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The turning tide against diesel

15/01/2018 • 07:58am

The popularity of diesel is now facing rapid decline, with falling sales across both commercial and consumer markets. Despite being generally more fuel efficient and producing lower levels of CO2, various scares and scandals in recent years have soured public opinion.

While lower CO2 levels help to reduce the effects of climate change, it’s been observed that other pollutants from diesel engines have been affecting air quality, particularly in urban areas. The emissions scandal in 2015 also played a significant part in triggering the backlash against diesels today.

New diesel registrations down

Following the release of new vehicle registration figures for 2017, the total number of new diesels dropped 17% from the previous year. Just over a million diesels were registered over the last year – falling by 220,000 compared to 2016 – across both private vehicles and those used for business.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) predicted last month that 2018 may well be the year that diesel loses its status as the most popular fuel. With more businesses and drivers turning to petrol, EVs and alternative fuels, diesels could very easily drop off the top spot in twelve months time.

Businesses moving away from diesel

Registration figures also show a slight drop in the total number of new vehicles for business and fleet use. As large businesses begin to favour other fuel sources, this will contribute to even fewer diesel sales in future. A recent survey by RAC Business even found that almost half of 1,000 businesses were considering moving away from diesel altogether.

Larger businesses will have the biggest impact as 62% of those employing between 250 and 499 staff are considering phasing out their existing diesel vehicles. This has led to RAC Fuel Watch spokesman Simon Williams expressing concern over the confused perception of diesels among consumers and fleets, citing newer vehicles as performing significantly better than their predecessors.


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