Transport Secretary urges car buyers to think twice about opting for diesel 

Posted: February 25, 2017 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, pollution, Travel

The VW diesel scandal has changed opinions.

The VW diesel scandal has changed opinions.

Car sales people may need a new pitch to buyers after this change to government policy. ‘Clean diesel’ is dead.

The Government is reportedly considering a scrappage scheme for diesel cars to improve air quality, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Drivers should think long and hard before buying a diesel car, the Transport Secretary has said. Chris Grayling suggested motorists should consider buying a low-emission vehicle rather than spending their money on a diesel.

His intervention follows reports the Government is considering a scrappage scheme for diesel cars to improve air quality. The reported scheme would see drivers offered a cash incentive for replacing an old diesel car with a low-emission vehicle.

Asked whether motorists should hesitate before buying a diesel, Mr Grayling told The Daily Mail: “People should take a long, hard think about what they need, about where they’re going to be driving, and should make best endeavours to buy the least polluting vehicle they can. I don’t think diesel is going to disappear but someone who is buying a car to drive around a busy city may think about buying a low-emission vehicle rather than a diesel.”

Concern over the impact of diesel cars on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were raised by the Volkswagen emissions scandal in September 2015. It emerged 11 million Volkswagen diesel vehicles around the world had been fitted with software to release fewer smog-causing pollutants during tests than in real-world driving conditions.
. . .
In June last year then-transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it had been a mistake for former Labour chancellor Gordon Brown to slash taxes on diesel. Mr Brown reduced duty on low-sulphur fuel in 2001, which contributed to an increase in annual diesel car registrations from 3.45 million to 8.2 million.

A Government report published in April 2016 showed that diesel cars being sold in the UK emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests. The Department for Transport investigation found all of the 37 top-selling diesel cars tested exceed the legal limit required for laboratory tests when driven for 90 minutes on normal roads.

Ministers insisted no laws had been broken by the manufacturers as cars are only required to meet the lab test regulations. A scrappage scheme to boost the motor industry ran from May 2009 until March 2010, offering motorists £2,000 to scrap an old car for a new model.

Full report: Transport Secretary urges buyers to think twice about opting for diesel –

  1. IMHO, diesels were more than clean enough; 10 years ago. Before the controversial EU5 and subsequent EU6.

    Here’s a illustration of how much emissions have been cut back in 20 years.

    The direct health effect have been overplayed by orders of magnitude; based on dodgy epidemiology as documented over the ages by Steve Milloy and John Brignell. There is no attributable public health benefit; for all the expense. People are only made poorer; by more expensive, more complex vehicles that consume more fuel than necessary.

    More than 80% of automotive particulate “emissions” are NOT from the tailpipe; they are from things like brakes, tyres and from stirring up the filth on the city streets.

  2. dennisambler says:

    Bernd; Spot on, my sources as well.

    “emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests”.

    How did they arrive at the legal limit? Where is there any proof of harm?

  3. Dave Ward says:

    The Daily Mail had this as front page headline today. The story included this bit:

    “Recent estimates from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory show diesel cars account for 11 per cent of nitrogen oxide emissions, less than ‘non road mobile machinery’ such as bulldozers and diggers which account for 14 per cent. Trains and buses account for 16 per cent in total”

    So why not shut down public transport – it would have a greater effect! And what about all those nice diesel engined STOR generators which the grid is now relying on to avoid collapse?

  4. It is the first law of the Greenblob: Everything the greens promote soon turns to sh1t.

  5. I repeat: If they’re focusing on gaseous (in this case, NO2) emissions, they are 180 degrees away from the right direction to take, and hopelessly incompetent.

  6. oldbrew says:

    The term used is NOx which is not just NO2…

    In atmospheric chemistry, NOx is a generic term for the nitrogen oxides that are most relevant for air pollution, namely nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These gases contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain, as well as tropospheric ozone.

    UK govt. says ‘diesel cars being sold in the UK emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests.’

    Quoting the official tests is not going to help here. Cars are the soft target because trucks and buses have no petrol equivalents.

  7. Bryan says:

    Recent reports say another Green Promotion – wood burning stoves are to blame

  8. oldbrew says:

    How many wood burners are there, compared to the number of road vehicles? The bottom line is there is a pollution problem in London and some other cities, whatever the cause(s).

    DT report: Air pollution in London passes levels in Beijing… and wood burners are making problem worse

    Readings at 3pm on Monday showed that air at locations in the capital were worse than in notoriously smoggy Beijing, hitting a peak 197 micrograms per cubic metre for particulate matter on the Air Quality Index. Pollution in the Chinese city only reached 190, which is still deemed ‘unhealthy.’

  9. ivan says:

    oldbrew, a very large part of the problem of pollution in London is caused by the greens themselves.

    The clean air act did clean up the pollution but then the greens got into the act and demanded cycle lanes on as many roads in London as possible. The removal of part of the road width caused traffic bunching up and the subsequent slowing down of the traffic flow. This, in turn, forced the cars and trucks to run their engines at low efficiency for longer periods so upping the level of NOx in the road areas.

    I have yet to see anything the greens have a hand in not returning large unintended consequences. They never learn.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Clearly the problem is cities themselves. The fix would be a simple back to the land program. Just start moving folks to nice country cottages and remove an equal amount of flats blocks and urban offices… start with Parliament and the government centers…

  11. oldbrew says:

    EMS – nice idea but England is already short of building land 😦

  12. A C Osborn says:

    oldbrew, You start off critising Diesels for NOX, when it is pointed out that Diesel Cars do not contribute as much as other things you switch to particulates, citing an article which states that Wood burning is making a large contribution.
    Anybody that has experienced real London SMOG as I did as a child would know that what we curently have is no where near as bad as it used to be.
    The overall UK pollution of all pollutants is down over 50% and up to 95% for some compared to 1970, which was nowhere near as bad as pre the clean air act.
    This is an EU inspired and US EPA generated witch hunt.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Where did I criticise anything? 🙂

    What it looks like is the government blaming diesel cars, the press querying wood burners and central London afflicted by smog.

  14. catweazle666 says:

    “central London afflicted by smog.”


    I remember the smog of the 1960’s.

    This isn’t even close!

  15. oldbrew says:

    So do I from Manchester, but today’s London is measured as worse than Beijing sometimes and they’re supposed to be the world’s worst. Different type of pollution these days.

    Evening Standard: ‘Red’ toxic smog alert issued in eight London boroughs as filthy air arrives from Germany [Jan. 2017]

    ‘The particulate pollution was expected to mix with locally produced nitrogen dioxide, much of which is spewed out by diesel vehicles.’

  16. catweazle666 says:

    “but today’s London is measured as worse than Beijing sometimes and they’re supposed to be the world’s worst.”

    Anyone who says that has never seen real “pea souper” smogs or is telling porkies – most likely the latter.

    I’ve seen my grandmother’s washing come off the line with holes burned through it by the acidity of the rain.

    As to “different type of pollution”, I doubt it can come close to matching the level on a Monday morning in many Northern industrial towns when many thousands of Lancashire boilers were fired up after the weekend, when thousands of factories were driven by steam engines turning lineshafts supplying power to the belt-driven looms, etc.

    And as for the Potteries around Stoke and Burslem, at one point the authorities even asserted that the pollution was beneficial because it cleansed the hovels of the workers of diseases and parasites.

    In any case, most/all of the so-called “science” concerning deaths due to both NOx and particulates was generated by computer games models produced by the highly dubious US Environmental Protection Agency based on their totally discredited Linear No Threshold models and has never been verified by any reputable third party, which naturally hasn’t prevented power-mad control freak snivel serpents from using the “findings” to justify ever more repressive legislation – and more taxation, of course.

  17. Stephen Richards says:

    catweazle666 says:
    February 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I remember walking in front of a lorry with a red flag autumn 1962. A ‘smog’ freezing to a thickness of an inch on wires and fences. Still alive and healthy today. Steve Malloy has a good book out at the moment on the derivation of all this crap science.

  18. Stephen Richards says:

    Pictures across Paris recently with a caption of Pollution danger. They closed the capital to all vehicles of more than ten years. You could see right across the city. Yes, there was a haze but a haze for Christ’s sake not fog or even mist.

    Why is always ten year old vehicles? Because they a more reliable these days. No one is selling as in the past.

  19. catweazle666 says:

    “Why is always ten year old vehicles? Because they a more reliable these days. No one is selling as in the past.”


    I had a nice shiny expensive BMW turbo diesel estate, dripping with parking radar, TV, GPS and heaven knows what computerised gizmonics. Gorgeous to drive and quite fast, not bad on diesel – its best economic speed on the motorway was 85 MPH which gave 38 MPG. Just about the best sound system I’ve ever heard in my life.

    Then it got gremlins in its computers, switch the headlights on and the flashers flashed, all sorts of fun. I used to borrow my friendly garageman’s fancy Bosch touchscreen gadget and spend many a happy hour chasing the bugs round the system, until I got bored and flogged it cheap. Bloke who bought it claimed to be an expert, it still took him about a year to track it down to the immobiliser, of all places.

    So I bought a fairly elderly 2.5L turbo diesel Mercedes cheap, not a single computer in sight. Run flawlessly for about seven years now, just used the normal bits such as pads, tyres and passed all its MOTs without a single failure, performs very well indeed and does well over 40MPG. As a bonus, it runs quite happily on supermarket cooking oil, often available for 50p per litre. I shan’t be trading it for any of this modern hi-tech rubbish any time soon.

    I just wish I could get me a nice clean Ford Mk II Cortina, fix anything with a half/inch – nine sixteenths spanner!

  20. Stephen Richards says:

    The french tossing socialists have banned garden fire this year. I live on 17000m² and am forever trimming trees bushes etc. Now I have to compost it which produces which gases ? Yep that’s right.

  21. jazznick says:

    An EU6 Diesel has the same NOx limit as an EU4 Petrol car.

    The difference between an EU6 Diesel and an EU6 Petrol Car is now 0.02g/km NOx – (i.e. infinitesimal)

    A sense of perspective is required from all concerned.

  22. jazznick says:

    Further to my earlier comment 4 x EU6 Petrol cars = 3 x EU6 Diesel cars in NOx output.

  23. steverichards1984 says:

    Wiki says: “Biodiesel and its blends in general are known to produce lower carbon monoxide, soot, hydrocarbon emissions, and higher NOx emissions compared with regular diesel.

    So biofuel makes it worse!

    Who’d have thought that?

  24. steverichards1984 says:

    SR: Dwarf throwing is greatly depreciated in most countries. I am surprised that the French allow their politicians to be tossed. Do they travel far before landing?

    [mod] let’s stay on topic please 🙂

  25. oldbrew says:

    You know what to expect…

    The great diesel disaster shows how badly wrong-headed environmentalism can harm the planet
    No one has claimed responsibility for the Great Diesel Car Scandal and almost certainly no heads will roll

    James Delingpole

  26. oldbrew says: EU report blames ‘Dieselgate’ on widespread political negligence

    The panel tasked with investigating the scandal uncovered rampant cronyism and incompetence from the EU level down. The problem is much bigger than Volkswagen, the committee found.

    ‘Rampant cronyism’ :/

    A new draft bill proposing tougher rules on how vehicles are approved and tested throughout the bloc is due to be debated by the European Parliament in the near future, but it faces an uphill battle against some member states where auto firms are friendly with governments.

  27. oldbrew says:

    Brake dust may cause more problems than blackened wheel covers
    March 3, 2017

    ‘Though tailpipe emissions could fall in the years ahead as more zero-emission vehicles hit the streets, one major source of highway air pollution shows no signs of abating: brake and tire dust.

    Metals from brakes and other automotive systems are emitted into the air as fine particles, lingering over busy roadways. Now, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have shown how that cloud of tiny metal particles could wreak havoc on respiratory health.’

    Read more at:

  28. catweazle666 says:

    “Metals from brakes and other automotive systems are emitted into the air as fine particles”

    How about finely divided platinum, palladium and rhodium, which is now sufficiently highly concentrated in road dust that it is worth collecting?

    Platinum from road dust, Veolia cleans up on British streets

  29. oldbrew says:

    Where there’s muck there’s brass 😉

  30. oldbrew says:

    Volkswagen emissions scandal: Britons dying due to toxic fumes travelling across North Sea from Germany

    They’re really pushing the diesel cars thing these days.

    ‘1,200 Europeans will die early’ due to manipulated VW cars

  31. oldbrew says:

    The plan seems to be to claim that everything ‘wrong’ with fuel-burning cars is going to cost megabucks to ‘fix’, which will push up the cost of the cars to something like the price of an electric one.

    Car makers rev up emissions cuts as tough rules loom
    March 5, 2017

  32. oldbrew says:

    One of Britain’s most popular small cars emits as much N02 emissions as a heavy duty lorry, new research has found.

    The VW Polo was disgraced in the 2015 Dieselgate scandal and manufacturers pledged to slash its release of harmful gases after it was found to be routinely cheating on emissions testing.
    . . .
    Researchers found that smaller cars lacked the space for the sophisticated equipment required to reduce emissions.

  33. catweazle666 says:

    “One of Britain’s most popular small cars emits as much N02 emissions as a heavy duty lorry, new research has found.”

    I heard some numskull “scientist” wittering about that on R4 this lunchtime.

    Absolute 100% crap from start to finish.

    Just watch out for a big tax hit on diesel car drivers in Wednesday’s budget now that the credulous populace has been nicely indoctrinated into believing they are all evil child-murdering scum.

    Strange, just a few years ago Gordon Brown lowered the tax on diesel cars because they were ‘Green’…

  34. oldbrew says:

    March deadline for emissions reduction plan

    The government has been set an end of the month deadline to publish its long-delayed emissions reduction plan

    The report says security of supply, decarbonisation and affordability should continue to be viewed as equal priorities.

    The MPs urged ministers to give “clear signs” on how they plan to embed clean growth in economic planning.

    Given that the power sector has delivered the bulk of progress in reducing emissions since 2012, the committee suggested that the industrial strategy must include “meaningful policies” to support decarbonisation of industrial activity and energy use in buildings.
    – – –
    The route to ‘decarbonisation of industrial activity’ seems to be to price it out of business.

  35. oldbrew says:

    London’s new black cab secretly tested in Arctic Circle
    By Richard Westcott
    Transport correspondent, BBC News
    6 March 2017

    The critical difference is in how it sounds – virtually silent.

    Because the new cab has an electric engine it is almost a zero-emissions vehicle, although it does have a small petrol motor that can charge the battery from time to time, to extend its range.
    . . .
    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made cleaning the air in the city his number one priority, so by 2018 he says that every newly-licensed taxi must be “zero-emissions capable”.

    ‘Electric engine’ – is that the new name for a battery?

    A snip at £40,000? London’s taxi drivers don’t think so – “can’t afford it!”

  36. oldbrew says:

    This is better from the BBC in terms of not scapegoating diesel cars.

    How bad is air pollution in the UK?
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC environment analyst
    6 March 2017

    Diesel cars seem to be portrayed as the main villains. Is that fair?

    Yes and no. Diesel car manufacturers drew fire by cheating emissions tests. Diesels are much more polluting than petrol cars on a local scale, and the biggest proportion of pollution in UK cities does come from road transport in general.

    But if you look at Greater London (London stats are the most detailed) you see that private diesel cars contribute 11% of NOx – less than you might have thought. Lorries – with far fewer numbers on the roads – produce the same amount.

    Zoom into Central London, and just 5% of NOx comes from private diesel cars. That is dwarfed by 38% from gas for heating homes and offices.

    There are many other sources of pollution, including buses, taxis, industry and other machinery, such as on building sites. So it’s a many-sided problem.