arguing over which is worse is like comparing apples with pears, albeit with darker overtones.

Exhaust emissions © Auto Express Exhaust emissions

To my mind, the most important thing is that drivers choose what is best for their circumstances. That might be an electric car, it might be electrified or it might be a petrol, diesel one.

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What happens on the demand side of the market is not surprising: if the minimum wage exceeds the prevailing market wage (determined by supply and demand), some workers will lose their jobs or have their hours cut.

Opinion . Some manufacturers see the writing on the wall: this week, Fiat Chrysler announced plans to end production of diesel cars by 2022; Porsche has ditched two models and Toyota has indicated it will never launch a new diesel .

I certainly hope that people don’t feel urged into panic buying a petrol and then having to live with the fuel bills of a large seven-seater that does 20,000 miles a year. Commonsense simply cannot allow a blanket ‘diesels are bad’ attitude to pervade, although the fear must be that it is.

Related: Diesel decline leading to higher CO2 figures

Certainly by the 2025 date signposted by Professor Bailey I would imagine and hope that the pendulum for fully electric vehicles (13,500 sales of 2.5m last year in the UK) has swung somewhat. But even then the same fair-minded response must be to interrogate the true environmental impact of a vehicle using so many rare metals and powered by energy that isn’t always generated from clean sources.

That we live in times of change is not in doubt. That we must throw out what has gone before without recourse to the facts should not be a given. The question is, will anyone in authority dare stick their head above the parapet and say as much, before the damage is done?

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Opinion : The death of diesel ?

Opinion . The work also shows that, even if diesel cars did meet emissions limits, there would still be 70,000 early deaths per year. Excess NOx emissions are rising, the researchers found, and strict pollution controls need to be put in place to avoid the death toll rising to 174,000 in 2040.

Related: Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear (Read Cars)

Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear: Just as diesels are getting more efficient than ever, it now looks like their days may be numbered unless something is done to clean up their act.A few years ago the government incentivised motorists to buy diesels because of their fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. As a result, UK diesel car ownership rocketed from 13.8% in 2001 to around 50%.However, now the focus has switched to dangerous nitrogen dioxide (NO2 or NOx)) emissions which are claimed to be responsible for around 23,500 deaths in the UK each year – and diesels are in the doghouse.Could it mean the end of diesels? Will they be phased out? We’ve chosen 20 of the best diesel cars on the market today – but for how long? Death of diesel - quality cars that may disappear

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