Diesel reduction causes CO2 increase

posted in: General News

If we’re switching one set of harmful emissions for another, is the current agenda against diesels forcing us all to choose our poison?
Only last month we were writing about how diesel vans are likely spluttering their last, with sales down and, given the current level of anti-diesel sentiment, no likelihood of that trend changing anytime soon.
But every action has an equal and opposite reaction, as Isaac Newton once observed (although not about diesel vans), and this month we get news that CO2 levels from vehicle exhausts rose in the UK last year for the first time in two years.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released a new report that reveals carbon tailpipe emissions rose by 0.8% in 2017 despite new vehicles emitting, on average, 12.6% less CO2 than the ones they replace.
With the caveat that the SMMT is a lobby group and therefore has a vested interest in protecting the industry it serves, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that the rise in CO2 has happened as a direct result of diesel use falling while alternatives (hybrid, electric etc) fail to make up the shortfall.
In effect, the SMMT report reveals a bizarre picture of a country trading in its diesels – which produce harmful NOx emissions – and replacing them (in the main) with petrol engines which use more fuel than diesels, and which therefore emit more harmful CO2.
It really does seem to be a case of ‘choose your poison’.
The SMMT has called for the government to introduce realistic policies as the UK transfers to a low carbon future – ones which don’t drive the diesel market of a cliff edge before alternatives are wholly viable.
For our part, we’ve already started the introduction of electric rental vans and as the technology develops and the range improves, no doubt we’ll invest in more. But for now, whether it’s diesel or petrol, the days of the internal combustion engine in van hire circles aren’t over quite yet.