Brussels-based lobbying firm Transport & Environment (T&E) conducted a study recently that it says proves that diesel cars not only cause greater level of pollution but also emit more carbon dioxide emissions when compared to petrol cars. The firm conducted a lifecycle analysis of vehicle emissions which indicated that over their lifetime, diesel cars emit 3.65 ton of CO2 more than petrol vehicles.
T&E attributed this difference to several factors including the requirement of more materials for making engines that are heavier and more complex, more energy consuming process for refining and getting diesel, longer mileage due to the perception that diesel is cheaper and higher emissions from the bio-diesel blended in the diesel fuel.
The study appears to disprove the claims of automakers that they need to make and market diesel vehicles in order to meet their climate targets.
Commenting on the study, Julia Poliscanova, of T&E said that the Volkswagen emissions scandal highlighted the fact that diesel cars are primarily responsible for the emission of toxic nitrogen dioxide across European cities. This has led to 68,000 Europeans annually. Now, the study has proved even when it comes to the climate, diesel cars are worse and are not needed to meet car CO2 targets. Hence, she said it is necessary for European carmakers to expedite the transition to the production of clean, electrified vehicles.
Diesel vehicles are highly popular in Europe, and according to T&E, customers in Europe buy 7 out of 10 diesel cars and vans sold globally. In the US on the other hand, less than 1 per cent of new vehicles sold in the are diesel and in China, which is the largest vehicle market in the world, the sale of diesel powered vehicles accounts for less than 2 per cent of the total sales.
Another factor that causes more consumers to use diesel powered vehicles in Europe is that diesel fuel is taxed between 10% and 40% less than petrol in most countries.
Julia Poliscanova added that with diesel gate leading to removal of almost 37 million diesel vehicles from the roads in Germany, many of these will end up in countries where the rules are not so rigid. She called for concerted and coordinated action EU-wide to ensure that diesel cars are kept off the roads.
Many European vehicle manufacturers continue to maintain that diesels should be a part of the drive to curn climate change. At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsch stated publicly that that diesels perform significantly better than petrol engines on CO2 emissions.
Zetch said, “The latest generation of diesel vehicles is a very effective lever to achieve climate goals in the near future, because they emit 15-20% less CO2 than equivalent petrol vehicles.”
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