Here's One Upside to a European Diesel Downfall

heres one upside to a european diesel downfall

With European regulators taking a closer look at the continent’s wonder fuel — diesel, that is — in the wake of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, oil burners could hasten their disappearance from European Union streets.

That would be great for police officers in the UK, who seem increasingly confused about what kind of fuel goes in their patrol car’s tank.

The country logged 2,147 cases of diesel being added to a gasoline police vehicle’s tank (or vice versa) between 2011 and 2015, AutoExpress reports, requiring over $580,000 in repairs borne by the taxpayer.

It’s a small number in the grand scheme of things, sure, but the instances are rising. British police fleets, like those in other European countries, were once heavy with gas vehicles, but diesel slowly crept into the ranks. Many forces now have more diesel than gas vehicles, mirroring their country’s civilian fleet.

The market share for diesel tops 50 percent in many European countries — Spain, France, Italy and Sweden, to name a few, and the UK until just recently. According to data compiled by the European Automobiles Manufacturers Association, it seems that after rising steeply throughout the 2000s, the high water mark has arrived.

It will be interesting to see those trendlines once 2016 numbers roll in.

The added scrutiny placed on the manufacturers of diesel vehicles (which have led to many investigations), coupled with new emission regulations, a reigning in of tax breaks, advances in gasoline engine technology and the slow electrification of the automotive landscape, will surely conspire to see diesel’s market share drop much further.

Of course, switching diesel-heavy municipal fleets to gasoline vehicles won’t have a happy ending for the taxpayer, even if fuel confusion damage ceases overnight. They’d still be on the hook for the increased fuel consumption of the fleets, erasing any savings.

Ditching the tax breaks that fueled the rise in diesel ownership would help slow the drain on European coffers — meaning, of course, that there’d be more revenue coming in to offset expenditures — and could theoretically benefit an average citizen. Whether your that citizen sees any personal benefit depends on a lot of things, including whether they have a car, and what kind of fuel it uses.

However, an increase in revenue on that side of things could be met with a decrease in new vehicle sales from domestic manufacturers. There’s no end to the different angles in this issue.

[Image: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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  • DenverMike DenverMike on May 06, 2016

    It's also known as a "brain fart". It happens especially if you're filling up at the same gas station, and same pump you usually or mostly pump gasoline into your own car, or other car, except you forget you're in the "DIESEL". Yeah I start to do it too, then catch myself. "Fuel delivery" drivers (tanker trucks) do in too. Yes they're known to drop gasoline in the diesel underground tanks. Yes it's very easy to get storage tanks confused and get a few cars/trucks damaged before the error is caught! But I don't see a downside for the OEM, it's not their problem. No warranty ever covers damaged diesels from using the wrong fuel/pump. Easy money for the dealer and OEM, in or out of warranty.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on May 07, 2016

    I have a Honda diesel in Sweden and diesel it´s the only economical type of engine if you drive long distance. If you drive only in the cities, electric cars are ok, but they are useless if you drive 140 miles like me somedays. Our f*cked up politicians will probably ban all private transport soon.

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