Euro 6 diesel cars clean, says SMMT

Diesel powered cars have gained a lot of press since the Volkswagen emissions scandal became public knowledge in 2015, and much of this has been negative. The Government is now considering measures that will discourage the use of diesel cars, with disincentives such as a ‘toxins tax’ or banning polluting vehicles from city centres a possibility. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believes such steps don’t do the latest generation of diesel vehicles justice, and has issued a list of ten facts it hopes will inform motorists about diesels:

1) In 2016, a record 1.3 million new diesel cars were registered in the UK, up 0.6 per cent on the previous year – a trend that’s continuing in 2017. In March, more businesses and consumers chose a new diesel car than in any other month in history, with almost quarter of a million leaving showrooms.

2) Diesel is critical to reducing CO2 emissions, which in turn is tackling climate change – diesel cars emit, on average, 20 per cent lower CO2 than petrol equivalents. In fact, since 2002, diesel cars have saved 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere.

3) Almost one in every two new cars registered in the UK is a diesel, with buyers valuing their high performance and low fuel consumption. On average, diesels use 20 per cent less fuel than like for like petrol models, and with diesel drivers typically covering 60 per cent more miles, lower fuel bills are essential.

4) More than 99 per cent of the UK’s 4.4 million commercial vehicles are powered by diesel and they transport people, essential goods and our emergency services over 61 billion miles every year. Without them, life would be much harder.

5) Advanced diesel technology has virtually eliminated emissions of particulate matter, with 99 per cent of these soot particulates captured by special filters fitted to all new diesel cars since 2011. Around half of diesels on the road now boast a DPF.
6) The latest Euro 6 vehicles are the cleanest in history – and light years away from their older counterparts. As well as special filters, they also feature clever technology that converts most of the NOx from the engine into harmless nitrogen and water before it reaches the exhaust.

7) Euro 6 technology works. Real world tests using a London bus route show a 95 per cent drop in NOx compared with previous generation Euro 5 buses. In fact, if every older bus operating in the capital were replaced with a Euro 6 version, total NOx emissions in London would fall by 7.5 per cent.

8) The latest Euro 6 cars are classed as low emission for the purposes of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone due to come into force in 2019, meaning drivers of these vehicles will be free to enter the zone without charge.

9) Contrary to recent reports, diesel cars are not the main source of urban NOx. In London, gas heating of homes and offices is the biggest contributor, responsible for 16 per cent. While road transport as a whole is responsible for around half of London’s NOx, diesel cars produce just 11 per cent, although concentrations will vary at different times depending on congestion. Keeping traffic moving is the key to keeping emissions low.

10) In September this year, a new official EU-wide emissions testing system will come into force. This will involve, for the first time, on-road testing to better reflect the many and varied conditions involved in ‘real-world’ driving such as speed, congestion, road conditions and driving style. This will be the world’s toughest-ever emissions standard.

“Euro 6 diesel cars on sale today are the cleanest in history,” states Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Not only have they drastically reduced or banished particulates, sulphur and carbon monoxide but they also emit vastly lower NOx than their older counterparts – a fact recognised by London in their exemption from the Ultra Low Emission Zone that will come into force in 2019. Some recent reports have failed to differentiate between these much cleaner cars and vehicles of the past. This is unfair and dismissive of progress made. In addition to their important contribution to improving air quality, diesel cars are also a key part of action to tackle climate change while allowing millions of people, particularly those who regularly travel long distances, to do so as affordably as possible.”          sg

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