The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the CEOs of BMW UK, Ford of Britain, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen will today make a unified stand to ‘challenge the demonisation of diesel’ at a headline event in London.
The SMMT is also asking policy makers, including local governments, to stop confusing motorists by penalising one fuel over another.
“Today’s diesel engines are the cleanest ever,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“Bans and parking taxes on diesel vehicles therefore make no sense from an environmental point of view.
“We need to avoid penalising one vehicle technology over another and instead encourage the uptake of the latest low emission vehicles by consumers.”
Diesel allegations ‘misguided’
“The allegations against diesel cars made in recent months threaten to misguide policy making and undermine public confidence in diesel,” added Hawes.
“It’s time to put the record straight.”
The SMMT has illustrated this with some striking statistics about the latest Euro 6 diesels, a green standard mandatory for all new-to-market cars and to be enforced for every new car sold from September 1 2015.
It would take 42 million Euro 6 diesel cars – nearly four times the total amount on British roads – to produce the same amount of NOx as one coal-fired power station.
According to Energy UK, there are 15 coal-fired power stations in Britain.
Diesel Facts myth-buster launched
To counter incorrect myths about modern diesels – and help ensure Britain meets future air quality and climate change targets – the SMMT has today launched a new ‘diesel facts’ website to inform consumers about the latest technology.
The launch comes after research showed nearly 9 in 10 UK adults were unaware of the latest Euro 6 emissions technology.
More than half, however, blamed cars and commercial vehicles as the biggest cause of air pollution in the UK – incorrectly so, added the SMMT. Less than one in five correctly labelled power stations as the biggest generators of NOx.
The SMMT’s new campaign comes after growing anti-diesel moves in recent months. Islington Council last year introduced a £20 engine idling fine for diesel cars, following it up by charging diesel car owners more for parking permits.
In August 2014, the Sun newspaper launched a diesel driver compensation scheme called ‘Pay up Diesel Weasels’, backed by the AA, the RAC and the Road Haulage Association.
The shadow transport minister Barry Gardiner recently said the previous Labour government was wrong to base vehicle taxes on CO2 emissions, and the Environmental Audit Committee last year called for a diesel scrappage scheme to tackle a “public health crisis” in air pollution.
London Mayor Boris Johnson agreed, calling the diesel drive a “massive failure of public policy”.
Even the Mayor of Paris has announced plans to ban diesel cars in the French capital by 2020, something the diesel-centric French car industry has responded angrily to.