If all of the oldest diesel cars on Britain’s roads were replaced with new cleaner models, then killer emissions would plummet two-thirds and motorists would save £1billion-a-year, it has been claimed.
The analysis has been done in light of the Government’s most recent crackdown – announced in the Budget – to increase first year tax for any new diesel car bought from next April.
This move was lambasted by experts who argued that today’s diesel vehicles are far more eco-friendly than older models being used on the road today and that the move would see more drivers holding onto their dirtier old cars for longer.
The benefits of dumping dirty diesel: KwikFit said UK drivers would collectively pocket £948million a year by replacing their old diesels with new ones that consume less fuel
The Government’s unrelenting crackdown on diesel cars has come under plenty of criticism from drivers and industry insiders. The Budget move bumps all cars up a tax band that don’t meet a real world emissions driving test that is not officially in yet.
And now new analysis by Kwik Fit has put into perspective the environmental and financial impact the Government’s latest move could have on our health and finances.
It claimed that if all older models were replaced with current Euro 6 standard diesels it would reduce harmful emissions by more than two-thirds and save UK motorists a whopping £948million in fuel costs.
The servicing and repair company said it had assessed the latest government national car population data and found that almost 3.5million diesel cars registered before 2007 are currently being driven by UK motorists.
With each car doing an average of 8.676 miles a year, it means old diesel motors are covering around 30.2billion miles up and down the country annually, spewing out 12.1 million kilograms of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and guzzling 66 million gallons (3.1billion litres) of fuel in the process.
If these drivers were to switch to the latest Euro 6 certified diesel models, Kwik Fit said that NOx emissions – which have been linked to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year – would fall by 68 per cent to 3.9million kilograms.
Particulate matter emissions – which have been heavily linked to heart and lung disease – would also plummet by 80 per cent, dropping from 1.2million kilograms to just over 240,000 kilograms.
KwikFit highlighted the benefits of changing from older to new Euro6-certified diesel cars, including an 80% drop in Particulate Matter emissions
If the report is correct, not only would a switch to newer diesels be incredibly beneficial to our health, it would also improve the condition of our bank balances.
New diesel cars with better fuel efficiency would consume 488.8million gallons (2.2billion litres) to cover the same annual mileage, saving 3.5million car owners a total of £947.8million a year, the figures showed.
Kwik Fit said there would also be a knock-on effect on HGV fuel use as fewer tankers would be needed to transport diesel to filling stations.
It estimated that 20,700 fewer fully-loaded diesel tankers would have to transport the fuel to retailers as a direct result of lower consumption.
Motor industry insiders have blasted George Osborne’s recent decision to increase first year tax on new Euro6 diesel cars, claiming the move will deter motorists from replacing their old, dirtier, cars
But industry experts have suggested that the government’s decision to increase first year tax rates on new diesel cars will be a significant buffer preventing people from replacing their older motors that are worse for the environment, our health and wallets.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders blasted the tax rise on new diesels, saying it will ‘do nothing to remove the oldest, most polluting vehicles from our roads in the coming years’.
AA president Edmund King commented on Philip Hammond’s decision to increase diesel tax saying: ‘It is unnecessary to realign the VED bands on new sales of diesel cars. The current batch of Euro 6 diesels are much cleaner than Euros 1 to 5 already on our roads.’
Pete Williams from the RAC added that the Government had risked ‘encouraging some drivers to stay with their older diesel vehicles’ by increasing tax on new ones.
Earlier this week, official stats from the SMMT showed just how damaging the demonisation of diesel has been on sales of new greener vehicle in the last 11 months.
In the last two months alone, new diesel sales have been down by almost a third, and so far in 2017 27,163 fewer oil burners have been registered in the UK.
Many car manufacturers have launched scrappage schemes in the UK in a bid to increase demand in new cars following a massive downturn after months of diesel demonisation
Diesel sales last month were down by almost 31% and 27,000 fewer new diesel cars have been purchased in the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period in 2016
That’s despite a raft of car manufacturers implementing scrappage schemes throughout the year in a bid to reinvigorate consumer buying.
These incentives would repay drivers trading in older – more polluting – diesel (and in many cases petrol) cars for newer vehicles with a significant discount, in some cases of up to £8,000.
However, registration figures show that there has been little impact on new diesel sales – and Kwik Fit is concerned that some of these older diesel cars may be sold-on to second-hand buyers.
Kwik Fit’s chart shows just how more fuel efficient diesel and petrol cars have become since the turn of the century
There are some 3.5 million diesel cars registered more than 10 years ago still in use on our roads, government stats showed
Roger Griggs, communications director for Kwik Fit, said: ‘There has been a lot of discussion about the potential impact of a scrappage scheme in the fight to reduce emissions, and many manufacturers have been running their own individual incentives on new cars.
‘However, the environmental benefits of these incentives are unclear, as many of the vehicles traded in under these schemes may simply re-appear on the second-hand market.
‘This analysis reveals the impact which a national scrappage scheme could have on emissions, assuming the older diesel vehicles were permanently removed from the road and replaced with new diesel models.’
The cost of replacing all diesels more than 10 years old with new models, assuming an average new car price of £28,000, would be in excess of £97.3 billion.
‘Clearly there would be a significant cost in replacing the oldest diesel cars and currently, this cost would be born solely by the individual motorist,’ Grigg added.
‘Any incentives the Government can give the private individual to move to more efficient vehicles could have a significant impact.’
Are diesel cars being demonised? Listen to the This is Money podcast
Is diesel being unfairly demonised? Britain’s car industry is crying foul, as not a single new diesel car avoids the Budget tax hike because the test they have to pass hasn’t come in yet.
On this week’s This is Money podcast, Simon Lambert, Tanya Jefferies and Georgie Frost dive into the murky world of diesel cars.