In the wake of an anti-diesel campaign that’s rapidly gaining momentum, the British motor trade industry is fighting back and offering fierce opposition. Should the campaign muster up enough legislative support, diesel powered cars could be banned in certain cities, or charged to enter urban zones.
What’s the problem?
Despite the fact that diesel powered cars emit much less CO2 than their petrol counterparts, eco-campaigners still maintain that they are the biggest nitrogen oxides (NOx) offenders. This toxic substance has a negative impact on the cleanliness of air and has been linked to asthma and other respiratory problems. Already, the anti-diesel campaign has gained serious momentum with both London and Paris governments.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is leading the fight against the anti-diesel campaign, protesting that “Today’s diesel engines are the cleanest ever, and the culmination of billions of pounds of investment by manufacturers to improve air quality.” Rather than boost the eco-credentials of a city, Hawes maintains that “Bans and parking taxes on diesel vehicles, therefore, make no sense from an environmental point of view.”
What’s the solution?
Instead, he suggests that the solution is to stop pitting different modes of transport against each other, and instead, “Encourage the uptake of the latest low emission vehicles by consumers.” Today’s diesels are cleaner, greener and more efficient than ever before. Forcing them off the roads and encouraging consumers to opt for petrol engines would be extremely damaging to the industry, and the investments manufacturers have made in eco-friendly advancements. “The allegations against diesel cars made in recent months threaten to misguide policy making and undermine public confidence in diesel. It’s time to put the record straight,” he says.
Graeme Grieve, CEO of BMW Group UK also backs the anti-diesel campaign and maintains that it is unfair and damaging to the industry. “Diesel cars produce, on average, 20 per cent less CO2 than equivalent petrol cars and so have a vital role to play in helping to arrest climate change,” says Grieve. In fact, he even goes so far as to suggest that choosing to drive diesel cars is the key to meeting the nation’s CO2 targets.
Lessons to be learned
So what can the motor trade industry take away from this latest controversy? One of the key messages is the absolute importance of banding together and being proactive about protecting business. As well as fighting anti-diesel campaigns, this also includes ensuring that every motor trader takes out a comprehensive motor trade insurance policy in order to protect operations, safeguard consumers and uphold a well-respected industry reputation.