Volkswagen, of All Companies, Calls for an End to Diesel Subsidies

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen of all companies calls for an end to diesel subsidies

Despite Volkswagen being the premiere brand for “clean diesel” technology just a few short years ago, it’s now pressing aggressively into electrification. In fact, the company that admitted to widespread cheating on emissions tests following its pricey 2015 scandal is currently trying to convince the world to ditch diesel subsidies. Go green like us, the company wants everyone to hear.

Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Group, stated in a recent interview that the German government should stop subsidizing diesel entirely.

While a perspicacious position on the part of VW, it also serves as a reminder that German automakers benefited heavily from Europe’s once-popular diesel tax programs. However, with most of the world souring on the fuel, the automaker sees an opportunity to hurt its competition and help itself as it hurries to bring EVs to market.

“We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies,” Müller expressed to German newspaper Handelsblatt. “The money can be invested more sensibly to promote more environmentally friendly technologies.”

His proposal makes sense. Volkswagen has a lot to gain if it can promote the electrification of Europe, especially since it’s on the brink of abandoning diesel technology altogether. However, Europe isn’t too keen on the fuel right now, either. Several nations have proposed internal combustion bans over the next few decades, while numerous large cities want to outlaw older diesel-burning vehicles from entering city centers within a few years (something Müller also claims to be in favor of).

However, as popular as Müller’s words are likely to be with some environmentalist groups, The New York Time s reported that others were less enthused about their source. “The government is being urged to phase out diesel subsidies by none other than the biggest diesel fraudster,” Tobias Austrup, a transportation expert for Greenpeace, said in a statement.

Ironically, axing subsidies now would only help the post-diesel Volkswagen. Neither BMW or Daimler are quite as ready to bet the farm on electrification. Meanwhile, VW has put nearly everything it has behind the technology after being caught cheating on diesel emissions tests. It has poured court-mandated funds into enhancing the United States’ charging network, invested heavily into the European grid, and developed its own MEB platform for use on various electric models expected within a few years.

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  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Dec 12, 2017

    The comments to this article contain a vast amount of misinformation. Yet it takes very little effort to research the topic instead of just spouting one's notions. This is the best article I found about the story behind diesel engines in Europe: For example, why Europe switched fron gas to diesel engines to begin with. That diesels were encouraged by more than cheaper fuel: there were lower sales taxes on purchases of diesel cars. So diesels were subsidized. Why European car makers chose to go down the diesel road. Etc. The happy fact for sooty brains is that it can be blamed on the ecotards.

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Dec 12, 2017

    Thank you Stingray for your excellent, brief, explanation on unintended consequences. There are not free lunches. You want more mobility, more connectivity, more room for your stuff at home and in your vehicle, you're gonna generate more waste.

    • See 2 previous
    • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Dec 13, 2017

      @brandloyalty So who should decide how much stuff I need to be happy? You, Obama, Sanders, Trump, Kim Jong Un? Of course if history is any guide, these "smart" people mandating the happiness to stuff equation for society will almost certainly decide that they need substantially more stuff than the rest of us to make them happy - after all it is a big job with a lot of stress that only several big castles, yachts, and private jets will help alleviate their burden.

  • Dukeisduke "Gouging" - lol. California's gas prices are driven by a combination of the highest state gasoline tax in the US (66.98 cents per gallon) and the CARB-mandated California-only boutique fuel blends.
  • Astigmatism Honestly I'm surprised it's not higher. My parents bought two garage spots in Boston for $250k in the 1980s. When I worked in midtown a decade ago, garage spots near my building rented for $500 a month, which would support a $125k mortgage.Places get expensive when lots of people want to live there.
  • 28-Cars-Later As much as the Orwellian nature concerns me I must say to "add a turbo" as it were to net roughly 20% more bhp for $1,195 doesn't sound too bad. In days of old the V6 -> V8 upgrade was upwards of 20-30% of the base model cost.
  • Nivya Typical Manhattan parking spot price usually ranges anywhere between $15 to $75 for two hours. However, there are plenty of alternative parking options that provide even cheaper rates.
  • Analoggrotto Ironic from the brand that has offered a grand total of 5 vehicles with 3 pedals.