More than 80 percent of motorists say they oppose plans to ban diesel cars in city centres.
The poll of 989 drivers by Motorpoint found a large majority are against excluding older diesel cars from urban areas.
The news comes as Bristol City Council looks to ban all privately-owned diesel vehicles. A 1.26 square mile area of the city centre will be diesel-free between 7am and 3pm from 2021. The move is part of the government’s plan to improve air quality in 24 large urban areas by 2025.
A wider Low-Emissions Zone (LEZ) will be in effect for commercial vehicles, with a charge payable by those who enter. Taxis and vans will be charged £9, while buses and HGVs will be expected to pay £100.
“We applaud efforts by local authorities to create ‘Clean Air Zones’ in our towns and cities,” said Mark Carpenter, CEO of Motorpoint.
“But the message from motorists is that a blanket ban on privately-owned diesels, especially when two out of five vehicles on the road today are diesels, won’t work and local authorities need to go back to the drawing board in order to come up with a solution that doesn’t just penalise diesel drivers.”
The Bristol ban is more extreme than the existing London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). The latter came into effect in April of this year and all vehicles are permitted, but petrol and diesel cars that pre-date various emissions standards are liable for a charge.
The ULEZ charge in combination with the existing Congestion Charge costs drivers of such cars £24 a day. The ULEZ applies 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.