UK City Signs Off on Diesel Ban, Leaving Thousands With Second-class Cars
It’s not just the increased taxation on diesel fuel that’s prompting Europeans to throw in the towel on compression ignition. Look to local lawmakers for Reason Number One why diesel, which just a few years ago comprised the majority of new car sales in the UK, is suddenly less popular than this writer was in high school.
Following similar moves by select German cities and other jurisdictions, the UK city of Bristol has become the first municipality in that country to approve a diesel ban, with fines set to be levelled against anyone caught entering the city with a non-spark engine. Amazingly, this motley crew of second-class vehicles includes transit buses.
Porsche is Officially Ditching Diesel
Porsche will quit offering diesel powertrains for its cars and light trucks, effectively adding another nail to the fuel’s coffin. Following Volkswagen Group’s emission’s fiasco in the United States, which included Porsche, Europe has become increasingly critical of diesel-engined vehicles. Citywide bans have have been proposed throughout the region and, as of February, Porsche suspended diesel sales due to an ongoing German probe into VW Group’s diesel engines.
That investigation found that the Cayenne EU5 model’s 8-cylinder diesel was in violation of the established rules, affecting 13,500 units, according to Bild am Sonntag. Porsche then recalled nearly 60,000 Cayenne and Macan diesels in May as it launched its own investigation.
“Porsche is not demonizing diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology,” Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said in a statement. “We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.”
Paranoid of the Government? BMW's Got Your Back
As sometimes happens, there’s a war brewing in the heart of Europe. This one isn’t like the others, though — instead of nation versus nation, it’s a case of lawmakers versus privately owned vehicles, primarily those of the diesel persuasion.
So eager are some city governments to ban the operation of diesel-powered cars and trucks in or near urban centers, BMW Group has taken the unusual step of issuing a promise. In a bid to allay fears of new (or newish) vehicles becoming useless to their owners, the automaker claims it will let German lessees return their diesel vehicles and switch to a gas-powered model.
Don’t worry about the government, BMW wants its customers to know. Just enjoy that compression ignition engine while you can.
German Court Says Towns Can Officially Ban Diesel Vehicles Whenever They Want
Thanks to years of governmental promotion, Europe is still awash with diesel-powered passenger vehicles. However, in the wake of emission scandals and research suggesting diesel fumes might not be all that great to inhale, the region has changed its mind. It has gotten to a point where entire countries are now aiming to ban all internal combustion engines as local municipalities try to put the kibosh on diesels as soon as possible.
In Germany, birthplace of the diesel engine, this led to many asking if towns even had the right to regulate what people drove. According to a recent ruling from the nation’s highest administrative court, they absolutely do. With a precedent now set in Europe’s auto manufacturing hub, citywide diesel bans are likely to catch on — not only in Germany, but across the continent. Our condolences if you’re living east of the Atlantic and wanted to sell your diesel secondhand.
Can Automakers Convince Germany to Skip the Pending Diesel Bans?
Europe’s love affair with diesel engines is fading faster than a VHS tape left sitting beneath the summer sun in a car’s rear window. Encouraged by automakers, European governments incentivized diesel cars in the 1990s by taxing them at a far lower rate and suppressing the price of the fuel they burned. Studies came out claiming that diesel’s below-average CO2 emissions could even help with air quality. By 2012, diesel models made up 55 percent of Europe’s passenger vehicle market.
Things certainly have changed. Now concerned primarily with smog-producing NOx output, health and safety advocates have called diesel a menace to society. The EU has been pressing automakers to abandon the fuel by adopting much more restrictive emissions regulations for passenger cars. Volkswagen’s emission scandal further complicated things, prompting cities to call for a total ban on certain vehicles.
However, Germany still has to decide whether the mandates are even legal — and the decision comes this Thursday.