Diesel drivers “betrayed and misled”


After breaching the limits for air pollution Britain is to be penalised by the European Commission and diesel vehicles are being blamed for the problem, now Britain is under more pressure from the EU to reduce the levels of pollution in our cities. As a direct result of this pressure the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has revealed plans for an additional £10 fee for motorists who wish to drive a diesel vehicle in London, a move being watched with interest by several other major cities around the country who may implement their own extra charges for diesel vehicles.

The Government has been encouraging drivers to buy diesel for more than ten years, giving incentives such as tax breaks, citing the fuel efficiency of diesel vehicles and the lower levels of carbon dioxide produced. The use of diesel vehicles soared and a third of all vehicles on our roads are now diesel, an increase in numbers from 1.6 million to over 11 million. Drivers who thought they were doing the right thing in buying a diesel vehicle as they give off less carbon dioxide are now discovering that they actually contribute to thousands of premature deaths every year because of the high levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles produced by diesels! British motorists are still not being given all the information they need when buying a new car, Chairman of the committee on air pollution for the Department of Health, Frank Kelly said “I have full sympathy with the public who have not been provided balanced information on this issue.” Adding “Even today if you go to buy a new car you are provided with lots of information about its CO2 emissions and nothing in respect to the pollutants it emits.” Resentment is likely to be high as British motorists are, once again, slapped with another charge for using their cars. President of the AA, Edmund King, spoke recently to The Telegraph and he said “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel.” adding “In the 1990s there was a near hysteria about carbon dioxide, and yet nobody looked at the bigger picture.” Mr King also said “The drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do.” Now it seems that road taxes for diesel vehicles may be increased to the same rate as petrol vehicles, motoring groups are warning against such a move, with Edmund King saying “There is no doubt that other cities, encouraged by EU legislation, will look to introduce similar restrictions on diesel cars.” He added “I think it’s highly likely that the Treasury might slap extra penalties on diesel vehicles.”

So does this mean that the value of your diesel car is about to drop through the floor? Director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, said: “Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases people make.” He added “Drivers do not want to go to the garage one morning only to find what was previously worth a lot of money has plummeted in value overnight because politicians have suddenly moved the goalposts. People with the oldest, dirtiest diesels will feel the financial squeeze most. They face paying more to use their cars and getting less for them when they try to sell.”

At the moment the Government says it has no plans to increase fuel duty for diesel vehicles.