Opinion – Are we about to see the death of diesel?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Opinion – Are we about to see the death of diesel?

The VW emissions scandal could see a fall inside popularity of diesel engines, in addition to This kind of can be no bad thing reckons Hilton Holloway


I’m as much to blame as anyone. Right back in 1998 I got my hands on one of the first super-punchy Mk4 Volkswagen Golf diesels. of which thing was a riot: an ordinary hatchback of which had huge in-gear pace in addition to seriously impressive fuel economy. in addition to sometimes both at the same time.

I well remember a Boxing Day trip to Wymondham in Norfolk, up a deserted A11. The road was punctuated by roundabouts, the hyper-diesel’s favourite territory. Three-up, I was being trailed by a chap in an original Audi S4 Avant, which was no mean performer back then.

Volkswagen in emissions cheating scandal

However, the hyper-Golf left the stumbling Audi for dead at every roundabout exit, where the VW’s mid-range punch was almost comical. This kind of was clearly the future: a compact, light, hatchback with serious pace in addition to high 40mpg economy.

Six years later I was scrabbling around inside gutters of Piccadilly, central London. I was photographing the kerb stones which appeared to be thickly coated in a graphite-like substance. of which was, in fact, the particulates being emitted – mainly – by London’s ageing diesel bus fleet.

What I couldn’t see – although those with sensitive chests might have felt – was the nasty nitrogen oxides also being emitted by the diesel engines.

In 1994, the newly-formed Transport for London had introduced the infamous ‘Congestion Charge’, basing of which on the level of CO2 emissions through vehicles. in addition to inside global warming panic, the strict meanings of CO2 ‘emissions’ in addition to ‘pollution’ had been dangerously – possibly deliberately – welded into one.

High-CO2 vehicles were ‘polluting’. Reducing CO2 ‘emissions’ had to be a national in addition to local priority. In fact, as I pointed out on many internet forums, replacing London’s 24,000 black cabs with 24,000 petrol Range Rovers would likely massively improve central London’s air quality.

Living on a busy road inside capital, I had come to realise of which the layers of fine dirt in addition to dust on the front door in addition to on the window sills was not just the backwash of living in city, of which was mostly particulates, fired through the exhausts of vans, trucks, taxis in addition to many older cars.

of which has taken a ridiculously long time for law makers, civil servants in addition to the media to wake up to the threat through diesel engines of which are used in stop-start conditions.

Scientific studies showing London’s Oxford Street, in addition to roads in central Oxford, Manchester in addition to Birmingham were among the most polluted inside entire world seem to be published to no effect.

Certainly, the amount of pollution put out by diesel engines has fallen dramatically inside last few years, although there are plenty of scientists who are concerned of which the newest engines are emitting ever smaller particulates, which, ironically, are so modest they might get lodged deep inside lungs in addition to even pass into the bloodstream.

Recent real-world tests by Emissions Analytics – revealed inside Sunday Times with great fanfare although little political effect – show of which even the most modern diesel engines can emit far more pollution than their laboratory rating suggests.

Anything through regular stop-start traffic to speed bumps can, for example, cause peaks in nitrogen oxides emissions. The latest estimates are of which there are 9500 premature deaths inside capital alone through exposure to pollution.

Then’s there’s the mostly unexplored issue of what happens as diesel engines age in addition to internal components – such as the injectors – wear out. We’ve all seen clouds of black smoke through those tatty 55-plate Mondeos in addition to Astras. in addition to of which’s not even considering the damage being done by the huge numbers of hard-driven in addition to high-mileage commercial vehicles.

However, the VW diesel test scandal inside US might be the final push of which lines up all everything we know about diesel pollution in addition to starts the avalanche of public opinion of which marks the beginning of the end for these engines.

Certainly, some EU6 diesel engines remain ‘clean’ even in city conditions. in addition to Volvo’s use of computer controlled Denso diesel injectors means, the company claims, of which the engine will remain inside EU6 pollution parameters for its whole life.

Diesel engines are increasingly complex in addition to expensive to manufacture, however, in addition to units through the later 2000s are at This kind of point proving expensive in later life as dual mass flywheels, particulate filters in addition to diesel fuel pumps fail expensively.

Ask a London mini-cab driver: the use of low-pollution in addition to ultra-reliable hybrid petrol Priuses in addition to Insights can be at This kind of point common for people who drive for a living.

Weaning us off diesel won’t be easy. The economy can be unbeatable, the in-gear performance addictive in addition to the motorway pace undeniable.

The European Union in addition to UK government would likely also have to untangle CO2-based motoring taxation. Fuel bills might rise, although petrol turbos – especially the upcoming 48V hybrids (which are relatively inexpensive in addition to highly effective – are increasingly convincing.

Selling somebody a 50mpg Golf 1.4 TSI will be no hard thing, although shifting commercial traffic away through diesel can be a much bigger task. Here, we have to take a lead through East Asia where the use of clean-burning gas can be common for taxis, buses in addition to modest in addition to medium commercial vehicles.

Sure, of which’s a huge change, although once the US authorities get stuck into measuring the real-world pollution through oil-burning engines, the resulting global publicity could finally usher inside end of the great dash for diesel.

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