Diesel car 'demonisation' condemned by industry group

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Diesel car 'demonisation' condemned by industry group

Postby frv » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:29 am

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), along with BMW, Ford, and Jaguar Land Rover, believe fears over diesel are misplaced.

The campaign comes in response to several efforts to curb diesel cars due to the harmful pollutants they produce.

In December, the mayor of Paris called for diesel cars to be banned from the French capital by 2020.

"Today's diesel engines are the cleanest ever, and the culmination of billions of pounds of investment by manufacturers to improve air quality," said Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, in a statement.

"Bans and parking taxes on diesel vehicles therefore make no sense from an environmental point of view," he added.

But Gavin Thomson, from the Healthy Air Campaign said: "We need action from all levels of government to protect our health and substantially reduce the diesel in our towns and cities.

"This should include government supported retrofit schemes, a national network of low emission zones and support for other modes of travel."
Analysis: John Moylan, energy correspondent

Europe's carmakers fear a consumer backlash against diesel vehicles.

Analysts say that in the past two decades the industry ploughed billions into plants producing diesel engines and cars in an effort to cut CO2 emissions from vehicles.

Ford's Dagenham plant alone could soon be making close to a million diesel engines a year.

But other parts of the world, like the United States, didn't follow Europe's lead.

So did the big European brands including Peugeot, BMW and Daimler, back the wrong technology?

And what would be the consequences if moves to ban or restrict diesel cars were to start hitting sales?

Health concerns
In the past, policy makers had encouraged consumers to purchase diesel cars, as diesel is a more efficient fuel than petrol and it emits less carbon dioxide (CO2) - a big contributor to global warming.

But diesel engines emit more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than petrol cars, and these can cause health problems, such as inflammation of the airways, reduction in lung function and exacerbation of asthma symptoms.

Yet the SMMT points out that the latest Euro-6 vehicle emission standards, affecting all new cars sold from 1 January 2015, drastically reduce NOx pollutants.

Despite this, a YouGov poll cited by SMMT has found that 87% of UK adults are unaware of the latest standard, consequently blaming cars - instead of larger polluters like power stations - as the biggest cause of air pollution.

Nonetheless, the poll suggests that nearly three-quarters of UK motorists are against penalties for clean diesel cars.

Upgrading engines
In December, the Environmental Audit Committee argued that air pollution was a "public health crisis" and said diesel was now seen as "the most significant driver of air pollution in our cities".

The Committee called for the government to pay for diesel drivers to upgrade their engines or for a national scrappage scheme to take the most polluting vehicles off the road.

Over the summer, London Mayor Boris Johnson floated plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in which drivers of diesel cars would be charged about £10 to drive into central London in addition to the existing £10 Congestion Charge.

However, newer diesel vehicles that adhere to the Euro-6 emission standard would be exempt.

European engine emission standards
*mg/km = milligrams per kilometre

Euro standard.....Date approved.............Max amount of NOx.....Max amount of NOx
.......................for new cars................for diesel engine..........for petrol engine
Euro 1..............31 December 1992..........780mg/km*...............490mg/km
Euro 2..............1 January 1997...............730mg/km................250mg/km
Euro 3..............1 January 2000...............500mg/km................150mg/km
Euro 4..............1 January 2006...............250mg/km................80mg/km
Euro 5..............1 January 2011...............180mg/km................60mg/km
Euro 6..............1 January 2015...............80mg/km..................60mg/km

European engine emission standards were introduced in the 1990s in an effort to curb pollution. All new cars registered and sold from 1 January 2015 have to meet the latest Euro-6 standard.

Thanks to BBC
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Diesel cars: What's all the fuss about?

Postby frv » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:34 pm

Diesel cars are taking a right hammering at the moment.

Dirty engines spewing out noxious fumes that are polluting our cities causing all manner of health problems is the principal charge laid out in various reports splashed across the media this summer.

Questions have even been asked about the previously unchallenged assumption that diesel engines produce less carbon dioxide (CO₂) than their petrol counterparts and are, therefore, better for the environment.
But how bad is the problem and why isn't more being done to address it?

Why are people concerned about diesel cars?

In a word, pollution, which has severe consequences for everyone's health.

What is the main problem?

A number of studies have shown that diesel cars, unlike petrol cars, spew out high levels of what are known as nitrogen oxides and dioxides, together called NOx. Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is particularly nasty - recent studies have shown it can cause or exacerbate a number of health conditions, such as inflammation of the lungs, which can trigger asthma and bronchitis, and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In many European cities, NO₂ levels are well above European Union legal limits - twice the limit in parts of London, Paris and Munich, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Diesel vehicles are the single biggest contributor to these high levels of NO₂.

Is it just NOx we should be concerned about?

No - particulate matter, which is belched out from diesel exhausts, has been shown to cause cancer. This has long been recognised, and modern diesel cars are fitted with extremely effective filters that stop almost all of this carcinogenic soot from escaping into the atmosphere.
But there are two problems. First, a lot of people remove these filters to improve fuel economy and performance. A number of specialist companies advertise removing them and it's not illegal to do so, although your car should fail its MOT without one.
Second, NO₂ forms something called secondary particulate matter when it enters the atmosphere, the effects of which are not yet fully understood.

How many people does this affect?

Studies suggest that air pollution as a whole causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in Europe.
When you consider that road transport, and diesel in particular, contribute a meaningful chunk, the gravity of the problem becomes immediately clear.
Indeed a recent study put the number of premature deaths in the UK attributed specifically to NO₂ at 23,500.
The number of people generally affected by health problems will, of course, be much greater.
And the economic cost must not be underestimated. According to the latest figures available from the OECD, premature deaths and ill health caused by air pollution cost the UK $86bn (£56bn) in 2010.
Across OECD countries, the body says road transport accounts for half the total economic cost. Of course this cannot all be laid at the door of diesel engines.

What about carbon dioxide emissions?

We've always been told that diesel cars are better for the environment because they emit less CO₂. This is simply because diesel engines are more efficient than petrol engines, so use less fuel to travel the same distance. Less fuel should mean lower emissions.
But industry data shows that average CO₂ emissions from diesel cars are only fractionally lower than those from petrol cars.
This is largely due to the fact that diesel cars tend to be bigger and heavier than petrol cars, so any advantages in efficiency are wiped out. Equally, diesel fuel has more carbon than petrol for the same volume, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) - burning one litre of diesel produces 12% more CO₂ than burning one litre of petrol, it says.
Petrol engines have also become far more efficient in recent years.
For its part, the car industry itself says diesel takes longer to burn so you use less, and argues that of course emissions would be greater from larger cars. It maintains that when comparing like-for-like models, diesels do emit noticeably less CO₂ than their petrol counterparts.

Why has all this been allowed to happen?

Good question, especially when you consider that diesel cars emit far more pollutants than they should. Just how much more is quite shocking, according to some studies.
Tests conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) show that modern diesel cars emit on average seven times the EU limit for NOx.
Another study published by green transport think-tank Transport & Environment and supported by data from Emissions Analytics, suggests that about nine in every ten new diesel cars exceed the limit. It showed that of the 24 cars tested, only three cars - an Audi A5, a VW Golf and a BMW 3-series - complied with EU regulations. At the other end of the scale, an Audi A8 emitted 22 times the limit.
The reason is very simple. Limits are based on tests conducted in laboratories where conditions do not reflect driving out on the open road.

Why aren't carmakers doing more?

The car industry says it has done a great deal already, reducing both particulate matter and NOx emissions significantly over the past few years. And the UK leads the way in Europe, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says. It also acknowledges that the current way of testing "is outdated and the discrepancy does the industry no favours", while agreeing that real-world tests are needed.
But it also seems carmakers could do a lot more. The ICCT says the technologies for real-world clean diesels already exist, but are not being used consistently by manufacturers. Transport & Environments says it's simply a question of cost - carmakers save about £220 a car by not using additional clean technologies.
And the US experience suggests it may have a point. There, a concerted effort by carmakers and government agencies to clean up diesel vehicles has resulted in massive reductions in NOx, particulate matter and sulphur.

What is the government doing about it?

European regulators are in discussions with carmakers about the introduction of real-world testing. They want to bring these tests in by 2017, but they need the agreement of all member states. Carmakers would prefer more time.
Rather bizarrely, the new limits are likely to be less stringent than the current limits, to reflect real-world testing.
But individual countries are beginning to act. The UK is one of six European countries potentially facing hefty fines if it doesn't get NO₂ levels down by 2020.
To this end, the government launched a consultation document last weekend, suggesting that diesel drivers in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton could be limited driving into the city centre.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has already announced that diesel cars will be charged an extra £12.50 on top of the congestion charge from 2020 if they fail to meet emissions standards.
Charging diesel drivers higher taxes has also been mooted.

What can I do to help?

Not a great deal, unfortunately, but there are some things you can do that will help to reduce emissions, many of which apply to all cars, diesel and petrol:

- Don't accelerate unnecessarily
- Get your car serviced regularly
- Turn your engine off if you are stationary for more than one minute
- Stick to the speed limits, especially on the motorway
- Check, or get your garage to check, your car's levels of urea (effectively ammonia used to trap NOx)
- Be very careful buying any retrofit solutions - none are fit for purpose according to Transport & Environment

Thanks to BBC
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Re: Diesel car 'demonisation' condemned by industry group

Postby tighterse » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:40 pm

When I see "statistics" quoted, in this case saying "thousands of deaths" I always question where they come from. I ask has any death certificate ever shown NO poisoning as the cause of death. Then they want to ban diesel cars but there is no mention of lorries taxis or buses.

There's a political band wagon rolling and all the antis and politicians are jumping on it for, as far as I can see, no proven link between diesel fumes from cars and deaths.

I can understand and appreciate the concerns in large urban conurbations but think that if it's a case of one out then all should be out. But of course commercial and business concerns will make sure it's the private motorists who suffer. Try to imagine waht would happen if lorries, taxis and buses were forced to abandon diesel -and commercial concerns do not have a vote!
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