At HPL motors, we are still seeing high numbers of diesel car sales at our dealership, which in today’s motoring market, might appear to be a somewhat unconvincing claim. Largely influenced by increasing hostility from the government, national figures of diesel car sales aren’t exactly soaring - dropping 25% from January 2017, a statistic that would have once been impossible. Whilst plans have been announced to stop the production and manufacture of diesel and petrol cars in 22 years time, we understand that there are still many drivers whose biggest incentive when buying a car is fuel efficiency, with diesel cars being undoubtedly the most cost effective.
So, what is the biggest cause of concern regarding diesel cars? Environmentally, the issue is palpable. Air pollution has been linked to over 40,000 premature deaths in the UK, despite successive governments in recent years being promoting the sale of diesel cars because of their C02 emissions, which are 15% less than their petrol counterparts. In retrospect, the incentive to buy diesel cars to tackle climate change and global warming seemed like a good move, but the emission of four times as much nitrous oxide (N02) has significantly contributed to dirty air in the UK’s major cities.
Last October, London mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to introduce a daily £10 ‘T-charge’ towards drivers of diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006 in central London, on top of the existing £11.50 congestion charge. In Manchester and surrounding areas, air quality isn’t as toxic, so it remains to be seen how Andy Burnham and the local government will address the issue with diesel.
Unsurprisingly, the surge in tax on newer diesel cars hasn’t exactly resonated well with many traders. Newer diesel cars cleaner than ever, and are fitted with diesel particulate filters that make them more healthy for the environment than petrol cars. The attempt to detriment the sales of such cars has lead critics argue that that the government’s approach has been badly mishandled. “The decision to tax the latest low-emission diesels is a step backwards and will only discourage drivers from trading in their older, more polluting cars.” claimed Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Rather than looking to shift old bangers that are pumping out harmful emissions, the taxes are putting off prospective buyers who would usually choose for a more fuel-efficient car with less C02.
In September, Autotrader published a report that stated that 47% of drivers with a diesel car will stick with their choice of fuel, and that just 10% of those surveyed had been influenced by the ongoing debates to switch to petrol, hybrid, or an all-electric.
Here at HPL, our feelings echo the Autotrader findings, which are that diesel is still the UK’s most searched full type, and that Autotrader’s adverts for diesel cars had actually risen by 0.3% in comparison with the previous year. Recently released figures may cause skepticism within buyers, but it’s important to consider that manufacturers of diesel cars are committed to improving the quality of our air, building cars that are economically and environmentally efficient. Jonathan Herman, managing director at HPL Motors, is keen to address the debate, “Even though customers are asking questions, once people realise they are saving costs on diesels in comparisons with petrol, it’s their first choice. In fact, January was our best selling diesel month ever”.