DieselGovernment officials are being urged to avoid knee-jerk policies that penalise diesel cars before looking at the facts – because they may turn out to be counterproductive.

Trade title Glass’s says such policies may already be impacting on sales of new diesel cars which risk hitting both current and predicted residual values.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at the title, urged officials to be cautious because, although reports do ‘point the finger’ at diesel, “they are reporting an historic picture.

“The latest diesel emissions standards are very stringent and newer vehicles are unlikely to have the same kind of impact on the air that we breathe.

“We need a grown-up debate that recognises the subtleties of the situation.”

Hybrid hubris?

Increasing numbers of car buyers are switching to hybrid or plug-in electric cars instead of diesel because, said Pontin, of a “general assumption that… a hybrid is always cleaner than a diesel.

“But the picture is not always that straightforward and we are potentially engineering a move away from diesel without looking at all of the facts.”

Diesel, he said, could still be the best choice, given “their low CO2 emissions, strong fuel economy and overall performance”.

The call from Glass’s comes as some councils introduce blanket anti-diesel legislation and central government looks at imposing low emissions zones that could also target a reduction in the use of diesel.

AA: ‘don’t jump on the bandwagon’

This Wednesday’s Summer Budget 2015 could see emissions-related changes to vehicle taxation, but AA president Edmond King has urged the Chancellor to avoid these.

He instead suggests “not jumping on the local tax bandwagon which exploits the demonising of diesel… but offering fiscal encouragement for converting the main urban emissions polluters to hybrid or electric alternatives.”

Measures include electric bus, taxi and delivery van conversions.

“The AA is concerned that urban emissions scare-mongering will be used as an excuse for raising fuel and car ownership tax.

“Rather than an even greater burden of tax, the AA calls on the Chancellor to be more innovative and use more of the existing tax haul to influence motoring behaviour.”

Tune in to Motoring Research for all the news and live reaction to the 2015 Budget this Wednesday from midday

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