Diesels sell. They’ve always made – and continue to make – sense for many drivers. Those who are covering a lot of miles every year prefer the balance of power, smoothness and efficiency.
But if you’ve ever felt tricked by the environmentally-friendly diesel dream, it’s understandable. Cracks did appear in what manufacturers and governments were telling buyers. But they’ve learnt their lesson, and diesel efficiency has improved as a result. Things are only getting better, and that advancement now needs as much attention as Dieselgate. As Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, says:
“Euro 6 diesel cars on sale today are the cleanest in history. 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.”
The images of smog-choked streets can be a distant memory; diesel has now progressed light-years away from the old technology. Even the scary NOx emissions can be converted into harmless nitrogen and water before it reaches the exhaust.
With the arrival of a new official EU-wide emissions test, due this year, further improvements can be expected. SMMT call it the world’s toughest-ever emissions standard, as it will encourage manufacturers to focus on real-world driving results. People will be able to trust in the figures advertised by car makers, and feel confident they’ll be able to achieve similar in varied conditions. Without a doubt, it’s a move in the right direction.
What’s more, as efficiency continues to improve – driven by tough testing and consumer demand – diesel will be a contender for many years to come.
Things might change. CO2 – which has long been the biggest focus for European emissions regulations – is no longer the sole focus. But diesel has proved it can keep up.
A welcome development in the car industry is the growing presence of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, with year-on-year sales up 31% in March 2017. Conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are quickly becoming a more realistic choice of car for more people.
Supported by government incentives, technology improvements (notably to the range), and more charging points, the future looks like one typified by choice for car buyers. Petrol, diesel or alternatively fuelled, arm yourself with the right information and pick a car that’s right for you.